CHICAGO: United Airlines reported its sixth consecutive quarterly loss on Tuesday due to the coronavirus pandemic, though revenue quadrupled from a year ago and topped estimates with a strong domestic travel rebound.
US leisure travel has nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels as more people fly for vacation or to visit friends and family following a massive nationwide vaccination campaign.
Chicago-based United said it will continue ramping up flying in the third quarter and forecast its total unit revenue – comparing sales to flight capacity – for the period will be higher than the same quarter in 2019, a turning point for the airline.
The company said business and long-haul international travel, to which it is more exposed than rivals, accelerated faster than anticipated, and it expects a full recovery in demand by 2023.
Adjusted net loss
United’s adjusted net loss narrowed to $1.26 billion, or $3.91 per share, in the quarter, from $2.6 billion, or $9.31 per share, a year ago.
Excluding items, the company lost $434 million in the second quarter. United has said it expects to be profitable in the third and fourth quarter.
United’s second-quarter adjusted operating revenue rose to $5.47 billion from about $1.47 billion a year ago, above analysts’ average estimate of $5.35 billion.
United’s quarterly revenue was just half of the roughly $10 billion it booked in the same quarter of 2019 before the pandemic jolted the travel industry.
United last month unveiled its largest-ever aircraft order for 270 jets in a push to boost its domestic capacity by almost 30 per cent and better compete for both premium and low-cost travel.
It has also announced a string of investments related to sustainability and innovation as airlines face renewed scrutiny over their environmental impact.