United Airlines reports its first quarter financial results, will introduce its new livery on April 24

United Airlines (UAL) has announced that a combination of strong top-line revenue performance and effective cost management led to first quarter pre-tax margin growth that is expected to lead its peers. The company remains confident that it will deliver on its long-term adjusted diluted earnings per share2 (EPS) targets of $10 to $12 in 2019 and $11 to $13 in 2020.

Image: United Airlines

  • Reported first quarter net income of $292 million, diluted EPS of $1.09, pre-tax earnings of $367 million and pre-tax margin of 3.8 percent, expanding pre-tax margin 1.8 points versus the first quarter of 2018.
  • Reported first quarter adjusted net income of $309 million, adjusted diluted EPS of $1.15, adjusted pre-tax earnings of $389 million, adjusted pre-tax margin of 4.1 percent, expanding adjusted pre-tax margin 2.1 points versus the first quarter of 2018.1
  • Total passenger revenue increased 7.1 percent versus the first quarter of 2018.
  • First quarter passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) increased 1.1 percent year-over-year.
  • Consolidated first-quarter unit cost per available seat mile (CASM) decreased 2.1 percent year-over-year.
  • Consolidated first-quarter CASM, excluding special charges, third-party business expenses, fuel and profit sharing, decreased 1.8 percent year-over-year.
  • Repurchased $527 million of its common shares in the first-quarter of 2019, at an average purchase price of $83.68 per share.
  • For the second consecutive quarter the airline reported adjusted pre-tax margin expansion.

“We delivered another strong financial quarter in which we made important progress on our customer investments while making strategic decisions to manage our costs and producing pre-tax margin growth that we expect will lead our peers,” said Oscar Munoz, chief executive officer of United Airlines. “That’s why we are more confident than ever that we’ll reach our long-term adjusted EPS targets we unveiled last year. I want to thank all 93,000 of our employees for their incredible work as we overcame some unique challenges and refocused our efforts in 2019 toward elevating the United experience for our customers.”

First-Quarter 2019 Highlights

Operations and Employees

  • Flew the most revenue passengers ever for a first quarter in company history.
  • Despite a weather-challenged first quarter, achieved second-highest mainline on-time departures rate performance versus the major U.S. airlines.
  • Launched Backstage 2019 which will bring all 25,000 flight attendants to Chicago for an event which will help us elevate the way customers feel about their United experience.
  • Earned 100 percent score on Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s annual scorecard on LGBTQ workplace equality.
  • Broke ground on a state-of-the-art Technical Operations Center at Los Angeles International Airport that will enable the airline to provide exceptional service for all of its aircraft fleets.
  • Announced headquarters will remain at the iconic Willis Tower in the airline’s hometown of Chicago, while making investments to completely transform the current workspace and experience.

Customer Experience

  • Introduced a re-imagined mobile app to customers around the world featuring a more dynamic experience that updates customers at each step of their travel journey while adding enhancements that make managing travel easier.
  • Announced free live DIRECTV on 211 Boeing 737 United aircraft equipped with seat back TV, providing more than 100 channels of live television.
  • Introduced the relaunch of the United MileagePlus X app, which offers United MileagePlus® members a unique opportunity to earn award miles for everyday purchases.
  • Opened the fifth of its award-winning United Polaris Lounges at Los Angeles International Airport.
  • Opened a brand-new 5,000-square-foot United Club at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport – the first of four new United Club locations set to open in 2019.
  • Announced next step in airline’s commitment to making customers more comfortable by adding more than 1,600 United Polaris® business class and United First seats to nearly 250 international and domestic aircraft.
  • Launched new state-of-the-art United Meetings product, available on the airline’s business portal, United Jetstream, which makes managing travel and redeeming rewards for meetings and events quicker and more streamlined.
  • Became the first U.S. airline to offer non-binary gender options throughout all booking channels in addition to providing the option to select the title “Mx.” during booking and in a MileagePlus customer profile, providing customers the ability to identify themselves corresponding with what is indicated on their passports or identification.

Network

  • Began new service from four hubs to 18 cities in 12 states and one province and launched new nonstop seasonal service between San Francisco and Amsterdam.
  • Announced 11 new domestic routes.
  • Filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation for a total of six daily nonstop flights to Tokyo Haneda Airport from six of the airline’s hubs.

Fleet

  • Announced a brand new and revolutionary regional flying experience with the addition of the two-cabin, 50-seat Bombardier CRJ550 aircraft, offering customers on key regional routes more legroom, storage and amenities than any other 50-seat regional aircraft operating today.
  • Became first carrier in the world to operate all three Dreamliner models as its first 787-10 began regular service in January from Los Angeles International Airport to Newark Liberty International Airport.
  • Took delivery of four Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft (prior to the March 13, 2019 Federal Aviation Administration order grounding U.S.-registered 737 MAX aircraft) and four Boeing 787-10 aircraft.

Community and Environment

  • Donated $1 million to Feeding America’s Shutdown Response Fund to directly support the food banks providing food for families of federal workers.
  • Launched Her Art Here, a first-of-its-kind contest designed to find and uplift underrepresented women artists by providing a chance to paint a canvas like no other – a United Airlines aircraft.

In related news, United has removed its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft through at least early July 2019.

The company is expected to unveil its updated new livery in Chicago on April 24.

“Rhapsody Blue,” in honor of the historic Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” music, is expected to survive along with a lighter “United Blue” and an even lighter “Sky Blue,” as well as a “Premium Purple”.

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