United Airlines reaches 2020 adjusted earnings per share target one year ahead of schedule

United Airlines (UAL) has announced it reached its 2020 goal — first announced in January 2018 — to achieve adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) target2 of $11 to $13 a full year ahead of schedule. The company also achieved full year pre-tax margin growth of 2.6 points, which is expected to outpace its largest competitors for 2019.

  • Reported fourth quarter net income of $641 million, diluted EPS of $2.53, up 50% versus the fourth quarter of 2018, pre-tax earnings of $844 million and pre-tax margin of 7.8 percent, expanding pre-tax margin 2.5 points versus the fourth quarter of 2018.
  • Reported fourth quarter adjusted net income of $676 million, adjusted diluted EPS of $2.67, up 11% versus the fourth quarter of 2018, adjusted pre-tax earnings of $889 million and adjusted pre-tax margin of 8.2 percent, expanding adjusted pre-tax margin 0.5 points versus the fourth quarter of 2018.1
  • Reported full year net income of $3.0 billion, diluted EPS of $11.58, up 51% versus full year 2018, pre-tax earnings of $3.9 billion and pre-tax margin of 9.0 percent, expanding pre-tax margin 2.6 points versus full year 2018.
  • Reported full year adjusted net income of $3.1 billion, adjusted diluted EPS of $12.05, up 32% versus full year 2018, adjusted pre-tax earnings of $4.1 billion and adjusted pre-tax margin of 9.4 percent, expanding adjusted pre-tax margin 1.7 points versus full year 2018.1
  • Consolidated fourth quarter passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) increased 0.8 percent year-over-year.
  • Consolidated fourth quarter unit cost per available seat mile (CASM) decreased 1.3 percent year-over-year and consolidated full year unit cost per available seat mile (CASM) decreased 1.2 percent year-over-year.
  • Consolidated fourth quarter CASM, excluding special charges, third party business expenses, fuel and profit sharing, increased 2.7 percent year-over-year. Consolidated full year CASM, excluding special charges, third-party business expenses, fuel and profit sharing, increased 1.0 percent year-over-year.
  • Repurchased $216 million of its common shares in the fourth quarter of 2019, at an average purchase price of $88.95 per share, bringing share repurchases for full year 2019 to $1.6 billion.

“2019 was a great year for our United team — highlighted by achieving our $11 to $13adjusted EPS target a full year ahead of schedule,” said Oscar Munoz, CEO of United Airlines. “With a four-quarter streak of expanding profit margins, when all the results are in we expect our full year 2019 pre-tax margin growth to be the highest amongst our largest competitors. When I look at United’s fundamental strength, I could not be prouder of what we’ve accomplished in such a short time. This is the New United we set out to build more than four years ago. As we embark on a new year and decade, I believe the outlook for United’s future has never been brighter.”

1 Excludes special charges, unrealized gains and losses on investments and imputed interest on certain finance leases. Reconciliations of non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measures are included in the tables accompanying this release.
2 Excludes special charges and unrealized gains and losses on investments, the nature of which are not determined at this time. Accordingly, UAL does not provide earnings guidance on a GAAP basis.

For more information on UAL’s first quarter and full year 2020 guidance, please visit ir.united.com for the company’s investor update.

2019 Highlights

Operations and Employees

  • Flew most revenue passengers in company history.
  • Set new company record for most mainline departures with nearly 800,000 departures.
  • Number one in on-time departures at all hubs with direct competitors — Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles.
  • Hosted Backstage 2019, which brought all 25,000 flight attendants to Chicago for an event which was designed to underscore the important role flight attendants play in delivering great service.
  • Profit sharing for 2019 was on average 45 percent higher per participating employee year-over-year.
  • Launched Aviate, a new pilot recruiting and development program and career website to establish a more structured career path to becoming a United pilot.
  • Hired nearly 9,000 aviation professionals in well paying careers with great benefits in 2019.

