Was American Airlines the only profitable US airline in Q1 2023?

American Airlines became the only big four airline in the US to achieve a profit in Q1 2023
Markus Mainka / Shutterstock.com

As more and more United States (US)-based airlines announce their financial results for the first quarter of the year, American Airlines’ results came as a perhaps surprising twist. 

The airline eked out a small net profit of $10 million, as it achieved a record-breaking Q1 revenue, as well as free cash flow, $12.1 billion and $3 billion, respectively. Still, aligning with the whole US airline industry, American Airlines’ expenses rose exponentially, mainly driven by increasing fuel and related taxes expenses. 

Overall, the carrier spent $11.7 billion on operating expenses, of which $3.1 billion was spent on fuel. In Q1 2022, American Airlines’ fuel bill was $2.5 billion, while overall expenses were $10.6 billion. 

Out of the largest four airlines in the US, American Airlines was the only airline that ended the quarter in profit. Delta Air Lines ended the same period with a net loss of $363 million, United Airlines’ loss was $193 million, while Southwest Airlines ended Q1 2023 with a net loss of $159 million. Other loss-making US airlines include Alaska Airlines, which bought back $18 million of its shares despite losses, JetBlue, Spirit Airlines, and Hawaiian Airlines

Some carriers, such as Allegiant Airlines and Frontier Airlines, are yet to reveal their financial results. Both will have their Q1 2023 earnings calls on May 3, 2023. 

However, Sun Country Airlines ended the three-year period with a net income of $38.3 million. 

“The American Airlines team ran a great operation and delivered on our financial guidance for the quarter, resulting in a first-quarter profit for the first time in four years,” said Robert Isom, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of American Airlines. “Looking ahead to the remainder of 2023, we remain focused on reliability, profitability, strengthening the balance sheet, and creating even more value for our shareholders, team members, customers and the communities we serve,” Isom added. 

During 2023, American Airlines expects to take delivery of 20 total aircraft, namely 17 Boeing 737 MAX and three Boeing 787 aircraft. 

Related Posts


Stay updated on aviation and aerospace - subscribe to our newsletter!