United expects profitability in Q3 and beyond
CHICAGO—United Airlines now expects positive adjusted pre-tax income in the third and fourth quarters of 2021 as travel demand rebounds, according to the company’s newly released second-quarter 2021 financial results.
The company’s second quarter performance largely exceeded original expectations as international long haul and business travel accelerated even faster than anticipated, together with continued yield improvement. Looking ahead, the company expects continued gains as more businesses return by end of summer and into 2022, with a full recovery in demand anticipated by 2023.
“Thanks to the professionalism and perseverance of the United employees who have worked so hard to take care of our customers through the pandemic, our airline has reached a meaningful turning point: we’re expecting to be back to making a profit once again,” said United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby. “As we emerge from the most disruptive crisis our company has faced, we’re now focused squarely on our United Next strategy that will transform our customers’ onboard experience and help fulfill United’s incredible potential.
Q2 financial results
• Reported second quarter 2021 capacity down 46% compared to second quarter 2019.
• Reported second quarter 2021 net loss of $0.4 billion, adjusted net loss of $1.3 billion.
• Reported second quarter 2021 total operating revenue of $5.5 billion, down 52% compared to second quarter 2019.
• Raised secured financing collateralized by substantially all of United’s network of slots, routes, and gates —made up of $4 billion in a private offering of bonds, a $5 billion term loan, and a $1.75 billion revolving credit facility. This is a first of its kind financing and the largest non-merger financing transaction in airline history.
Reported second quarter 2021 ending available liquidity of approximately $23 billion.
• Expects third quarter 2021 capacity to be down around 26% compared to third quarter 2019, up 39% quarter over quarter.
• Based on current trends, the company expects third quarter 2021 TRASM growth to be positive compared to the third quarter 2019, the first quarter of positive TRASM growth since the second quarter of 2020.
• Third quarter 2021 estimated fuel price of approximately $2.17 per gallon.
• Expects third quarter 2021 adjusted pre-tax income to be positive, the first quarter of positive adjusted pre-tax income since fourth quarter 2019. Additionally, expects fourth quarter 2021 adjusted pre-tax income to be positive.
• Announced the purchase of 270 new Boeing and Airbus aircraft—the largest combined order in the airline’s history and the biggest by an individual carrier in the last decade.
• As part of “United Next” announced plans to retrofit 100% of the mainline, narrow-body fleet to transform the customer experience and create a new signature interior with a roughly 75% increase in premium seats per departure, larger overhead bins, seatback entertainment in every seat and the industry’s fastest available WiFi.
• Established a new diversity goal by striving to have 50% of students at the new United Aviate Academy be women and people of color.
• Entered into a commercial agreement with Denver-based aerospace company Boom Supersonic to add supersonic aircraft to United’s global fleet.
• Provided customers the ability to schedule COVID-19 tests and have results reviewed in advance through United’s industry-leading Travel-Ready Center. (PR)