United Airlines (Chicago) reported third-quarter 2013 net income of $590 million, an increase of 13.5 percent year-over-year, or $1.51 per diluted share, excluding $211 million of special charges. Including special charges, UAL reported third-quarter 2013 net income of $379 million, or $0.98 per diluted share.
- UAL generated $10.2 billion of revenue in the third quarter of 2013.
- United’s consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) increased 2.7 percent in the third quarter compared to the third quarter of 2012.
- Third-quarter consolidated unit costs (CASM), holding fuel rate and profit sharing constant and excluding special charges and third-party business expense, increased 3.6 percent year-over-year on a consolidated capacity (available seat miles) reduction of 1.1 percent. Third-quarter consolidated CASM increased 1.2 percent year-over-year.
- United’s third-quarter consolidated fuel efficiency (gallons per available seat mile) improved 1.1 percent year-over-year, due primarily to replacing older aircraft with highly efficient new Boeing 737-900ERs and Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
- UAL ended the third quarter with $6.7 billion in unrestricted liquidity.
“We have significantly improved our operations, customer service and product, and are now competitive on all those dimensions. I want to thank my co-workers as we work together to deliver on our promise of making United flyer friendly,” said Jeff Smisek, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “However, we are not satisfied with our financial performance, and are taking prompt actions to increase our revenue and operate more efficiently across the company.”
Third-Quarter Revenue and Capacity
For the third quarter, total revenue was $10.2 billion, an increase of 3.2 percent compared to the same period in 2012. Third-quarter consolidated passenger revenue increased 1.6 percent year-over-year to $8.9 billion, on a consolidated capacity decrease of 1.1 percent year-over-year. Other revenue in the third quarter increased 25.0 percent year-over-year to $1.1 billion and third-quarter cargo revenue decreased 19.1 percent versus the third quarter of 2012 to $199 million.
Consolidated revenue passenger miles (RPMs) decreased 0.3 percent on a consolidated capacity decrease of 1.1 percent year-over-year, resulting in a consolidated load factor of 85.9 percent in the third quarter.
Third-quarter consolidated PRASM increased 2.7 percent compared to the same period in 2012. Consolidated yield for the third quarter increased 1.9 percent year-over-year.
“This quarter my co-workers consistently delivered solid operational performance, and our customer satisfaction scores continue to rise,” said Jim Compton, UAL’s vice chairman and chief revenue officer. “We are, however, disappointed by the pace of our revenue improvements, and we are taking numerous actions to improve our performance to more swiftly realize our full revenue potential.”
Third-quarter passenger revenue and period-to-period comparisons of related statistics for UAL’s mainline and regional operations are as follows:
|3Q 2013 Passenger
Total operating expenses increased $11 million, or 0.1 percent, in the third quarter versus the same period in 2012. Excluding special charges, third-quarter total operating expenses increased $314 million, or 3.4 percent, year-over-year.
Third-quarter consolidated CASM increased 1.2 percent year-over-year. Third-quarter consolidated CASM, excluding special charges and third-party business expense, increased 2.9 percent compared to third-quarter 2012. Third-party business expense was $205 million in the third quarter of 2013.
In the third quarter, consolidated CASM, excluding special charges and third-party business expense and holding fuel rate and profit sharing constant, increased 3.6 percent compared to the third quarter of 2012.
“We are committed to operating more efficiently across all aspects of our business,” said John Rainey, UAL’s executive vice president and chief financial officer. “We continue to improve our balance sheet and to make return-driven investments in our business, both of which are critical to creating long-term economic value for our stakeholders.”
Liquidity and Cash Flow
UAL ended the third quarter with $6.7 billion in unrestricted liquidity, including $1.0 billion of undrawn commitments under its revolving credit facility. During the third quarter, UAL generated $237 million of operating cash flow. The company’s gross capital expenditures and purchase deposits for the quarter were $598 million, and the company made debt and capital lease principal payments of $253 million in the third quarter.
Third-Quarter 2013 Accomplishments
Operations, Co-workers and Customer Service
- United Airlines reported a third-quarter mainline on-time arrival rate (domestic and international) of 78.9 percent. The on-time arrival rate is based on flights arriving within 14 minutes of scheduled arrival time. United co-workers earned cash-incentive payments of $9 million for on-time performance during the third quarter.
