Strong US dollar drives down profits at United Airlines

Strong US dollar drives down profits at United Airlines

United Airlines has reported first-quarter net income of $435 million, excluding special items, earnings per share of $1.23 per diluted share and pre-tax earnings of $688 million.

During the first quarter of 2016, the company repurchased $1.5 billion worth of its common stock, representing approximately eight per cent of shares outstanding.

“I am extremely proud of United’s nearly 86,000 aviation professionals for their contributions to these strong results – including the improvements in our reliability, customer satisfaction and financial performance,” said Oscar Munoz, president and chief executive officer of United Airlines.

“As we accelerate United’s path forward, we will continue to focus on running a great airline today while innovating for tomorrow.”

For the first quarter of 2016, total revenue was $8.2 billion, a decrease of 4.8 per cent year-over-year.

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First-quarter 2016 consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile decreased 7.4 per cent and consolidated yield decreased 6.1 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2015.

The decline in PRASM continues to be driven by economic factors including a strong US dollar and lower oil prices.

In addition, the company experienced a larger-than-anticipated decrease in close-in business travel during the weeks surrounding the Easter holiday and spring break.

The company continues to focus on providing customers options to personalise their travel experience and, this quarter, launched its new bundled products offering, which is exceeding expectations. 

In the first quarter, UAL generated $1.2 billion in operating cash flow, $376 million in free cash flow and ended the quarter with $5.3 billion in unrestricted liquidity, including $1.35 billion of undrawn commitments under its revolving credit facility.

During the first quarter, the company continued to invest in its business through gross capital expenditures of approximately $820 million, excluding fully reimbursable projects, and repurchased $1.5 billion worth of its common stock, representing approximately eight per cent of shares outstanding.

UAL earned a 20.8 per cent return on invested capital for the 12 months ended March 31st, 2016.