Author Archives: Bruce Drum

About Bruce Drum

I have started the ultimate digital photo library of the fascinating world of airliners and airlines. The goal is to have the complete history of all airlines and the various aircraft operated. I have been photographing airplanes since 1965. Join us in this adventure.

British Airways announces new senior hires as it looks to boost its recovery from the global pandemic

Stuart Bailey / British Airways

British Airways has appointed four new leaders to its Management Committee as the airline accelerates its recovery and the delivery of its new business strategy following the most challenging period in its history.

Calum Laming becomes the airline’s Director of Business Recovery, leading its mission to rebuild its global network, resources and operations following the pandemic and ensuring the business has the resilience and agility needed in a dramatically changed aviation landscape for the years ahead. Calum is currently Chief Customer Officer at Vueling – the Barcelona-based IAG airline – and has previously held a variety of customer, brand, product and marketing roles at Virgin Atlantic, Air New Zealand and Etihad Airways.

Michelle Lydon has been appointed as Chief People Officer. She will shortly join British Airways from QinetiQ – global experts in defence, aerospace and security – where she was the company’s Group Human Resources Director. In her role at British Airways, Michelle will oversee the airline’s strategy for people and people transformation, learning and development, reward, strategic resourcing, recruitment, employee and industrial relations.

During the pandemic, Colm Lacy and Tom Stevens stepped up on an interim basis to the roles of Chief Commercial Officer and Director of Brand and Customer Experience respectively. Both have now been confirmed in their positions. Colm started working for British Airways in 1997 as a Finance Analyst, since then holding a number of finance and commercial positions. Tom joined British Airways on the graduate scheme in 2011, initially working in the procurement team before moving to customer and operational roles. Both have been on the Management Committee since 2021 and will continue to lead the airline’s digital-first, customer-centric strategy to ensure the airline delivers for its customers as it moves out of the pandemic.

Announcing the appointments, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO Sean Doyle, said: “I’m incredibly pleased to welcome Calum and Michelle to British Airways and confirm Colm and Tom in their roles to help us deliver our new vision for the business.

As we recover from the global pandemic, there’s never been a more important time to have a determined, ambitious and supportive leadership team that will put our people and our customers at the heart of everything we do. There’s a lot of work to do but we’re on our way and I’m confident we can create a working culture that allows our people to thrive, deliver excellent customer service and look to a sustainable future while always continuing to do what we do best – connecting Britain with the world and the world with Britain.”

Michelle Lydon starts her new role with British Airways in February, with Calum Laming joining in April.

Historic Photo: Lloyd International Airways Boeing 707-321 G-AYAG (msn 18085) LAX (Christian Volpati Collection). Image: 956555.

Ex N759PA, delivered on March 25, 1970

Copyright Photo: Lloyd International Airways Boeing 707-321 G-AYAG (msn 18085) LAX (Christian Volpati Collection). Image: 956555.

Atlas Air extends long-term agreement with SF Group

SF Airlines Boeing 747-4EVF ER B-2422 (msn 35173) LGG (Ton Jochems). Image: 951326.

Atlas Air, Inc., a subsidiary of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc., today announced the extension of a long-term aircraft transportation services agreement to operate a Boeing 747-400 Freighter for SF Group (SF Airlines), China’s leading express service provider, between China and the United States.

The agreement, which has been in place since 2018, enhances the operating capability of SF and extends its fast-growing global network.

SF, based in Shenzhen, Guangdong, is one of the world’s largest express providers and one of China’s leading couriers.

Top Copyright Photo: SF Airlines Boeing 747-4EVF ER B-2422 (msn 35173) LGG (Ton Jochems). Image: 951326.

SF Airlines aircraft slide show:

SF Airlines aircraft photo gallery:

American Airlines reports fourth quarter and full-year 2021 financial results

American Airlines Group Inc. today reported its fourth-quarter and full-year 2021 financial results, including:

  • Fourth-quarter revenue of $9.4 billion, down 17% versus the same period in 2019 on a 13% reduction in total available seat miles (ASMs) versus the same period in 2019.
  • Fourth-quarter net loss of $931 million, or ($1.44) per share. Excluding net special items1, fourth-quarter net loss was $921 million, or ($1.42) per share.
  • Full-year net loss of $2.0 billion, or ($3.09) per share. Excluding net special items2, full-year net loss was $5.4 billion, or ($8.38) per share.
  • Safely transported more than 165 million passengers in 2021, more than any other U.S. carrier.
  • Ended the fourth quarter with $15.8 billion of total available liquidity, the highest year-end liquidity balance in company history.

