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America West Reports First Quarter Results

America West Holdings
Corporation , parent company of America West Airlines, Inc., today
reported first quarter 2004 net income of $1.2 million or $0.02 per
diluted share. This compares to a net loss of $62.0 million or ($1.84) per
share for the same period last year. Excluding a $0.6 million reduction in
special charges due to a revision of estimated costs related to certain
aircraft sale-leaseback transactions, the Company reported net income of
$0.6 million or $0.01 per diluted share for its first quarter 2004. This
compares to a net loss excluding special items of $66.5 million or ($1.97)
per share in the first quarter 2003. See the accompanying notes in the
Financial Tables section of this press release for a reconciliation of
Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) financial information to
non-GAAP financial information. Chairman and CEO Doug Parker stated, “To break even in the seasonally slow
first quarter, while operating in an industry plagued by extremely high
fuel costs, excess supply and sluggish demand is extremely gratifying. The
America West team, comprised of approximately 13,000 employees, has worked
hard to transform America West into a successful, low-cost carrier, and
our first quarter results are further evidence of our progress.”

Revenue and Cost Performance

The airline’s operating revenues for its first quarter 2004 increased 10.2
percent to $576.4 million from the same period last year. Revenue
passenger miles (RPMs) during the first quarter increased 8.9 percent to
5.3 billion on 7.3 percent more capacity, as measured by available seat
miles (ASMs). This resulted in a record first quarter 2004 load factor of
72.2 percent, an increase of 1.1 points from the same period last year.
Passenger revenue per available seat mile (RASM) during the first quarter
2004 remained flat on a year-over-year basis at 7.31 cents, despite a 6.9
percent increase in average daily aircraft utilization and a 5.2 percent
increase in average stage length. Other operating revenues increased $16.7
million to $32.1 million for the quarter primarily due to increased flying
for America West by its codeshare partner, Mesa Airlines, and a $2.5
million credit related to the reduction of certain obligations based on a
settlement with Mesa.

The airline’s operating costs per available seat mile (CASM) during the
first quarter 2004 decreased 8.5 percent to 7.59 cents. On average, the
airline paid $1.02 per gallon for fuel during first quarter 2004, an
increase of 13.8 percent from the same period last year. Fuel hedges in
the first quarter 2004 reduced total fuel expense by $3.1 million.
Excluding fuel and special items, CASM decreased 13.0 percent to 6.09
cents from 7.00 cents.

The primary drivers of the airline’s CASM improvement during its first
quarter 2004 were the increase in aircraft utilization and stage length,
as well as the Company’s cost reduction plan implemented in early 2003.
Other factors affecting the airline’s year-over-year CASM include a $4.0
million reduction in expense on an ongoing basis related to a change in
the estimated useful lives for certain capitalized engine overhauls and
aircraft and related spare parts inventory as a result of changes in
aircraft utilization and the airline’s fleet plan; a $2.0 million
reduction in operating expenses resulting from the settlement of a lawsuit
related to certain computer hardware and software that had previously been
written off; and a $1.7 million reduction in bad debt expense due to
recovery of a previously reserved debt. These reductions in costs were
partially offset by a $5.0 million increase in pilot salaries due to a new
three-year pilot agreement, which went into effect in late January 2004,
and an increase of $1.9 million in computer reservation system (CRS) fees
and credit card fees related to the higher revenues.


Chief Financial Officer Derek Kerr said, “The utilization flying and the
longer stage length routes have lowered our unit costs even more than we
expected. This change in flying also has a dampening effect on unit
revenues and considering that effect, we are pleased that passenger
revenue per ASM was unchanged during our first quarter 2004 versus the
same period last year.”


As of March 31, 2004, the Company had $545.0 million in cash and
investments, of which $433.3 million was unrestricted. This is the highest
first quarter ending cash balance in the Company’s history. During the
first quarter 2004, the Company made its first principal payment
associated with its Air Transportation Stabilization Board (ATSB) loan of
$42.9 million. The Company also made its annual guarantee fee payment
associated with the ATSB loan of $31.0 million.


Parker continued, “We believe America West is properly positioned for
future success in this rapidly changing industry, and while we are proud
of America West’s transformation into a successful, low-cost carrier, we
are not satisfied with simply achieving that status. Our goal is to become
the nation’s premier low-cost carrier and we look forward to bringing our
award-winning service to even more customers.

“During our first quarter 2004, we announced additional service for our
summer schedule, which includes a third daily transcontinental nonstop
flight from Los Angeles to both New York and Boston. We estimate our
presence in the nonstop, transcontinental markets currently saves
consumers more than $350 million annually, and we look forward to bringing
even more savings to travelers when we begin our fifth nonstop
transcontinental flights on June 1 between Los Angeles International
Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport.

“The airline industry continues to struggle and America West is certainly
not immune to the challenges of our industry, but we feel very good about
our performance relative to the competition. Despite projections for
continued high fuel prices, we expect to be profitable for the full year
2004 and are extremely excited about the future of America West.”

Additional Marketing/Business Developments During the first quarter 2004,
America West Airlines: * Restructured first-class fares, resulting in
fares that are up to 70 percent lower than other airlines’ traditional
first class fares. * Launched new buy-on-board food service. * Launched
dedicated Web sites for travel agencies and corporate travel managers that
are designed to reduce distribution costs and facilitate market share
movement. * Launched nonstop, transcontinental service between San
Francisco and Boston on March 1. * Launched new service between the
airline’s Las Vegas hub and Austin, El Paso and San Antonio, Texas, as
well as Cleveland and the Canadian cities of Edmonton and Vancouver. *
Received authority to operate a third daily nonstop flight between Phoenix
and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, which the Company plans to
begin June 1. * Merged The Leisure Company subsidiary into America West
Airlines. * Received the ranking of Best Major Airline for the second year
in a row by Entrepreneur magazine. * Ranked fourth for the second year in
a row in the 14th Annual Quality Rating conducted by the University of
Nebraska at Omaha and Wichita State University. Analyst Conference
Call/Webcast Details

America West will conduct a live audio webcast of its earnings call today
at Noon EDT, which will be available to the public on a listen-only basis
at under the Public/Investor Relations tab. A
replay of today’s call will be available in the Public/Investor Relations
portion of the airline’s Web site through April 26, 2004.

America West Holdings Corporation is an aviation and travel services
company. Wholly owned subsidiary America West Airlines is the nation’s
second largest low-fare carrier with 13,000 employees serving 55,000
customers a day in 93 destinations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Costa