United Airlines Achieves Q2 Record-Setting Financial Performance

 

  • Recorded pre-tax income of $1.4 billion

United States-based airline, United Airlines has reported second-quarter 2023 financial results. The company reported quarterly earnings per share of $3.24 and a pre-tax margin of 9.8%.

The company set records on an adjusted basis1 with earnings per share of $5.03 and a pre-tax margin of 15.3%. The strong financial performance has accelerated the company’s efforts to restore its balance sheet, resulting in trailing twelve months adjusted net debt1 to adjusted EBITDAR1 of 2.4x, back to 2019 levels and ahead of its full-year 2023 target of less than 3x.

The momentum from the second quarter is expected to power the company to full-year 2023 adjusted earnings per share2 of $11 to $12, up versus the previous guidance of $10 to $12.

The all-time quarterly highs in the second quarter and the bright outlook for the future are evidence that the United Next strategy to up-gauge the airline, increase connectivity at its mid-continent hubs, and expand its industry-leading global network is working.

The company’s second-quarter performance also benefited from the strength of its network. In the second quarter, United’s domestic margins returned to 2019 levels while international margins were well above 2019.

United continues to establish its position as the United States flag carrier, with a 27% increase in capacity internationally versus the same quarter last year. Looking to capitalize on the demand for international travel, United announced earlier this week a second expansion of its Pacific flying this fall with new flights to Manila, Hong Kong, Taipei, and Tokyo (Narita).

The airline is expecting to maximize the success of its international business with the largest wide-body aircraft order in history that it announced with Boeing in December 2022.

“The United team persevered through an unprecedented series of events at the end of last month. They are the best in the business and we’re focused on the important changes we can make, especially in Newark, to serve our customers even better,” said United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby.

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“United’s financial performance in the second quarter and our outlook for the remainder of the year and beyond make it clear that United Next is working and is the right strategy at the right time. Our focus now is on executing that strategy well – because we know it will deliver huge benefits for our customers, our employees, and our owners.”

For the period, capacity went up 17.5% compared to second-quarter 2022; total operating revenue of $14.2 billion, up 17.1% compared to second-quarter 2022; TRASM down 0.4% compared to second-quarter 2022; CASM down 4.0%, and CASM-ex1 up 2.0%, compared to second-quarter 2022.

The carrier recorded pre-tax income of $1.4 billion, with a pre-tax margin of 9.8%; adjusted pre-tax income1 of $2.2 billion, with an adjusted pre-tax margin1 of 15.3%; net income of $1.1 billion, adjusted net income1 of $1.7 billion.

United Airlines

Key Highlights

  • Raised $1.3 billion from an offering of enhanced equipment trust certificates (EETC).
  • Pre-paid $1 billion of high-coupon debt.
  • Launched a self-service tool in United’s award-winning app that automatically presents travelers personalized re-booking options, bag tracking information, and meal and hotel vouchers when eligible if their flight is delayed or cancelled.
  • Carried the highest volume of revenue passengers since pre-pandemic.
  • In June, achieved the highest month for newly enrolled members of the MileagePlus® program with approximately 800,000 new members.
  • Introduced a blend of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) on departing flights from San Francisco International Airport, making it the third airport where United uses SAF. Also announced plans to use a SAF blend later this summer at London Heathrow Airport.

Operational Performance

  • Flew a daily average of more than 2,400 flights, the most mainline flights in a quarter in company history.
  • Achieved the largest percentage of mainline-operated flights in history, with 60% of flights flown by mainline aircraft.
  • Increased number of departures on two-cabin aircraft to 87% of departures, versus 68% in second-quarter 2019.
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Customer Enhancements

  • First airline to launch Live Activities for iPhone, giving customers real-time access to their boarding pass, gate and seat number, and a countdown clock to departure time.
  • Opened the company’s newest United ClubSM in Newark Liberty Airport’s new Terminal A.
  • Added United Polaris® cabin meal pre-orders on widebody international flights starting in July.

Network

  • Flew United’s largest schedule across the Atlantic ever, 32% larger than United’s 2019 schedule and 10% larger than the next largest US carrier.
  • Launched six new international trans-Atlantic routes between Malaga, Spain and Newark/New York, Stockholm, Sweden and Newark/New York, Berlin, Germany and Washington D.C., Barcelona, Spain and Chicago, Shannon, Ireland and Chicago, and Rome, Italy and San Francisco.
  • Announced the largest South Pacific expansion in aviation history, becoming the only airline to offer direct service to Christchurch, New Zealand from the Continental United States, via San Francisco, and two new routes between Los Angeles and both Auckland, New Zealand, and Brisbane, Australia (subject to government approval).
  • Announced large expansion of destinations from its Denver hub, with 35 flights and six new non-stop flights at Denver International Airport including four destinations not served by any other Denver airline. This summer United has more than 50% more flights and destinations than the airline’s nearest competitor and will fly its largest schedule in company history from the hub.

Communities

  • Welcomed nine new corporate participants to its Eco-Skies Alliance program, set up to contribute to the purchase of sustainable aviation fuel (“SAF”). To date, the program has invested in the future production of more than five billion gallons of SAF.
  • Announced official front-of-shirt sponsorship for Wrexham AFC, the recently promoted Welsh soccer team.
  • Provided more than 40,000 pounds of relief cargo, 150 volunteers, and multiple humanitarian flights to Guam to provide support following Super Typhoon Mawar.
  • Employees volunteered nearly 5,000 hours at more than 200 events across the globe with a number of non-profit partner organizations.
  • Over 4.4 million miles donated by MileagePlus members to more than 40 non-profit organizations via the Miles on a MissionSM program.
  • Provided more than $1 million of financial support to environmental and disaster relief partners supporting volunteer efforts.
  • Participated in 9 Pride parade activations across United’s network.
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Earnings Call

UAL will hold a conference call to discuss the second quarter 2023 financial results, as well as its financial and operational outlook for the third quarter 2023 and beyond, on Thursday, July 20, at 9:30 a.m. CT/10:30 a.m. ET. A live, listen-only webcast of the conference call will be available at ir.united.com. The webcast will be available for replay within 24 hours of the conference call and then archived on the website for three months.

Outlook

This press release should be read in conjunction with the company’s Investor Update issued in connection with this quarterly earnings announcement, which provides additional information on the company’s business outlook (including certain financial and operational guidance) and is furnished with this press release with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on a Current Report on Form 8-K. The Investor Update is also available at ir.united.com. Management will also discuss certain business outlook items during the quarterly earnings conference call.

The company’s business outlook is subject to risks and uncertainties applicable to all forward-looking statements as described elsewhere in this press release. Please see the section entitled “Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements.”

 

 

Wole Shadare