“As we close out the second year of operating in a global pandemic, we are incredibly proud of the American Airlines team,” said American’s Chairman and CEO Doug Parker. “Over the past year, we have experienced periods of high travel demand countered by periods of decreased demand due to new COVID-19 variants. This volatility has created the most challenging planning environment in the history of commercial aviation. Yet the American team has delivered, growing back faster and further than any other U.S. airline to meet this unpredictable demand. Looking ahead, I’m excited about the future of American with Robert Isom as its new CEO. While we still have work to do as the recovery from the pandemic continues, I have no doubt the best is yet to come for American.”

For the full-year 2021, American achieved its best performance in on-time arrivals, on-time departures and completion factor since the pandemic, despite flying significantly more than any other airline. American’s relative operating performance was particularly strong during the important year-end holiday period. The company’s on-time performance in December was better than any December in years prior to the pandemic, and American performed better than its primary competitors in these operational metrics during the month. These results were achieved despite an increase in sick calls toward the end of the year due to the omicron variant.

“We’re very proud of the way our team delivered throughout 2021,” said American’s President and incoming CEO Robert Isom. “Looking forward, our focus in 2022 will be to continue running a reliable airline, returning to profitability, and delivering on our long-term plan to deleverage the balance sheet.”

American is committed to strengthening its business and achieving profitability by focusing on its three strategic objectives: Create a world-class customer experience, make culture a competitive advantage and build American to thrive forever.

To create a world-class customer experience, American:

  • Expanded its Northeast Alliance (NEA) with JetBlue to provide members of the AAdvantage® and TrueBlue Mosaic loyalty programs with reciprocal elite benefits when traveling on either airline. Customers will experience even more benefits from the NEA this year, including the most flight choices in dozens of markets from New York and Boston, lie-flat seats on all transcontinental routes and a robust international network.
  • Introduced a redesign of the AAdvantage loyalty program, effective in 2022, that removes complicated elite qualifying metrics in favor of an easy-to-understand point system that provides members with multiple ways to earn status. Starting this year, AAdvantage members can earn status by flying, using an AAdvantage credit card for purchases, or spending with an AAdvantage partner.
  • Announced plans to build a new 15,000+-square-foot Admirals Club in Austin, Texas (AUS). The lounge will seat more than 250 customers, making it the largest airport lounge in Austin. Construction will begin this year.
  • Was recognized with the prestigious Five Star rating in The APEX Official Airline Ratings™, Global Airline category, for the fourth consecutive year. The award is based on customer feedback on the overall travel experience.
  • Announced new service between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Doha, Qatar (DOH), which will launch this summer as part of its deepening relationship with Qatar Airways.

To make culture a competitive advantage, American:

  • Celebrated the opening of its Robert L. Crandall Campus in Fort Worth, Texas. Team members from across the system attended with their families and friends and joined a ribbon-cutting ceremony with American’s retired Chairman and CEO Bob Crandall.
  • Welcomed its first flight attendant graduating class since the start of the pandemic. These new flight attendants waited more than 600 days to officially join the airline.
  • Worked to ensure its team members are vaccinated against COVID-19. More than 97% of American’s team members have submitted proof of vaccination or a request for a medical or religious accommodation.

To build American to thrive forever, American:

  • Announced its leadership succession plan in early December. Doug Parker will retire as CEO of American on March 31 and will be succeeded by current President Robert Isom. Isom will join American’s board of directors on the same date, and Parker will continue to serve as chairman of the board. American also announced the senior leadership team that will report to Isom when he becomes CEO.
  • Ended the fourth quarter with $15.8 billion of total available liquidity.
  • Was included in the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index for the first time, the only passenger airline to be included. The recognition is a testament to the airline’s ongoing commitment to excellence in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) matters, including reducing carbon emissions from its operations; advancing diversity, equity and inclusion; and providing regular and transparent ESG disclosures.
  • Finalized a new sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) offtake agreement with Aemetis. The agreement brings the airline’s total SAF commitment to more than 120 million gallons over the next decade, a signal of the integral role SAF will play in American’s efforts to reduce its carbon emissions and achieve its ambitious sustainability goals.
  • Announced that its board of directors has adopted a tax benefit preservation plan to help preserve the value of its net operating losses and other tax attributes. The company estimates that it has $17.2 billion in cumulative U.S. federal net operating loss carryforwards, which are available to reduce future U.S. corporate income tax liabilities.

Guidance and investor update

American will continue to match its forward capacity with observed bookings trends. Based on current trends, the company expects its first-quarter capacity to be down approximately 8% to 10% compared to the first quarter of 2019. American expects its first-quarter total revenue to be down approximately 20% to 22% versus the first quarter of 2019.

