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Oct 19, 2017 5:40 PM ET

United Airlines Reports Third-Quarter 2017 Performance

Disclosure NewswireTM

iCrowdNewswire - Oct 19, 2017

CHICAGO — United Airlines (UAL) today announced its third-quarter 2017 financial results. 

  • UAL reported third-quarter net income of $637 million, diluted earnings per share of $2.12, pre-tax earnings of approximately $1.0 billion and pre-tax margin of 9.9 percent.
  • Excluding special charges, UAL reported third-quarter net income of $669 million, diluted earnings per share of $2.22, pre-tax earnings of $1.0 billion and pre-tax margin of 10.4 percent.
  • UAL repurchased $556 million of its common shares in the third quarter, bringing the year-to-date share repurchases to $1.3 billion.
  • UAL delivered the best-ever third-quarter consolidated on-time departures in the history of the company, and employees earned $11 million in bonuses for operational performance.

“I could not be prouder of how our employees are raising the bar both in terms of serving our customers, as well as delivering record-setting operational performance. Not only did they manage to keep our operation moving through back-to-back natural disasters, but the United family banded together to help one another take part in one of the largest relief efforts in our airline’s history,” said Oscar Munoz, chief executive officer of United Airlines. “Even with the challenging environment in the third quarter, we continue to set the stage for United’s long-term success and investing in the right strategy for our future.”

During the quarter, the company cancelled approximately 8,300 flights as a result of severe weather in southeast TexasFlorida and parts of the Caribbean. The operational disruption reduced third-quarter pre-tax income by an estimated $185 million.

“Our employees continued to run a great operation and set new company records during the third quarter despite a challenging operational environment with an unprecedented series of storms. Our team set new records for on-time performance this quarter and had the fewest maintenance delays in over five years,” said Scott Kirby, president of United Airlines. “Our company took part in relief efforts by operating 46 relief flights, delivering more than 1.7 million pounds of relief supplies and together with our customers and employees, raising and contributing more than $9 million to community and employee assistance. And thanks to a remarkable effort by the people of United, our Houston hub returned to full operations quicker than expected following Harvey.”

Third-Quarter Revenue

For the third quarter of 2017, revenue was $9.9 billion, roughly flat year-over-year including an estimated $210 millionloss of revenue from severe weather during the quarter. Third-quarter 2017 consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) was down 3.7 percent compared to the third quarter of 2016. Cargo revenue was $257 million in the third quarter of 2017, an increase of 14.7 percent year-over-year primarily due to higher international freight volume.

Third-Quarter Costs

Operating expense was $8.8 billion in the third quarter, up 6.0 percent year-over-year. Consolidated unit cost per available seat mile (CASM) increased 3.0 percent compared to the third quarter of 2016 due largely to higher fuel and labor expense. Third-quarter consolidated CASM, excluding special charges, third-party business expenses, fuel and profit sharing, increased 2.6 percent year-over-year, driven mainly by higher labor expense.

Liquidity and Capital Allocation

UAL generated $577 million in operating cash flow and ended the quarter with $6.3 billion in unrestricted liquidity, including $2.0 billion of undrawn commitments under its revolving credit facility. Capital expenditures were $1.1 billionin the third quarter.

In the third quarter of 2017, UAL raised $400 million of unsecured debt with an interest rate of 4.25 percent. The company contributed $160 million to its pension plans and made debt and capital lease principal payments of $222 million. In the quarter, UAL purchased $556 million of its common shares at an average price of $67.08 per share. As of Sept. 30, 2017, the company had approximately $553 million remaining under its existing share repurchase authority.

For the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2017, the company’s pre-tax income was $3.3 billion and return on invested capital (ROIC) was 14.9 percent.

“As we balance United’s customer, employee and shareholder priorities going forward, a key focus remains returning cash to shareholders and we continued this during the third quarter, repurchasing $556 million of stock, which brings our year-to-date repurchase total to $1.3 billion,” said Andrew Levy, executive vice president and chief financial officer of United Airlines. “Our balance sheet remains strong as evidenced by the 4.25 interest percent rate on the $400 million of unsecured debt raised during the quarter.”

For more information on UAL’s fourth-quarter 2017 guidance, please visit ir.united.com for the company’s investor update.

Third-Quarter Highlights
Customer Experience

  • New Customer Solutions Desk rolled out system-wide with a dedicated team to develop creative solutions to ensure customers reach their final destinations when their travel plans don’t go as expected.
  • Named the 2017 Airline of the Year in recognition of United Polaris business class experience at the International Flight Services Association (IFSA) Compass Awards.
  • Unveiled a bag tracking feature in the United mobile app which allows customers to track their checked bags from check-in to arrival.
  • Retrofitted the first Boeing 767-300ER aircraft with the United Polaris business class.
  • United Polaris earned Global Traveler magazine’s “Outstanding Innovations” award at the Global Traveler’s fifth annual Leisure Lifestyle Awards.
  • Became the first U.S.-based airline to offer a new option to check in and learn about flights without the touch of a finger through a new United skill for Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Dot.
  • Officially announced the final flight of the Boeing 747-400 as it retires, with the final voyage on Nov. 7, 2017 from San Francisco to Honolulu.

