United Announces Record First-Quarter Profit - United Hub

United Announces Record First-Quarter Profit

UAL Reports $582 Million First-Quarter 2015 Profit Excluding Special Items; $508 Million Profit Including Special Items
April 23, 2015

CHICAGO, April 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines (UAL) today reported first-quarter 2015 net income of $582 million, or $1.52 per diluted share, excluding $74 million of special items. Including special items, UAL reported first-quarter net income of $508 million, or $1.32 per diluted share. These results are a record first-quarter profit for the company.

  • UAL earned a 17.1 percent return on invested capital for the 12 months ended March 31, 2015.
  • UAL's consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) increased 0.4 percent for first-quarter 2015 compared to first-quarter 2014.
  • First-quarter 2015 consolidated unit costs (CASM), excluding special charges, third-party business expenses, fuel and profit sharing, decreased 1.5 percent year-over-year on a consolidated capacity increase of 0.1 percent. First-quarter 2015 CASM, including those items, decreased 13.1 percent year-over-year.
  • In the quarter, UAL returned approximately $200 million to shareholders as part of its previously announced $1 billion share buyback program.
  • In the quarter, UAL prepaid approximately $120 million of debt and announced its intention, in the second quarter, to prepay $601 million of its 6 percent notes due 2026 and 2028.

"This quarter we reported a profit of nearly $600 million, excluding special items, a $1 billion improvement compared to the first quarter of 2014, and I'd like to thank the United team for all their great work," said Jeff Smisek, UAL's chairman, president and chief executive officer. "We continued to improve our operational reliability and deliver products that enhance our customers' experience, including new aircraft, improved food, new inflight entertainment options and modern facilities. We are making significant progress on our long-term plan to reduce costs, improve our margins and grow our earnings, and expect our second quarter pre-tax margin to be between 12 and 14 percent, excluding special items."

First-Quarter Revenue and Capacity

For the first quarter of 2015, total revenue was $8.6 billion, a decrease of 1.0 percent year-over-year. First-quarter consolidated passenger revenue increased 0.5 percent to $7.4 billion, compared to the same period in 2014. Ancillary revenue per passenger in the first quarter increased 8.6 percent year-over-year to more than $23 per passenger. First-quarter cargo revenue grew 15.8 percent year-over-year to $242 million. Other revenue in the first quarter decreased 14.2 percent year-over-year, mostly due to the reduction in sales of fuel to a third party. The corresponding expense decline from this reduction appears in third-party business expense.

Consolidated revenue passenger miles increased 0.1 percent and consolidated available seat miles increased 0.1 percent year-over-year for the first quarter, resulting in a first-quarter consolidated load factor of 81.1 percent.

First-quarter 2015 consolidated PRASM increased 0.4 percent and consolidated yield increased 0.4 percent compared to the first quarter of 2014.

"This quarter our PRASM performance reflected good progress on our revenue initiatives," said Jim Compton, UAL's vice chairman and chief revenue officer. "We will continue to match capacity with demand while making the appropriate network, fleet and product decisions to enhance revenue and margin performance, while improving our customers' experience."

Passenger revenue for the first quarter of 2015 and period-to-period comparisons of related statistics for UAL's mainline and regional operations are as follows:

First-Quarter Costs

First-quarter consolidated CASM, excluding special charges, third-party business expense, fuel and profit sharing, decreased 1.5 percent compared to the first quarter of 2014. The improved cost performance was driven by the better-than-expected performance from the company's Project Quality efficiency program and strong U.S. dollar. First-quarter consolidated CASM including those items decreased 13.1 percent.

First-quarter total operating expenses, excluding special charges, decreased $1.19 billion, or 13.2 percent, year-over-year. Including special charges, total operating expenses decreased $1.18 billion, or 13.0 percent, in the first quarter versus the same period in 2014.

First-Quarter Liquidity and Cash Flow

In the first quarter, UAL generated over $1 billion in free cash flow, and ended the quarter with $7.0 billion in unrestricted liquidity, including $1.35 billion of undrawn commitments under its revolving credit facility. During the first quarter, the company had gross capital expenditures of $794 million, excluding fully reimbursable projects. The company contributed approximately $180 million to its pension plans and made debt and capital lease principal payments of $320 million in the first quarter, including approximately $120 million of prepayments. UAL also announced its intention to prepay the remaining $303 million of 6 percent notes due 2026 on April 1, 2015 and to prepay $298 million of 6 percent notes due 2028 on May 1, 2015.