For additional financial forecasting detail, please refer to the company’s investor update, filed with this press release with the SEC on Form 8-K. This filing will also be available at aa.com/investorrelations.

Conference call and webcast details

The company will conduct a live audio webcast of its financial results conference call at 7:30 a.m. CST today. The call will be available to the public on a listen-only basis at aa.com/investorrelations. An archive of the webcast will be available on the website through at least Feb. 20.

 

Notes

See the accompanying notes in the Financial Tables section of this press release for further explanation, including a reconciliation of all GAAP to non-GAAP financial information.

1The company recognized approximately $9 million of pre-tax net special items in the fourth quarter of 2021, which principally included $29 million of nonoperating special items primarily for mark-to-market net unrealized losses associated with certain equity investments, offset in part by $20 million of mainline operating net special credits.

2The company recognized $4.4 billion of pre-tax net special items in 2021. Mainline operating special items, net principally included $4.2 billion of Payroll Support Program (PSP) financial assistance, offset in part by $168 million of salary and medical costs primarily associated with certain team members who opted into voluntary early retirement programs offered as a result of reductions to the company’s operation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Regional operating special items, net principally included $539 million of PSP financial assistance, offset in part by a $61 million charge associated with the regional pilot retention program which provides for, among other things, a cash retention bonus paid in the fourth quarter of 2021 to eligible captains at the wholly-owned regional airlines included on the pilot seniority list as of September 1, 2021 and a $27 million non-cash charge to write down regional aircraft resulting from the retirement of the remaining Embraer 140 fleet earlier than planned. The company also recognized $60 million of nonoperating net special items, which principally included mark-to-market net unrealized losses associated with certain equity investments and treasury rate lock derivative instruments as well as non-cash charges associated with debt refinancings and extinguishments.

QANTAS International seeks termination of crew agreement to resolve critical rostering challenge

QANTAS Airways has made this announcement:

Qantas International has applied to the Fair Work Commission to terminate its Long Haul Cabin Crew agreement as a last resort to change restrictive and outdated rostering processes. There are no job losses associated with the proposed termination.

This is the first time in Qantas’ history that it has sought to terminate an enterprise agreement. It follows six months of negotiation with the Flight Attendants’ Association of Australia (FAAA) and other bargaining representatives for a new enterprise agreement that was rejected by both the union and 97 per cent of crew who voted.

The rejected four-year deal included a pay increase and increased allowances. It also sought to simplify complex and historical rostering conditions that meant around 20 per cent of more than 2,500 long haul crew could only be used on a single type of aircraft – which is unworkable as the airline seeks to recover from COVID.

The need for change to rostering processes was recognized by the Fair Work Commission in an earlier decision[1] relating to bargaining for the agreement.

The FAAA’s counter-offer represented a $60 million cost increase over four years – which is also unworkable.

CEO of Qantas International, Andrew David, said: “Asking to terminate the current agreement is the last thing we want, but we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. Our best offer, which incorporated several union demands, was rejected by 97 per cent of crew who voted.

“We’re seeking termination because we can’t effectively run our business without the rostering changes we desperately need to properly restart our international network in a post-COVID world.

“The challenges facing airlines are pretty obvious and, even though we’re flying internationally again, it’s clear that we have to operate in a more agile and flexible way than we did pre-COVID in order to recover and match customer demand. The level of complexity we’re dealing with is huge.

“The FAAA ran a scare campaign against the new deal, claiming it would mean redundancies and offshoring despite the fact that we’re currently hiring new crew in Australia. The union’s default position is that the company can’t be trusted and should always give more. That’s simply wrong.

“Termination of the agreement would see crew revert to the modern award, which is the safety net for the industry, while a new agreement is negotiated. Given both the current agreement and the offer we put on the table have pay and conditions significantly higher than the modern award, we clearly don’t want to cut people’s pay. Unfortunately, the process doesn’t let us pick and choose which bits of the current agreement are terminated in order to get the crucial rostering flexibility we need.

“I know our people will be disappointed that it has come to this and so are we. We’re open to putting the same deal that was rejected back on the table, but that would require a change of heart from a union that has continually misrepresented the facts.

“We have sold land, mortgaged aircraft and raised money from shareholders to get through this pandemic. The government has provided hundreds of millions in direct funding to our employees while they were stood down. We don’t think the flexibility we’re asking from our international crew is unreasonable given the challenges we continue to face,” added Mr David.

The Fair Work Commission is expected to start dealing with the termination application over the coming weeks, with Qantas requesting the hearing be expedited.

Qantas’ international flying is expected to remain at around 20 per cent of pre-COVID levels for the next few months, increasing from April onwards as Omicron-related restrictions ease overseas.

