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Full planes boost US Airways

NEW YORK — Full planes were good to US Airways in the first quarter.

The nation’s fifth-largest airline on Tuesday posted a bigger adjusted profit as it carried more passengers and collected more from them.

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Revenue from government travelers dropped 37 percent in March, when federal spending cuts kicked in. But ‘‘leisure demand has remained quite strong thus far in 2013,’’ President Scott Kirby said on a conference call.

The airline earned $44 million, or 26 cents per share. Its adjusted profit was 31 cents per share, topping the expectations of analysts polled by FactSet.

Revenue rose 3.5 percent to $3.38 billion, driven by what the airline called ‘‘a strong demand environment.’’

US Airways plans to merge with American Airlines. The combined airline would be the biggest in the world.

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