United Airlines reports $637m profit for third quarter

United Airlines reports $637m profit for third quarter

United Airlines has reported third-quarter net income of $637 million, diluted earnings per share of $2.12, pre-tax earnings of approximately $1.0 billion and a pre-tax margin of 9.9 per cent.

Excluding special charges, the US carrier reported third-quarter net income of $669 million, diluted earnings per share of $2.22, pre-tax earnings of $1 billion and pre-tax margin of 10.4 per cent.

At the same time, United confirmed it had repurchased $556 million of its common shares in the third quarter, bringing the year-to-date share repurchases to $1.3 billion.

“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.

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“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 south-east Texas, Florida 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.”

For the third quarter of 2017, revenue was $9.9 billion, roughly flat year-over-year including an estimated $210 million loss of revenue from severe weather during the quarter.

Third-quarter 2017 consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile was down 3.7 per cent compared to the third quarter of 2016.

Cargo revenue was $257 million in the third quarter of 2017, an increase of 14.7 per cent year-over-year primarily due to higher international freight volume.