As part of UAL's $1 billion share buyback program, the company spent approximately $200 million in share repurchases in the first quarter. Through the first quarter, UAL has returned a total of approximately $520 million to shareholders under the program.

For the 12 months ended March 31, 2015, the company's return on invested capital was 17.1 percent.

For more information on UAL's second-quarter 2015 guidance, please visit ir.united.com for the company's investor update.

Fleet Updates

Today, UAL announced refinements to its fleet plan, which will allow the company to achieve longer-term network needs without increasing its outlook for capacity or gross capital expenditures over the next several years. These adjustments will accelerate the company's network initiatives as it transitions flying into the mainline operation from the regional operation, increases average gauge and reduces reliance on 50-seat aircraft. As part of this effort, the company will:

  • Complete the removal of more than 130 50-seat aircraft from its schedule by the end of 2015. UAL will remove additional 50-seat aircraft in 2016 and beyond as aircraft come off lease.
  • Exchange 10 787 orders with Boeing for 10 777-300ERs for delivery beginning in 2016. The new 777-300ER aircraft will provide attractive upgauge and range opportunities to the company at competitive economics.
  • Extend the life of 11 additional 767-300ER aircraft. The company now plans to extend the life of all 21 767-300ER through investments in winglets, reliability improvements and interior modifications, which will improve financial performance and make the aircraft more customer pleasing.
  • Reconfigure and transition 10 777-200 aircraft currently used in international markets into the domestic network, and position a number of its trans-Atlantic 757-200 fleet into the domestic and Latin markets, with the extension of the 767-300ER aircraft.
  • Acquire additional used narrowbody aircraft. The company is in final negotiations regarding the lease of 10 to 20 used narrowbody aircraft for delivery over the next few years. In addition, the company plans to continue to seek other opportunities to acquire used aircraft to meet its needs as market conditions allow.

These changes will not impact the company's current 2015 capacity guidance, and are consistent with the company's focus on capacity discipline, and will not alter the company's current gross annual capital expenditure guidance of $2.7 billion to $2.9 billion over the next three to four years.

"These changes are part of our strategy to improve operational reliability, grow capacity with demand, and enable us to achieve our long-term goal to improve margins and return on invested capital," said John Rainey, UAL's executive vice president and chief financial officer. "Customers tell us they prefer larger aircraft, and these fleet modifications will provide more opportunity for our customers to travel on the type of aircraft they prefer."

About United

United Airlines and United Express operate an average of nearly 5,000 flights a day to 373 airports across six continents. In 2014, United and United Express operated nearly two million flights carrying 138 million customers. United is proud to have the world's most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates nearly 700 mainline aircraft, and this year, the airline anticipates taking delivery of 34 new Boeing aircraft, including the 787-9 and the 737-900ER. United is also welcoming 49 new Embraer E175 aircraft to United Express. The airline is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 193 countries via 27 member airlines. More than 84,000 United employees reside in every U.S. state and in countries around the world. For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL.

Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Certain statements included in this release are forward-looking and thus reflect our current expectations and beliefs with respect to certain current and future events and financial performance. Such forward-looking statements are and will be subject to many risks and uncertainties relating to our operations and business environment that may cause actual results to differ materially from any future results expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements. Words such as "expects," "will," "plans," "anticipates," "indicates," "believes," "forecast," "guidance," "outlook" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Additionally, forward-looking statements include statements that do not relate solely to historical facts, such as statements which identify uncertainties or trends, discuss the possible future effects of current known trends or uncertainties or which indicate that the future effects of known trends or uncertainties cannot be predicted, guaranteed or assured. All forward-looking statements in this report are based upon information available to us on the date of this report. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, changed circumstances or otherwise, except as required by applicable law. Our actual results could differ materially from these forward-looking statements due to numerous factors including, without limitation, the following: our ability to comply with the terms of our various financing arrangements; the costs and availability of financing; our ability to maintain adequate liquidity; our ability to execute our operational plans, including optimizing our revenue; our ability to control our costs, including realizing benefits from our resource optimization efforts, cost reduction initiatives and fleet replacement programs; our ability to utilize our net operating losses; our ability to attract and retain customers; demand for transportation in the markets in which we operate; an outbreak of a disease that affects travel demand or travel behavior; demand for travel and the impact that global economic conditions have on customer travel patterns; excessive taxation and the inability to offset future taxable income; general economic conditions (including interest rates, foreign currency exchange rates, investment or credit market conditions, crude oil prices, costs of aircraft fuel and energy refining capacity in relevant markets); our ability to cost-effectively hedge against increases in the price of aircraft fuel; any potential realized or unrealized gains or losses related to fuel or currency hedging programs; the effects of any hostilities, act of war or terrorist attack; the ability of other air carriers with whom we have alliances or partnerships to provide the services contemplated by the respective arrangements with such carriers; the costs and availability of aviation and other insurance; industry consolidation or changes in airline alliances; competitive pressures on pricing and on demand; our capacity decisions and the capacity decisions of our competitors; U.S. or foreign governmental legislation, regulation and other actions (including open skies agreements and environmental regulations); labor costs; our ability to maintain satisfactory labor relations and the results of the collective bargaining agreement process with our union groups; any disruptions to operations due to any potential actions by our labor groups; weather conditions; and other risks and uncertainties set forth under Item 1A., Risk Factors, of UAL's Annual Report on Form 10-K, as well as other risks and uncertainties set forth from time to time in the reports we file with the SEC.