- The company reached tentative agreements on new joint collective bargaining agreements with the International Association of Machinists (IAM) for the more than 28,000 fleet service, passenger service and storekeeper employees.
- United’s pilots established an integrated seniority list, and United announced it offered recall to nearly 600 pilots currently on furlough to address the airline’s future staffing needs.
- United neared completion of its comprehensive customer service training program for all customer-facing co-workers worldwide with more than 90 percent of mainline and United Express flight attendants, airport agents and reservation agents trained through the third quarter.
Network, Fleet and Sustainability
- In the third quarter, the company announced it is expanding its leading worldwide route network and will launch future nonstop service from San Francisco to Chengdu, China, the fourth-largest Chinese city, and from Chicago to Edinburgh, Scotland, beginning in June 2014. This quarter, United launched new nonstop service to St. Lucia, as well as additional nonstop service to Anchorage, Alaska; Austin, Texas; Traverse City, Mich.; and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. The company also announced it is adding three other cities to its network: Elmira, N.Y., Topeka, Kan.; and Sun Valley, Idaho, as well as additional service to Fort Myers, Fla.; Hayden, Colo.; Indianapolis; and State College, Pa.
- The company took delivery of seven new highly efficient aircraft, including six Boeing 737-900 ERs and one Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and removed from service seven Boeing 757-200s.
- A United Boeing 737-800 aircraft retrofitted with the new Split Scimitar Winglet began test flights. United is the North American launch customer for the Next-Generation 737 advanced winglet that improves the efficiency of the company’s 737 fleet by approximately 2 percent while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions, and the company will begin installing the new winglets across its 737 fleet by year end.
- United was named the Eco-Aviation “Airline of the Year” Gold Winner by Air Transport World (ATW) magazine.
Product, Loyalty Program and Facilities
- United debuted its new brand campaign, featuring its iconic “Fly the Friendly Skies” tagline, reinterpreted for today’s travelers. The new campaign explains United’s commitment to being “user-friendly,” which to customers today means the combination of service, technology and product enhancements.
- The company continued outfitting aircraft with global satellite Wi-Fi across its entire mainline fleet, offering inflight connectivity on long-haul international flights. The airline now has more than 115 Wi-Fi-equipped aircraft and is outfitting about one aircraft per day with global satellite Wi-Fi.
- The airline expanded its offering of live television to more than 200 aircraft, offering customers more than 100 channels of live programming while in-flight. United operates more live television-equipped aircraft than any other airline in the world.
- United released refreshed applications for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry 10 that include streamlined user interfaces along with a new feature that enables customers to manage their travel in real time if a flight delay or cancellation should occur.
- United continued retrofitting its p.s. (Premium Service) transcontinental aircraft that fly from New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco. The airline already has retrofitted 12 of its 15 p.s. aircraft with the latest cabin interiors, premium-cabin flat-bed seats, and personal on-demand entertainment and Wi-Fi throughout the aircraft.
- United debuted its Choice Menu “Bistro on Board” featuring new fresh food menu options available for sale to Economy customers on flights longer than three-and-a-half hours within North America and to and from Central America. United is providing customers innovative selections made with high-quality ingredients that will change seasonally.
- United MileagePlus and Marriott Rewards® joined forces to provide their most loyal members with unprecedented travel benefits. Through the RewardsPlus program, United customers who are Premier Gold MileagePlus members or above can enjoy Marriott Gold Elite status and benefits. The program also offers Marriott Rewards Platinum Elite members MileagePlus Premier Silver status.
- The company teamed up with Mercedes-Benz USA to provide innovative new benefits exclusively to United’s most frequent flyers seeking a luxury driving experience. MileagePlus Premier members receive incentives and 25,000 bonus miles when purchasing or leasing certain new Mercedes-Benz vehicles. In addition, United and Mercedes partnered to offer United’s Global Services customers tarmac transfer service at the airline’s Chicago and Houston hubs.
- The company opened its new United Club lounge in Terminal 2 at San Diego International Airport, the third club to feature the airline’s new design concept.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. United is gradually phasing out its older Boeing 757-200s with seven retired in this quarter alone. Ex-Continental Boeing 757-224 WL N17122 (msn 27564) departs from Los Angeles.