This is the third time the FAAA and Qantas have been before the Commission regarding this round of bargaining.

BACKGROUND ON KEY ROSTERING CHANGE

  • Airlines around the world are switching to far more dynamic schedules, where different aircraft types are used at short notice to deal with spikes in demand for passengers and freight. (For instance, shifting between an A330 and an A380.) This has been a key response to the instability of the past two years and likely represents a permanent shift for the industry.
  • Under the current enterprise agreement, Qantas International crew are limited to working on Airbus A330s only, or on Airbus A380s and Boeing 787s only.
  • The change Qantas seeks would enable all crew to be trained to work across all three wide-body aircraft types. In practical terms, this significantly broadens the different destinations crew can travel to and increases flexibility for both Qantas and its crew.
  • An added complexity of the current agreement is that it has two different rostering systems, which Qantas wants to rationalize to one that already applies to 80 per cent of crew.
  • Overall, these changes would give Qantas more flexibility in how it manages its international operations and competes with airlines that are already doing this.

BACKGROUND ON TERMINATING ENTERPRISE AGREEMENTS

Under Section 226 of the Fair Work Act, the Commission must terminate an expired agreement if it:

  • is satisfied that it is not contrary to the public interest to do so, and
  • the Commission considers that it is appropriate to terminate the agreement taking into account all the circumstances including:
    • the views of the employees, each employer, and each organization (if any), covered by the agreement, and
    • the circumstances of those employees, employers and organizations including the likely effect that the termination will have on each of them.

[1] As part of this decision, Fair Work Commissioner Ryan said, “I accept [Qantas’] evidence regarding Qantas’ position that it requires greater flexibility in [the proposed new agreement] to respond to the uncertainty of international travel”. The same decision found that Qantas had acted in accordance with good faith bargaining in its dealings with the FAAA and employees.

Vueling to add five new routes from London Gatwick

Vueling Airlines (Vueling.com) Airbus A320-271N WL EC-MZT (msn 8181) ZRH (Rolf Wallner). Image: 954764.

Vueling Airlines has announced it will add vive new routes from London (Gatwick) in April.

The carrier will fly from LGW to Seville, Granada, Malaga, La Coruña, and Menorca this summer season.

Vueling will have 12 routes from LGW this summer.

Top Copyright Photo: Vueling Airlines (Vueling.com) Airbus A320-271N WL EC-MZT (msn 8181) ZRH (Rolf Wallner). Image: 954764.

Vueling Airlines aircraft slide show:

Vueling Airlines aircraft photo gallery:

 

Ryanair announces its largest ever Dublin schedule

Ryanair has announced its largest ever summer schedule from Dublin Airport, with 120 destinations and over 900 weekly flights available for its Irish customers this summer.

This record-breaking schedule, which includes fantastic sun getaways to Spain, Portugal, Italy, including Sardinia and Sicily as well as exciting destinations in the Greek islands, Croatia and regional France.  Ryanair will also increase its investment with the basing of a 33rd aircraft at Dublin Airport this summer, representing a further $100m investment and bringing its total investment at Dublin Airport to $3.3 billion. Ryanair also confirmed today that it will create 30 direct jobs as a result of this additional aircraft based in Dublin.

With an additional 22 routes compared with Summer 2019 and over 900 flights departing to over 120 destinations every week, this increased connectivity will delivery much needed inbound tourism while also giving Irish holiday makers an abundance of travel choices to top European destinations like Spain, Italy, Greece, Croatia and Portugal.

After 2 years of stop\start ineffective travel restrictions, the daa have finally been given the tools to incentivise travel with its Traffic Recovery Support Scheme (TRSS) which was recommended by the Aviation Task Force in their report of July 2020.

This investment by Ryanair in its largest ever Dublin schedule is a direct result of the recently launched Traffic Recovery Scheme by the daa. With many airlines cutting capacity and routes this summer, Ireland must lower access costs as it competes with regions and airports in other EU countries for a diminished pool of airline carriers in Europe which will shrink total short haul seats in Europe by up to 15% this summer.

Ryanair is the only airline in Europe adding capacity in significant volume with the delivery of 67 new Gamechanger Aircraft (delivering -40% noise emissions, -16% fuel emissions, +4% seats) before the start of summer 2022. If Ireland is to hold on to this capacity and connectivity then the TRSS scheme must at a minimum be extended by the Government into the winter ‘22/23 season to ensure that Irish inbound tourism, particularly post summer, secures the capacity, connectivity and tourists which are vital to the growth of the Irish economy.

