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United Airlines Holdings Inc. says it’s ready to pounce on any travel rebound while riding out an unprecedented industry slump with US$19.4 billion in liquidity.
The company lowered daily cash burn to US$21 million in the third quarter plus US$4 million in debt and severance payments, according to a statement Wednesday. That was down from total daily cash use of US$40 million in the second quarter.
”Having successfully executed our initial crisis strategy, we’re ready to turn the page,” United Chief Executive Officer Scott Kirby said in a statement. “Even though the negative impact of COVID-19 will persist in the near term, we are now focused on positioning the airline for a strong recovery.”
Airlines still face a long, slow rebound as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hold domestic passenger numbers at about a third of last year’s levels -- and international traffic is even lower. Since travel collapsed in March and April, U.S. carriers have slashed payrolls, parked jets, raised billions of dollars in debt deals and received US$25 billion in federal payroll support. Negotiations for additional government aid have stalled in Washington.
United fell 1.3 per cent to US$35.15 after the close of regular trading in New York. United has tumbled 60 per cent this year, the biggest drop on a Standard & Poor’s index of major U.S. airlines.
The company’s results over the summer underscore the depth of the downturn. United reported an adjusted loss of US$8.16 a share in the third quarter, even worse than the shortfall of US$7.47 a share predicted by analysts. Sales dropped 78 per cent to US$2.49 billion, in line with analyst estimates.
United will hold a conference call for analysts and investors on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. Eastern time.