-tables attached-

 

 

 


2015 - Special items


Severance and benefits: During the three months ended March 31, 2015, the company recorded $50 million of severance and benefits related to a voluntary early-out program for its flight attendants. In 2014, more than 2,500 flight attendants elected to voluntarily separate from the company and will receive a severance payment, with a maximum value of $100,000 per participant, based on years of service, with retirement dates through the end of 2015. The company will record approximately $50 million of additional expense through the remainder of 2015 associated with this program over the remaining required service periods.






Integration-related costs: Integration-related costs include compensation costs related primarily to systems integration and training for employees.




Loss on extinguishment of debt and other, net: During the three months ended March 31, 2015, the company recorded $6 million of losses as part of Nonoperating income (expense): Miscellaneous, net due to the write-off of the debt discount related to the redemption of the 6% Notes due 2026 and 6% Notes due 2028.






MTM losses from fuel hedges settling in future periods and prior period losses on fuel contracts settled in the current period: The company utilizes certain derivative instruments that are economic hedges but do not qualify for hedge accounting under U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. The company records changes in the fair value of these economic hedges to Nonoperating income (expense): Miscellaneous, net in the statements of consolidated operations. During the three months ended March 31, 2015, the company recorded $36 million in MTM losses on economic hedges that will settle in future periods. For economic hedges that settled in the three months ended March 31, 2015, the company recorded MTM losses of $32 million in prior periods. The figures above also include an insignificant amount of ineffectiveness on hedges that are designated for hedge accounting.




2014 - Special items


During the three months ended March 31, 2014, the company recorded $14 million of severance and benefits and $34 million in integration-related costs. The severance and benefits primarily related to reductions of management and front-line employees, including from Hopkins International Airport (Cleveland), as part of its cost savings initiatives. The company reduced its average daily departures from Cleveland by over 60 percent during the second quarter of 2014. The company is currently evaluating its options regarding its long-term contractual commitments at Cleveland. The capacity reductions at Cleveland may result in further special charges, which could be significant, related to our contractual commitments. In addition, the company recorded $21 million of losses due to exchange rate changes in Venezuela applicable to funds held in local currency.




MTM losses from fuel hedges settling in future periods and prior period gains on fuel contracts settled in the current period: The company utilizes certain derivative instruments that are economic hedges but do not qualify for hedge accounting under U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. The company records changes in the fair value of these economic hedges to Nonoperating income (expense): Miscellaneous, net in the statements of consolidated operations. During the three months ended March 31, 2014, the company recorded $26 million in MTM losses on economic hedges that will settle in future periods. For economic hedges that settled in the three months ended March 31, 2014, the company recorded MTM gains of $22 million in prior periods. The figures above also include an insignificant amount of ineffectiveness on hedges that are designated for hedge accounting.




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No federal income tax expense was recognized related to the company's pretax income (loss) for the three months ended March 31, 2015, and 2014 due to the utilization of book net operating loss carry forwards for which no benefit has previously been recognized. The company is required to provide a valuation allowance for its deferred tax assets in excess of deferred tax liabilities because UAL concluded that it is more likely than not that such deferred tax assets will ultimately not be realized.







 

 

 

 

 

 

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SOURCE United Airlines

For further information: United Airlines Worldwide Media Relations, +1-872-825-8640, media.relations@united.com

United Launches Industry-Exclusive Technology to Ease the Burden of COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

United's "Travel-Ready Center" will allow customers to upload and validate test results, review local entry requirements, find testing providers, and store vaccination records - all in the United app and United.com
January 25, 2021

CHICAGO, Jan. 25, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today launched the "Travel-Ready Center" - a new, digital solution where customers can review COVID-19 entry requirements, find local testing options and upload any required testing and vaccination records for domestic and international travel, all in one place. United is the first airline to integrate all these features into its mobile app and website.

