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American Airlines' parent worst loss in history


DALLAS -- American Airlines' parent company, AMR Corp., said today it lost $124.9 million in the final three months of 1991 and a staggering $239.9 million for the whole year.

The annual loss was the airline's worst ever.

The company blamed the performance on the recession, which has weakened demand for air travel, higher costs and fare discounting. In addition, AMR took a $59.6 million charge in the fourth quarter to cover the retiring of several aircraft.

"The best thing you can say about last year is that it's over," AMR Chairman Robert Crandall said in a statement.

The company's fourth-quarter loss was $1.83 a share. During the same period in 1990, AMR lost $215.1 million, or $3.45 a share.

Revenue during the quarter was $3.4 billion, up 13 percent from $3.0 billion a year earlier.

For the year, AMR lost $3.54 a share. In 1990, the company lost $39.6 million, or 64 cents a share. The company's revenue was $12.9 billion last year, up 10 percent from $11.8 billion in 1990.

American's yield -- the average amount one passenger pays to fly one mile -- was 13.37 cents in the fourth quarter, up 2.3 percent from 13.07 cents in the last three months of 1990. For the year, the airline's yield was 13.01 cents, up 2.9 percent from 12.64 cents in 1990.

American flew 21.1 billion revenue passenger miles in the fourth quarter, up 10.5 percent from 20.0 billion revenue passenger miles in the same period of 1990.

For the year, American flew 82.3 billion revenue passenger miles, up 6.8 percent from 77.1 billion in 1990.

The special charge for retiring aircraft affects its Boeing 747s, Boeing 737s and Fairchild Metro IIIs in the fleet of American Eagle, its regional carrier.

Without the write-off, American would have lost $85.6 million in the fourth quarter and $189.2 million for the year, still making it the worst year for the company.

American and other U.S. airlines have been flexing their muscles in an escalating global battle to dominate the skies.

United, the Chicago-based mega-carrier, was flying some of Pan Am's abandoned routes into Latin America beginning today, with service that will gradually be expanded over the next several months.

The move puts United in head-to-head competition with archrival American in the lucrative South American markets. It makes United the only U.S. carrier with large presences in Latin America as well as the trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific markets.

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