While bemoaning the poor results for 2009 and the past decade, AMR execs Gerard Arpey and Tom Horton told analysts that 2010 just might be looking up.
"In terms of corporate travel, we're seeing signs that business travelers are getting back out on the road. In the last two months of the quarter, corporate passengers were up versus the prior year, the only instances of year-over-year improvement during 2009”, said CFO Horton.
"Corporate revenues for November and December approached flat year-over-year performance, a remarkable recovery of about 35 points from the low point back in May.
"We recognize that we faced easier comparisons in November and December. Nevertheless, when we look at the comps to 2007, we see a clear positive trend through the second half of 2009. So we're encouraged by what we're seeing.
"Looking forward, our advanced bookings are up modestly versus last year with domestic down about two points and international up nearly five points.
Arpey, chairman and CEO, said that travelers are booking closer to their travel date than in the past. American does not intend to discount prices even if bookings are lower further out:"I think our view of elasticity, given the continued record-setting load factors that the industry is putting together, is that the industry can support higher prices.