"While pre-travel testing and documentation are key to safely reopening global travel, we know it can be confusing for customers when they're preparing for a flight," said Linda Jojo, Executive Vice President for Technology and Chief Digital Officer, United. "Starting today, our 'Travel-Ready Center' gives customers a personalized, step-by-step guide of what is needed for their trip, a simple way to upload required documents and quickly get their boarding pass, fully integrated within our app and website."


United Announces 2020 Financial Results: 2021 Will Focus On Transition To Recovery; Expects To Exceed 2019 Adjusted EBITDA Margin By 2023*

Company continues to improve core cash burn in the face of continued COVID-19 headwinds; sharpens focus to prepare for recovery
January 20, 2021

CHICAGO, Jan. 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines (UAL) today announced fourth-quarter and full-year 2020 financial results. The company continues its efforts to lead the industry as it manages the most disruptive crisis in aviation history.

Doreen Burse Named Worldwide Sales SVP

January 19, 2021

CHICAGO, Jan. 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced that the carrier has named Doreen Burse senior vice president of Worldwide Sales. Burse brings to the company more than 30 years of sales expertise from the hospitality industry.

United Airlines Receives Hospital-Grade Certification for Cleaning and Safety

United is the first of the four largest U.S airlines to be certified Diamond by the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) and SimpliFlying
January 12, 2021

CHICAGO, Jan. 12, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, United Airlines was recognized by the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) and SimpliFlying for providing a hospital-grade standard of cleanliness and safety during the travel journey. United is the first airline among the four largest U.S. carriers to receive the highest possible certification - Diamond - in the new APEX Health Safety audit powered by SimpliFlying. This new scientifically-based certification is designed to create a recognized, global standard for health and safety across the aviation industry.

United to Hold Webcast of Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year 2020 Financial Results

January 06, 2021

CHICAGO, Jan. 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines will hold a conference call to discuss fourth-quarter and full-year 2020 financial results on Thursday, January 21 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 company will issue its fourth-quarter and full-year 2020 financial results after market close on Wednesday, January 20.

A Message From Scott Kirby and Brett Hart

December 21, 2020

CHICAGO, Dec. 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- J. Scott Kirby, Chief Executive Officer, and Brett Hart, President, today issued the following message to all United Airlines (NASDAQ: UAL) employees:

United Team:

We're writing today with some really good news: the Administration and Congress have come together in a bipartisan way on a relief bill that includes several items, including an extension of the Payroll Support Program (PSP) for the airlines.

United Named Best Overall Airline in the World by Global Traveler Readers

United received ten awards including Best Overall Airline, Airline of the year and Best Overall Frequent-Flyer Program

December 17, 2020

CHICAGO, Dec. 17, 2020 – Readers from Global Traveler, a publication written for business and luxury travelers, named United Airlines the Best Overall Airline in the World as part of this year's GT Trusted Reader Survey. Additionally, a select panel of Global Traveler employees and Advisory Board members named United Airline of the Year, an honor which is based on on-time arrivals and departures, safety, brand image and more. And for the 17th consecutive year, MileagePlus® was named best Loyalty Program by Global Traveler readers. The airline earned top scores from readers in ten categories across FXExpress Publications, Inc. awards, which include Global Traveler, The Trazees and the Wherever Awards.

United and CDC Work Together on Contact Tracing Initiative for All International and Domestic Flights

Program designed to collect detailed, real-time information that will better support CDC efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19
December 16, 2020

CHICAGO, Dec. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines with the support of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today announced a program to collect customer contact information for all international and domestic flights. During the check-in process, United customers will be prompted to voluntarily opt-in and provide contact information such as an email address, phone numbers and an address of where they will be once they reach their destination, details that were previously difficult for the CDC to obtain in real-time. This effort represents the airline industry's most comprehensive public health contact information collection program to date and the immediate access to the data will better support the CDC's efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the United States and around the world.

United Makes Bold Environmental Commitment Unmatched by Any Airline; Pledges 100% Green by Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions 100% by 2050

United will meet this ambitious goal by making industry-leading investments in new technology and sustainable fuels - not from buying carbon offsets
December 10, 2020

CHICAGO, Dec. 10, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today is taking its most ambitious step yet in leading the fight against climate change: pledging to become 100% green by reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 100% by 2050. United, which in 2018 became the first U.S. airline to commit to reducing its GHG emissions by 50% by 2050, will advance towards carbon neutrality by committing to a multimillion-dollar investment in revolutionary atmospheric carbon capture technology known as Direct Air Capture – rather than indirect measures like carbon-offsetting – in addition to continuing to invest in the development and use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). With this unprecedented announcement, United becomes the first airline in the world to announce a commitment to invest in Direct Air Capture technology.