Avelo Airlines to increase its pilots compensation

Avelo Airlines today announced it is bolstering pilot compensation to attract and retain world class aviators — elevating first-year pay by nearly 50% for Captains and by nearly 30% for First Officers. The enhanced pay scale offers the highest first-year Captain and First Officer pay rates in the Ultra-Low-Cost Carrier (ULCC) and regional carrier sectors of the U.S. airline industry.

Avelo expects to add an additional 120 pilots in 2022. In addition to hiring First Officers, for a limited time qualified pilots may be immediately hired as Captains.

“We’re committed to attracting and retaining the industry’s best pilots,” said Avelo Chairman and CEO Andrew Levy. “In addition to our enhanced pay scale, Avelo supports quality of life initiatives such as an additional $1,800 per month to help offset the cost of commuting. And, if a pilot chooses to live in base, they’ll keep the $1,800 per month.”

The first-year Captain hourly pay rate increases from $135 to $200. Under the new scale, at five years of service Avelo Captains will earn $220 per hour. The first-year hourly pay rate for First Officers increases from $70 to $90 with an hourly rate of $140 at five years of service.

Year

Captain

First Officer

1

$200

$90

2

$205

$110

3

$210

$120

4

$215

$130

5

$220

$140

The new pay scale is effective February 1, 2022, for current and future Avelo pilots.

In addition to increasing the pilot pay scale, the airline is offering a $20,000 sign-on bonus to new pilots hired before June 1, 2022. An initial $5,000 is paid after the pilot completes their orientation trips and the remaining $15,000 is paid at the completion of their first year with the company. The bonus is available to Captains and First Officers.

Additional benefits include:

  • $1,800 virtual base stipend (paid monthly upon completion of orientation trips) to offset commuting costs — paid to all pilots whether they commute or live in base
  • For pilots who prefer to sleep at home every night – all scheduled Avelo flights start and return to their base each day
  • Training pay of $6,300 per month (min guarantee at year-one First Officer rate)
  • Training hotel is provided by Avelo
  • Initial uniform and ongoing uniform allowance
  • Full Cockpit Access Security System (CASS), Known Crewmember (KCM) program and jump seat agreements
  • Premium pay of 125% of base hourly rate paid to pilots working over 75 block hours per month
  • Day off flying is paid at 125% of base hourly rate on top of guarantee
  • Guarantee 70 hours per month
  • $2.25 per diem
  • High seniority from day one
  • Quick upgrade to Captain for pilots meeting the qualification of 14 CFR 121.436
  • 401K retirement program
  • Company-subsidized health, vision and dental coverage
  • Meaningful profit-sharing when Avelo meets initial profitability threshold

At basic guarantee, new pilots in their first year will earn $209,600 for a Captain and $117,200 for a First Officer (includes sign-on bonus and virtual base stipend). Avelo is accepting applications for Captains and First Officers at aveloair.com/careers.

“At Avelo Airlines, pilots hire pilots,” said Avelo Chief Operating Officer Captain Greg Baden. “We encourage pilots at any stage in their professional career to apply.”

Avelo Aircraft and Bases

Avelo currently operates six Boeing Next-Generation (NG) 737 mainline jetliners. Three 147-seat 737-700s operate between Avelo’s East Coast base at Southern Connecticut’s Tweed-New Haven Airport (HVN) and six Florida destinations. Additionally, three 189-seat 737-800s operate between Avelo’s West Coast base at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR) and 10 destinations in the Western U.S.

Avelo has commitments for nine additional 737 NGs that the airline expects will be delivered by the end of this year – expanding Avelo’s fleet to 15 aircraft. With the arrival of these additional aircraft, Avelo anticipates serving at least 40 destinations across the U.S. by the end of 2022 and establishing more bases in the future.

Strong Financial Backing and Experienced Leadership
Earlier this month, Avelo announced it raised $42 million in Series B funding — including a $30 million investment by Morgan Stanley Tactical Value. This second-round offering increased the company’s invested capital base to over $160 million.

Levy added, “This investment strengthened our already healthy balance sheet and is a huge vote of confidence in the opportunity ahead of us. Our exceptional pilots play a critical role in Avelo’s future and we look forward to welcoming many more to the company in the months and years ahead. This is an incredible opportunity to join one of the most exciting airline stories in more than a decade.”

