Oct 19, 2021
United Airlines Posts Smaller Loss After Variant Wrecks Profit Plan
(Bloomberg) -- United Airlines Holdings Inc. posted a narrower loss than analysts had expected as a dip in demand from a summer surge in the coronavirus delta variant proved fleeting.
The carrier lost $1.02 per share, or $300 million, in the third quarter on an adjusted pretax basis, better than the $1.61 loss analysts had estimated, according to figures compiled by Bloomberg.
United shares rose 1.4% in trading after the market close. The stock has gained 6.9% this year through the end of trading Tuesday.
Pandemic-driven losses persisted for a seventh quarter at United, which as recently as July had predicted a profit for the latter half of 2021 based on strong demand from leisure travelers and a gradual return of corporate road warriors. But that was before a summer wave of Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations caused an industrywide sales slowdown. United had warned investors Sept. 9 that its planned profit would turn into red ink due to this change in business conditions.
United’s third-quarter operating revenue was $7.8 billion, down 32% from the same period in 2019. Analysts had predicted $7.6 billion.
United said it would fly 77% of its 2019-level capacity in the fourth quarter.
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