United Launches Virtual, On Demand Customer Service at the Airport

New "Agent on Demand" platform gives customers live, fast, contactless access to information and assistance at all U.S. hubs;
December 08, 2020

CHICAGO, Dec. 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United passengers will soon have access to virtual, on demand customer service at the airline's hubs, giving people an easy, contact-free option to get real-time information and support. Customers can access "Agent on Demand" on any mobile device to call, text or video chat live with an agent and get answers on everything from seat assignments to boarding times. Agent on Demand is currently available at Chicago O'Hare and Houston's George Bush International Airports and is rolling out to United's hubs by end of year.

United Adopts Tax Benefits Preservation Plan To Protect Valuable Tax Assets

Preserving long-term stockholder value by adopting a rights plan intended to protect tax assets Rights plan in effect immediately; will be submitted for stockholder ratification at 2021 annual meeting
December 04, 2020

CHICAGO, Dec. 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines Holdings, Inc. ("UAL" and, together with its consolidated subsidiaries, the "Company") today announced that its Board of Directors has unanimously adopted a tax benefits preservation plan (the Plan) to preserve and protect the Company's ability to use its large net operating loss carryforwards (NOLs) and other tax assets under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code (the Code). The Plan is similar to plans adopted by other companies with significant NOLs.

As of Sept.30, 2020, UAL reported consolidated federal NOLs of approximately $8.2 billion. These NOLs, which have increased significantly in recent months, are available to reduce the Company's future federal income tax expense and represent significant value to the Company. The purpose of the Plan is to protect the Company's ability to use these tax assets, which would be substantially limited if the Company experienced an "ownership change" within the meaning of Section 382 of the Code. Generally, an "ownership change" occurs if the percentage of UAL's stock owned by one or more of its "5-percent shareholders" (as such term is defined in Section 382 of the Code) increases by more than 50 percentage points over a rolling three-year period. 

In light of the volatility and decline in the market price of UAL's common stock resulting from the sharp decline in demand for air travel caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and other macroeconomic factors and in light of potential transactions involving the sale or issuance of UAL common stock, UAL's Board of Directors determined to adopt the Plan to prevent an inadvertent impairment of the Company's NOLs.

Pursuant to the Plan, UAL will issue, by means of a dividend, one preferred share purchase right for each outstanding share of UAL common stock to stockholders of record at the close of business on December 14, 2020. Stockholders are not required to take any action to receive the rights. Initially, these rights will not be exercisable and will trade with, and be represented by, the shares of UAL common stock.

UAL intends to submit the Plan to a vote of its stockholders at its 2021 annual meeting.  The Plan will expire on the first business day following the certification of the voting results for UAL's 2021 annual meeting, unless UAL's stockholders ratify the Plan at such meeting, in which case the Plan will continue in effect until Dec. 4, 2023, unless terminated earlier in accordance with its terms.

Under the Plan, the rights generally become exercisable only if a person or group (an "acquiring person") acquires beneficial ownership of 4.9% or more of the outstanding shares of UAL common stock in a transaction not approved by the Board. In that situation, each holder of a right (other than the acquiring person, whose rights will become void and will not be exercisable) will be entitled to purchase, at the then-current exercise price, additional shares of UAL common stock at a 50% discount. The Board, at its option, may exchange each right (other than rights owned by the acquiring person that have become void) in whole or in part, at an exchange ratio of one share of UAL common stock per outstanding right, subject to adjustment. Except as provided in the Plan, the Board is entitled to redeem the rights at $0.001 per right.

If a person or group beneficially owns 4.9% or more of the outstanding shares of UAL common stock prior to today's announcement of the Plan, then that person's or group's existing ownership percentage will be grandfathered. However, grandfathered shareholders will generally not be permitted to acquire any additional shares. 

Additional information regarding the Plan will be contained in a Current Report on Form 8-K to be filed by UAL with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Sidley Austin LLP is acting as legal counsel to UAL.

About United

United's shared purpose is "Connecting People. Uniting the World." For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter and Instagram or connect on Facebook. The common stock of UAL is traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol "UAL".

 

SOURCE United Airlines

For further information: United Airlines Worldwide Media Relations, 872.825.8640, media.relations@united.com