Avelo’s leadership team embodies more than 200 years of collective aviation experience. As co-founder and president of Allegiant Air — one of the nation’s most successful airlines — and former CFO of United Airlines, Levy brings a proven track record of profitably leading airlines from startup to scale. Levy has also served on Copa Airlines’ board of directors since 2016. In addition to Allegiant and United, Avelo’s leadership team includes former senior executives from Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Northwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines and US Airways, including:

  • Captain Greg Baden, Chief Operating Officer: Capt. Baden previously served as VP of Flight Operations at Allegiant, Managing Director of Flying at Delta, and Managing Director of Flight Operations and Chief Pilot at Northwest Orient / Northwest.
  • Captain Andrew Lotter, Head of Flight Operations: Capt. Lotter previously served as Chief Operating Officer at XTRA Airways, Chief Pilot at Republic Holdings and President of Ameriflight.
  • Captain Michael Quiello, Head of Safety, Security and Operational Excellence: Capt. Quiello previously served as VP of Corporate Safety at United Airlines and VP of Corporate Safety, Security and Environment at Delta Air Lines.

United releases its fourth quarter and full-year 2021 financial results

United Airlines issued this financial report for the fourth quarter 2021 and full year 2021:

United Airlines (UAL) today announced fourth quarter and full year 2021 financial results and reiterated confidence in its longer term United Next financial targets. The company achieved every major financial guidance target for the fourth quarter – and set a new Net Promoter Score (NPS) record in 2021 – despite the sharp spike in COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant. Despite near term volatility, bookings for spring travel and beyond remain strong, which is why the Omicron spike has not altered the airline’s confidence in the 2023 and 2026 CASM-ex1 United Next targets announced last year.

The airline starts 2022 with a scaled-back schedule, reflecting the impact of the Omicron spike on demand. However, as the year progresses, United expects to nimbly ramp up capacity by ungrounding 52 Pratt & Whitney-powered Boeing 777-200s, as demand returns, which will yield improvements in the airline’s gauge and aircraft utilization. The airline expects this approach, which continues to prioritize matching capacity to demand, means: 1) the airline will fly fewer available seat miles (ASMs) in 2022 than 2019 and 2) CASM-ex1 will decline significantly over the course of 2022. Most importantly, these 2022 trends will lay the groundwork for successful execution of the multi-year United Next strategy and achievement of the financial targets set for 2023 and beyond.

“The United team has been fighting through unprecedented obstacles to, once again, overcome the new and daunting challenges that COVID-19 is bringing to aviation, and I am grateful to each one of them for their commitment to taking care of our customers,” said United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby. “While Omicron is impacting near term demand, we remain optimistic about the spring and excited about the summer and beyond. We look forward to beginning to return the Pratt & Whitney 777s to service this quarter and getting the full airline back to normal utilization — as we ramp up along with demand this year. By investing in innovative technology, focusing on process improvements and implementing a transformative United Next strategy, we’re poised to emerge as an aviation leader that’s more efficient than before and serves our customers better than ever.”

Fourth Quarter and Full Year Financial Results

  • Reported fourth quarter 2021 capacity down 23% compared to fourth quarter 2019.
  • Reported fourth quarter 2021 net loss of $0.6 billion, adjusted net lossof $0.5 billion.
  • Reported full year 2021 net loss of $2.0 billion, adjusted net loss2 of $4.5 billion.
  • Reported fourth quarter 2021 total operating revenue of $8.2 billion, down 25% compared to fourth quarter 2019.
  • Reported fourth quarter 2021 Total Revenue Per Available Seat Mile (TRASM) of down 3% compared to fourth quarter 2019.
  • Reported fourth quarter 2021 Cost Per Available Seat Mile (CASM) of up 11%, and CASM-ex1 of up 13%, compared to fourth quarter 2019.
  • Reported fourth quarter 2021 fuel price of approximately $2.41 per gallon.
  • Reported fourth quarter 2021 pre-tax margin of negative 10.3%, negative 8.3% on an adjusted2 basis.
  • Reported fourth quarter 2021 ending available liquidityof $20 billion.

Outlook4

  • Expects first quarter 2022 capacity to be down 16% to 18% versus first quarter 2019.5
  • Expects first quarter 2022 total operating revenue to be down 20% to 25% versus first quarter 2019.
  • Expects first quarter 2022 CASM-ex1 to be up 14% to 15% compared to first quarter 2019.
  • Estimates first quarter 2022 fuel price of approximately $2.51 per gallon.6
  • Now expects full year 2022 capacity to be down versus 2019.5
  • Now expects full year 2022 CASM-ex1 to be higher than 2019.
  • Expects 2022 adjusted capital expenditures to be around $4.2 billion, plus approximately $1.7 billion in 2021 deferred capital expenditures mainly due to the timing of certain aircraft deliveries delayed to 2022, for a total of $5.9 billion.
  • Remains on track to achieve long-term financial targets from United Next plan.7