Network and Fleet

  • Announced several new routes:
    • New international nonstop service between Houston and Sydney, nonstop seasonal service to Mazatlan, Mexico, increased seasonal service to popular ski destinations and more options for Seattle-area customers with daily service between Paine Field and Denver and San Francisco.
    • Announced new seasonal service between Denver and LondonNewark, New Jersey, and Porto, Portugal and Reykjavik, IcelandSan Francisco and Zurich; and Washington Dulles and Edinburgh, Scotland. Additionally, announced expanded year-round service between Newark and Rome.
  • Announced an agreement with Airbus to modify its A350 order resulting in a conversion of the model type from the A350-1000 to the A350-900, an increase in the order size from 35 to 45 aircraft and a deferral of the first delivery to late 2022.
  • Took delivery of one Boeing 787-9 aircraft, four Boeing 737-800 aircraft and nine Embraer E175 aircraft.
  • Finalized agreements to take delivery of two additional used Airbus A320 aircraft by the end of 2017.

Operations and Employees

  • In response to the recent catastrophic weather events Harvey, Irma and Maria, United and its employees came together to keep the operation moving and take part in relief efforts:
    • Operated 84 additional flights to provide additional seats and deliver needed relief supplies to impacted areas.
    • Operated 46 relief flights, flying more than 2,000 evacuees out of impacted areas.
    • Flew 767 flights with larger aircraft in order to carry more people and supplies. The combination resulted in over 13,600 additional seats to impacted areas.
    • Delivered over 1.7 million pounds of relief supplies to aid the recovery in TexasFloridaPuerto Rico and the Caribbean.
    • Customers and employees, with supporting funds from the company, raised and contributed more than $9 million to community and employee assistance.
  • Continued to improve the mobile tools used by employees, including the first release of the “in the moment” care app, and new functionality in flight attendant tools to better serve customers. These tools were the basis for the company receiving the CIO 100 award.
  • Announced partnerships with three world-class design and apparel companies – Brooks Brothers, Tracy Reese and Carhartt – to inspire and create a new line of uniforms for the carrier’s more than 70,000 front-line employees.

About United

United Airlines and United Express operate approximately 4,500 flights a day to 337 airports across five continents. In 2016, United and United Express operated more than 1.6 million flights carrying more than 143 million customers. United is proud to have the world’s most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in ChicagoDenverHoustonLos AngelesNewark/New YorkSan Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates 751 mainline aircraft and the airline’s United Express carriers operate 489 regional aircraft. The airline is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to more than 190 countries via 28 member airlines. For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United’s parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol “UAL”.

Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: 
Certain statements included in this release are forward-looking and thus reflect our current expectations and beliefs with respect to certain current and future events and anticipated financial and operating performance. Such forward-looking statements are and will be subject to many risks and uncertainties relating to our operations and business environment that may cause actual results to differ materially from any future results expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements. Words such as “expects,” “will,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “indicates,” “believes,” “forecast,” “guidance,” “outlook,” “goals” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Additionally, forward-looking statements include statements that do not relate solely to historical facts, such as statements which identify uncertainties or trends, discuss the possible future effects of current known trends or uncertainties, or which indicate that the future effects of known trends or uncertainties cannot be predicted, guaranteed or assured. All forward-looking statements in this release are based upon information available to us on the date of this release. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, changed circumstances or otherwise, except as required by applicable law. Our actual results could differ materially from these forward-looking statements due to numerous factors including, without limitation, the following: our ability to comply with the terms of our various financing arrangements; the costs and availability of financing; our ability to maintain adequate liquidity; our ability to execute our operational plans and revenue-generating initiatives, including optimizing our revenue; our ability to control our costs, including realizing benefits from our resource optimization efforts, cost reduction initiatives and fleet replacement programs; costs associated with any modification or termination of our aircraft orders; our ability to utilize our net operating losses; our ability to attract and retain customers; potential reputational or other impact from adverse events in our operations; demand for transportation in the markets in which we operate; an outbreak of a disease that affects travel demand or travel behavior; demand for travel and the impact that global economic and political conditions have on customer travel patterns; excessive taxation and the inability to offset future taxable income; general economic conditions (including interest rates, foreign currency exchange rates, investment or credit market conditions, crude oil prices, costs of aircraft fuel and energy refining capacity in relevant markets); economic and political instability and other risks of doing business globally; our ability to cost-effectively hedge against increases in the price of aircraft fuel if we decide to do so; any potential realized or unrealized gains or losses related to fuel or currency hedging programs; the effects of any hostilities, act of war or terrorist attack; the ability of other air carriers with whom we have alliances or partnerships to provide the services contemplated by the respective arrangements with such carriers; the effects of any technology failures or cybersecurity breaches; disruptions to our regional network; the costs and availability of aviation and other insurance; industry consolidation or changes in airline alliances; the success of our investments in airlines in other parts of the world; competitive pressures on pricing and on demand; our capacity decisions and the capacity decisions of our competitors; U.S. or foreign governmental legislation, regulation and other actions (including Open Skies agreements and environmental regulations); the impact of regulatory, investigative and legal proceedings and legal compliance risks; the impact of any management changes; labor costs; our ability to maintain satisfactory labor relations and the results of any collective bargaining agreement process with our union groups; any disruptions to operations due to any potential actions by our labor groups; weather conditions; and other risks and uncertainties set forth under Part I, Item 1A., “Risk Factors,” of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2016, as well as other risks and uncertainties set forth from time to time in the reports we file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

-tables attached-




Contact Information:

United Airlines

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