United Airlines today announced that it expects to have total available liquidity of approximately $17 billion at the end of the third quarter of 2020. This dollar amount reflects committed financing of $5 billion to be secured by the airline’s loyalty program, MileagePlus, that allows the airline to continue to operate, evolve, and grow the program, as well as $4.5 billion expected to be available to United through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) Loan Program. The company believes it has sufficient slots, gates and routes collateral available to meet the collateral coverage that may be required for the full $4.5 billion available to the company under the Loan Program. This $9.5 billion of additional liquidity will provide even more flexibility as the airline navigates the most disruptive financial crisis in the history of aviation.
Given the impact COVID-19 has had on travel demand, United has spent the past several months aggressively and proactively cutting costs. The airline has already reduced planned capital expenditures and operating and vendor expenditures, suspended raises and implemented an unpaid time off program for management and administrative employees, put a freeze on hiring, introduced voluntary leave and separation programs, reduced pay for all executives and cut its CEO and President’s base salaries by 100%, among other cost-saving measures. United expects an average cash burn of approximately $40 million per day in the second quarter of 2020 and to reduce its average cash burn to approximately $30 million per day in the third quarter of 2020.
Meanwhile from CNN:
Goldman Sachs Lending Partners LLC, Barclays Bank PLC and Morgan Stanley Senior Funding, Inc. have committed to provide, and have agreed to arrange the syndication of, the MileagePlus financing through a term loan facility, which is expected to close, subject to standard conditions precedent, by the end of July 2020. Goldman Sachs Lending Partners LLC will act as the sole structuring agent and lead left arranger for the transaction.
MileagePlus has more than 100 million members, over 100 program partners, and is an essential asset for United. The program has historically generated material and stable revenues and free cash flows, drives customer retention, and increases customer lifetime value. United continues to invest in making MileagePlus the top loyalty program for its members. Last year the airline announced that MileagePlus miles never expire and announced a partnership with CLEAR to offer free and discounted memberships to MileagePlus members. United also introduced PlusPoints, a new industry-leading upgrade benefit for Premier members.
Will it be enough?