A merger between US Airways, the fifth-largest U.S. airline by passenger traffic, and No. 3 American would make the pair equal in size to United. Some analysts believe US Airways needs the merger to survive. But J.P. Morgan analyst Jamie Baker wrote in a note to investors Wednesday that he disagrees.
"With 2012 margins just shy of Delta while topping those of Southwest and United, we find investor stand-alone pessimism to be significantly misplaced," he wrote.
Shares of Tempe, Ariz.-based US Airways Group Inc. rose 22 cents, or 1.5 percent, to close at $15.07 after rising as high as $15.64. CEO Doug Parker said US Airways shares rose 166 percent last year, more than any other Fortune 500 company.
For the full year, net income jumped to $637 million, or $3.28 per share — the largest profit in the airline's history, the company said. In 2011 it earned $71 million, or 44 cents per share. Revenue for 2012 rose almost 6 percent to $13.83 billion.