Customer Experience

  • Introduced ConnectionSaver, a new tool dedicated to improving the experience for customers connecting from one United flight to the next, saving nearly 100,000 connections to be made in 2019.
  • 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.
  • Announced MileagePlus award miles never expire, giving members a lifetime to use miles on flights, experiences, hotels and more.
  • Announced free live DIRECTV on 211 Boeing 737 United aircraft equipped with seat back TV, providing more than 100 channels of live television.
  • Introduced a re-imagined mobile app to customers featuring a more dynamic experience that updates customers at each step of their travel journey.
  • Customers are now provided three inflight snack options on domestic flights regardless of departure time, including the Stroopwafel.
  • MileagePlus members between the ages of 18 to 22 received a discount on domestic flights when booked through the United mobile app through the end of 2019.
  • Opened the fifth of its award-winning United Polaris Lounges at Los AngelesInternational Airport.
  • Opened three new United Clubs at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, LaGuardia Airport and Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
  • Announced the addition of more than 1,600 United Polaris® business class and United First seats to nearly 250 international and domestic aircraft.
  • Began flight operations at LaGuardia Airport’s new Terminal B Eastern Concourse.
  • Customers can now pre-pay for bags as soon as their ticket is issued. Previously customers had to wait until check-in to pay for their bags.
  • Announced partnership with CLEAR which includes a free or discounted CLEAR membership for U.S.-based MileagePlus members.

Network

  • Announced a total of nine new international routes and two new expanded routes beginning in 2020, including four new daily nonstop flights to Tokyo Haneda Airport.
  • Strengthened the domestic route network with 69 new routes including launching 54 new routes and announcing 15 routes beginning in 2020.
  • Launched 11 new international routes in 2019, including direct flights from Newark Liberty International Airport to Cape Town, South Africa; Prague, Czech Republic; and Naples, Italy.

1st 787-10 Dreamliner in new livery, delivered December 30, 2019

Above Copyright Photo: United Airlines Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner N14011 (msn 40934) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 948822.

Fleet

  • Took delivery of 49 aircraft in 2019, including eight Boeing 787-10 aircraft, becoming the first carrier in the world to operate all three Dreamliner models.
  • Signed agreements to purchase 50 Airbus A321 XLR, 20 used Boeing 737-700 aircraft and 20 Embraer E175 aircraft operated by our regional partners.
  • Introduced a brand new and revolutionary regional flying experience with the addition of the two-cabin, 50-seat Bombardier CRJ 550 aircraft.
  • Unveiled next paint design, which brings a refreshed look to its fleet, serving as a visual representation of the airline’s ongoing brand evolution.
  • Launched Boeing 767-300ER ultra-premium United Polaris business class configuration on all flights between New York/Newark and Chicago to LondonHeathrow.

Community and Environment

  • Launched Miles on a Mission, a first-of-its-kind crowdsourcing platform which gives customers a simple way to donate miles to non-profit organizations and charities in need of air travel.
  • Pledged on Giving Tuesday to match up to 10 million MileagePlus miles to featured Miles on a Mission partners.
  • Committed $40 million toward a new investment initiative focused on accelerating the development of sustainable aviation fuels and other decarbonization technologies.
  • Made history with the departure of the “Flight for the Planet,” the most eco-friendly commercial flight of its kind in the history of aviation.
  • Renewed contract with Boston-based World Energy to purchase up to 10 million gallons of cost-competitive, commercial-scale, sustainable aviation biofuel.
  • Launched Her Art Here, a contest where two women artists were chosen to have their work painted on California– and New York/New Jersey-themed Boeing 757s to uplift underrepresented women artists.
  • Celebrated Women in Aviation International’s annual Girls in Aviation Day by hosting more than 500 girls in 14 locations around the world.
  • Became the first public company to be inducted into Pride Live’s Stonewall Ambassador program in recognition of the airline’s commitment to LGBTQ+ equality.
  • Reached a milestone of 1 million meals packed for charity partner Rise Against Hunger.
  • Donated $1 million to Feeding America’s Shutdown Response Fund to directly support the food banks providing food for families of federal workers.

United Airlines aircraft photo gallery (Boeing):