MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — US Airways posted a third-quarter profit on Wednesday and said it expects to hire more flight attendants next year.

The nation’s fifth-largest airline by traffic said it made more money in “a modestly improving economy,” as the industry maintained its capacity discipline. That’s what airlines call it when they refrain from adding so many seats that it drives down prices, which has been a problem in the past.

US Airways is the fifth-biggest airline, but in terms of traffic it’s falling behind United Continental Holdings, Delta, American, and Southwest. All but American are growing because of mergers. US Airways was in talks with both United and Continental before those two combined.

Chairman and CEO Doug Parker said on a conference call that he doesn’t expect a deal involving his airline in the near future. “We plan to keep running standalone and proving” that it can make money, he said.

Future deals involving the big three airlines would probably involve US Airways, he said.

“The other three can’t do anything with each other without large antitrust problems. But any of the three can do something with us. And I think that’s a good position for us and our shareholders,” he said.

US Airways Group Inc.’s net income was $240 million, or $1.22 per share. That was better than the $1.17 per share expected by analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

Revenue jumped almost 17 percent to $3.18 billion, matching analyst expectations.

Airways lost $80 million during the same period last year, as the recession kept business travelers home.

The airline said it would recall all of its furloughed pilots and flight attendants by the end of this year, and expects to hire new flight attendants early next year.

Not counting fuel and special items, it kept its operating costs flat compared to a year earlier on the flights it operated. Fuel expenses rose almost 15 percent for its own flights and those operated by regional partners.

US Airways said total capacity would grow roughly 2 percent next year, with domestic capacity flat and international up 8 percent.

US Airways shares rose 75 cents, or 7.4percent, to $10.84 in afternoon trading.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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