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American reports growing losses but sets sights on BA merger

AMR, the parent company of American Airlines, has reported heavy net losses for the first quarter amid shrinking demand for air travel.

The group said its net loss for the first quarter rose to $375m from $341m in the same period a year ago. Revenues fell 15 percent to $4.8bn due to reduced capacity, passenger and cargo figures, as well as lower fares.Gerard Arpey, AMR chairman and chief executive, said: “While lower fuel prices have provided a significant buffer against falling demand in 2009, the struggling economy and capital markets remain significant challenges for American and the rest of the industry.”

“Our 2009 outlook remains challenging,” said Mr Arpey but actions had been taken to bolster liquidity, and reduce debt and capacity, referring to a $100m loan secured against aircraft and cutting non-aircraft capital expenditure by $100m more than forecast.

Despite signals of rising opposition in the US Congress, Arpey said he expected to receive approval from the US competition authorities in the second half of the year for the joint venture with British Airways and Iberia.

The airline said it had begun to replace its short-haul fleet, and took delivery of two Boeing 737-800s in the first quarter, and is planning 29 this year, 39 in 2010 and eight in early 2011. It said it had obtained financing commitments to cover the 737 deliveries until late 2010.