US Airways

American Airlines 3Q profit falls on lower revenue

More empty seats and higher labor costs are cutting into profit at American Airlines.

But in an encouraging sign for airlines and their investors — and a worrisome one for passengers — American is offering new evidence that higher fares could be just around the corner.

The world's biggest carrier reported Thursday that third-quarter earnings fell 56 percent and would have dropped even more if it weren't for continuing low fuel prices.

The company earned $737 million, down from $1.69 billion a year earlier. Revenue slipped 1 percent but costs rose 5 percent.

American was still able to claim that it beat Wall Street expectations. Excluding what it...