2021 Key Highlights

  • Announced “United Next” plan to retrofit 100% of the mainline, narrowbody fleet to transform the customer experience and create a new signature interior with a roughly 75% increase in premium seats per departure, larger overhead bins, seatback entertainment in every seat and the industry’s fastest available Wi-Fi.
  • Announced the purchase of 270 new Boeing and Airbus aircraft – the largest combined order in the airline’s history and the biggest by an individual carrier in the last decade.
  • Opened United Aviate Academy with a new diversity goal for at least 50% of the 5,000 students the airline has committed to train by 2030 to be women and people of color.
  • Together with JPMorgan Chase, funded $2.4 million in scholarship assistance to students at the United Aviate Academy.
  • Implemented a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for U.S.-based employees, subject to certain exemptions.
  • Created the Eco-Skies Alliance℠, a first-of-its-kind program, offering United’s corporate customers the opportunity to help reduce their environmental impact by allowing them to pay the additional cost for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
  • In the fourth quarter, became the first airline in aviation history to fly an aircraft with passengers using 100% SAF in one engine.
  • Launched the industry-exclusive “Travel Ready Center” to ease the burden of COVID-19 travel restrictions. 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.
  • Returned to John F. Kennedy Airport after a five-year absence and is now operating direct service to the airline’s West Coast hubs – Los Angeles International Airport and San Francisco International Airport.
  • Launched a new corporate venture capital fund – United Airlines Ventures – which will allow the airline to continue investing in emerging companies that have the potential to influence the future of travel.
  • Offered loyalty program members the chance to win free flights for a year’s worth of travel through “Your Shot to Fly” sweepstakes to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations in support of the Biden Administration’s national effort to encourage people to get vaccinated.
  • Assisted in the evacuation of 15,000 passengers on 94 flights as part of Afghan relief efforts.
  • Committed to purchase 1.5 billion gallons of SAF over 20 years, which at the time of purchase was one and a half times the size of the rest of the world’s airlines’ publicly announced SAF commitments combined.

Taking Care of Our Customers

  • Introduced virtual, on-demand customer service – Agent on Demand – now available at all U.S. hub airports plus 104 line stations. To date, more than 325,000 customers have taken advantage of this service.
  • 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.
  • Provided customers the ability to schedule COVID-19 tests and have results reviewed in advance through United’s industry-leading Travel-Ready Center.
  • Announced a first-of-its-kind collaboration to use Abbott’s BinaxNOW™ COVID-19 Home Test and Abbott’s NAVICA app to help make the international travel experience more seamless.

Network

  • Launched 14 new destinations, including John F. Kennedy International Airport, and five new international destinations – key highlights include Accra, GhanaLagos, NigeriaBridgetown, Barbados; Dubrovnik, Croatia; and Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • Announced service to five new destinations for 2022 — including Palma de MallorcaSpain; Azores, Portugal; and Bergen, Norway. Also announced summer 2022 launch of previously postponed destination – Nice, France.
  • In the fourth quarter announced a new shuttle schedule between Newark Liberty and Reagan Washington National Airports, with the customer-favorite, dual-class CRJ-550 aircraft.
  • In the fourth quarter, announced United’s largest domestic schedule since March 2020.
  • In the fourth quarter, announced a new partnership with Virgin Australia Group for seamless connections to cities in Australia and reciprocal earning and benefits for MileagePlus® members (subject to government approval).
  • As of November 2021, offered a first-class cabin on all flights at all three New York/Newark airports.
  • As part of United’s historic Atlantic expansion, announced 22 daily flights between London Heathrow and several U.S. cities – including seven daily flights between Newark International Airport and London Heathrow scheduled to start in March 2022. Following this launch, United will be the only U.S. carrier to offer nonstop service between the nation’s top seven business centers and London Heathrow.
  • Announced a commercial agreement with Airlink to provide customers with easy travel to more than 45 destinations in 13 African countries.

