United Airlines posts smaller quarterly loss as travel rebounds

United Airlines posts smaller quarterly loss as travel rebounds

United Airlines posts smaller quarterly loss as travel rebounds

A United Airlines passenger jet takes off with New York City as a backdrop, at Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey, U.S. December 6, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo

CHICAGO, Oct 19 (Reuters) – United Airlines Holdings (UAL.O) on Tuesday reported a narrower-than-expected third-quarter loss, helped by a recovery in travel demand.

The Chicago-based carrier reported an adjusted loss of $1.02 per share, compared with a loss of $8.16 per share last year at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Analysts were forecasting a loss of $1.67 per share, according to Refinitiv data.

With government pandemic aid, the airline reported a net profit of $1.44 per share for the quarter.

Third-quarter revenue came in at $7.75 billion, compared with $2.49 billion a year ago, and was above Wall Street’s estimates of $7.64 billion.

After a strong summer travel season, the fast spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus slowed down new bookings and drove up cancellations, threatening the industry’s fragile recovery.

However, with a decline in COVID-19 cases as more people get vaccinated, carriers say bookings have stabilized and are recovering.

U.S. airlines are eyeing a strong holiday season, with United planning to fly its biggest domestic schedule since the start of the pandemic, offering more than 3,500 daily domestic flights in December – representing 91% of its domestic capacity compared to 2019.

United said it expects revenue in the current quarter to recover to at least 70% of 2019 levels. Capacity in the December quarter is estimated to be down 23% compared with the corresponding quarter in 2019.

Reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh
Editing by Bill Berkrot

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