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S&P raises US Airways credit rating

NEW YORK (AP) -- Standard & Poor's raised US Airways' credit rating one notch on Monday, but it kept the airline's debt below the level considered investment-grade.

S&P boosted US Airways Group Inc. to "B'' from "B-." The move was unrelated to the airline's proposed merger with American Airlines, S&P said.

Analyst Betsy Snyder said that S&P expects the company's improving financial results to continue through 2014. Profit margins have improved due to rising revenue and lower fuel costs.

Moreover, the Tempe, Ariz.-based company has refinanced a $1.1 billion loan with a $1.6 billion loan, issued $920 million in equipment-backed trust notes and $500 million in unsecured notes. Those moves left US Airways with unrestricted cash of $3.6 billion, or 26 percent of its revenue in the previous 12 months, up from 18 percent a year earlier.

S&P added, however, that the rating still reflected the high-risk airline industry and high debt.

The shares closed down 3 cents to $18.86.