Customer-First Enhancements

  • Achieved the highest ever NPS in the history of the airline. While the pandemic continues, safety comfort satisfaction increased 6 points and cabin cleanliness satisfaction increased 4 points.
  • Achieved most-improved mishandled bag performance among mainline competitors when compared to 2019, a 37% improvement.
  • Achieved on-time departure performance for 2021 of 70.7%, the best yearly performance in company history (excluding 2020).
  • More than 760,000 customers have benefited from ConnectionSaver, with the percentage of customers that have misconnected in 2021 being the lowest since the merger.
  • Opened a brand-new United Polaris® lounge at Washington Dulles and re-opened all other United Polaris lounges except Los Angeles. In addition, in the fourth quarter, completed the re-opening of its domestic United Club℠ network (excluding Phoenix) and re-opened the first international club at London Heathrow.
  • Announced a new luxury bus collaboration for customers to travel to Breckenridge and Fort Collins, Colorado, with convenient year-round ground transportation service connecting through its Denver hub. This is the first time Breckenridge has ever been served by an airline, and it will be Fort Collins’ first global network carrier service in 25 years.
  • Introduced three new promotions that let eligible MileagePlus Premier® members “Pick Your Path” depending on their upcoming travel plan, giving members the chance to fast track their Premier status or earn bonus miles.
  • Expanded beer, wine and snacks to nearly all flights over two hours, including new options like White Claw® Hard Seltzer, Breckenridge Brewery Juice Drop Hazy IPA, and Kona Brewing Co. Big Wave Golden Ale.
  • Recently redesigned United mobile app was voted the Best Travel App in the 25th annual Webby Awards.
  • In the fourth quarter, became the first airline to introduce PayPal QR Codes as an inflight payment option.
  • First U.S. airline to offer economy customers the option to pre-order snacks and beverages.
  • Offered customers the most transparent and user-friendly options in the industry to encourage and simplify using travel credits.

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)

  • Announced a new goal to reduce its carbon emissions intensity by 50% compared to 2019 by 2035.
  • Announced an agreement to work with urban air mobility company Archer Aviation Inc. as part of the company’s broader effort to invest in emerging technologies that decarbonize air travel rather than relying on traditional combustion engines.
  • Entered into a commercial agreement with Denver-based aerospace company Boom Technology, Inc. to add aircraft to United’s global fleet as well as cooperative sustainability initiative – a move that facilitates a leap forward in returning supersonic speeds to aviation.
  • Announced collaboration with Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Mesa Airlines to invest in electric aircraft startup Heart Aerospace.
  • In the fourth quarter, became the largest airline to invest in zero-emission, hydrogen-electric engines for regional aircraft, the latest move toward achieving its goal to be 100% green by reducing greenhouse gas emissions 100% by 2050, without relying on traditional carbon offsets.
  • More than 99 million miles were donated by MileagePlus® members to charities in need of travel through United’s mile crowd-sourcing platform “Miles on a Mission”, with an additional 16 million miles matched by United.
  • More than 1,700 United employees served more than 11,000 volunteer hours.
  • More than $764 million spent with 975 small and diverse-owned businesses.
  • Through a combination of cargo-only flights and passenger flights, transported nearly 300 million pounds of freight, including nearly 23 million pounds of vital shipments, such as medical kits, personal protective equipment, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment.
  • Transported more than 166 million COVID-19 vaccines in the fourth quarter.
  • Launched a unique Black History Month campaign which raised over $255,000 for The Thurgood Marshall College Fund, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and United Negro College Fund.
  • For the tenth consecutive year received a perfect score of 100% on the Corporate Equality Index, a premier benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ+ workplace equality, administered by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation.
  • Teamed up with JPMorgan Chase and Visa in honor of Black History Month to encourage and reward United MileagePlus® Visa cardmembers for making donations to non-profits focused on providing access to educational opportunities for Black students and supporting human and civil rights policies.
  • Teamed up with more than a dozen new environmental, non-profit partners to strengthen the company’s sustainability commitment to become 100% green by reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 100% by 2050.
  • Announced a program with the Golden State Warriors to launch the Franchise Fund, a program designed to support minority-owned Bay Area small businesses.
  • More than $326,000 was raised for Airlink, World Central Kitchen, Americares, and Global Giving via CrowdRise to support COVID-19 relief efforts in India, including a $40,000 donation by United.
  • Celebrated the 40th anniversary of the MileagePlus® program by giving away four million miles to essential healthcare workers.
  • Joined forces with JPMorgan Chase and Visa to offer eligible United MileagePlus® Visa cardmembers the ability to earn five total miles for every dollar donated to select charities supporting the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Became the first corporation in at least five years to be presented with the “Volunteer Group of the Year” award from Food Bank of the Rockies. Also, helped Food Bank of the Rockies raise the equivalent of 30,400 meals via a fundraiser.
  • Provided a platform for customers to donate 30 million miles to help support Afghan refugee resettlement efforts.
  • Created September of Service, a month-long series of employee-driven volunteer events honoring the 20th anniversary of 9/11, including over 2,200 hours served by nearly 800 United volunteers, with nearly 185,000 meals packed, as well as 5,000 pounds of trash collected, as well as volunteer events being held at 17 cities across the country, including all United hubs.

American Airlines’ COO message to employees

American Airlines’ Chief Operating Officer, David Seymour, issued this statement to its employees, warning of delays:

Meanwhile Verizon and AT&T will limit 5G around airports:

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/airline-ceos-warn-catastrophic-disruption-5g-rollout-verizon-rcna12525