Category Archives: United Airlines

United reports its third quarter results

United Airlines Boeing 737-924 ER SSWL N68817 (msn 42747) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 936871.

United Airlines (UAL) has announced its third-quarter 2017 financial results.

  • UAL reported third-quarter net income of $637 million, diluted earnings per share of $2.12, pre-tax earnings of approximately $1.0 billion and pre-tax margin of 9.9 percent.
  • Excluding special charges, UAL reported third-quarter net income of $669 million, diluted earnings per share of $2.22, pre-tax earnings of $1.0 billion and pre-tax margin of 10.4 percent.
  • UAL repurchased $556 million of its common shares in the third quarter, bringing the year-to-date share repurchases to $1.3 billion.
  • UAL delivered the best-ever third-quarter consolidated on-time departures in the history of the company, and employees earned $11 million in bonuses for operational performance.

“I could not be prouder of how our employees are raising the bar both in terms of serving our customers, as well as delivering record-setting operational performance. Not only did they manage to keep our operation moving through back-to-back natural disasters, but the United family banded together to help one another take part in one of the largest relief efforts in our airline’s history,” said Oscar Munoz, chief executive officer of United Airlines. “Even with the challenging environment in the third quarter, we continue to set the stage for United’s long-term success and investing in the right strategy for our future.”

During the quarter, the company cancelled approximately 8,300 flights as a result of severe weather in southeast Texas, Florida and parts of the Caribbean. The operational disruption reduced third-quarter pre-tax income by an estimated $185 million.

Third-Quarter Revenue

For the third quarter of 2017, revenue was $9.9 billion, roughly flat year-over-year including an estimated $210 millionloss of revenue from severe weather during the quarter. Third-quarter 2017 consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) was down 3.7 percent compared to the third quarter of 2016. Cargo revenue was $257 million in the third quarter of 2017, an increase of 14.7 percent year-over-year primarily due to higher international freight volume.

Third-Quarter Costs

Operating expense was $8.8 billion in the third quarter, up 6.0 percent year-over-year. Consolidated unit cost per available seat mile (CASM) increased 3.0 percent compared to the third quarter of 2016 due largely to higher fuel and labor expense. Third-quarter consolidated CASM, excluding special charges, third-party business expenses, fuel and profit sharing, increased 2.6 percent year-over-year, driven mainly by higher labor expense.

Liquidity and Capital Allocation

UAL generated $577 million in operating cash flow and ended the quarter with $6.3 billion in unrestricted liquidity, including $2.0 billion of undrawn commitments under its revolving credit facility. Capital expenditures were $1.1 billion in the third quarter.

In the third quarter of 2017, UAL raised $400 million of unsecured debt with an interest rate of 4.25 percent. The company contributed $160 million to its pension plans and made debt and capital lease principal payments of $222 million. In the quarter, UAL purchased $556 million of its common shares at an average price of $67.08 per share. As of Sept. 30, 2017, the company had approximately $553 million remaining under its existing share repurchase authority.

For the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2017, the company’s pre-tax income was $3.3 billion and return on invested capital (ROIC) was 14.9 percent.

“As we balance United’s customer, employee and shareholder priorities going forward, a key focus remains returning cash to shareholders and we continued this during the third quarter, repurchasing $556 million of stock, which brings our year-to-date repurchase total to $1.3 billion,” said Andrew Levy, executive vice president and chief financial officer of United Airlines. “Our balance sheet remains strong as evidenced by the 4.25 interest percent rate on the $400 million of unsecured debt raised during the quarter.”

For more information on UAL’s fourth-quarter 2017 guidance, please visit ir.united.com for the company’s investor update.

Third-Quarter Highlights
Customer Experience

  • New Customer Solutions Desk rolled out system-wide with a dedicated team to develop creative solutions to ensure customers reach their final destinations when their travel plans don’t go as expected.
  • Named the 2017 Airline of the Year in recognition of United Polaris business class experience at the International Flight Services Association (IFSA) Compass Awards.
  • Unveiled a bag tracking feature in the United mobile app which allows customers to track their checked bags from check-in to arrival.
  • Retrofitted the first Boeing 767-300ER aircraft with the United Polaris business class.
  • United Polaris earned Global Traveler magazine’s “Outstanding Innovations” award at the Global Traveler’s fifth annual Leisure Lifestyle Awards.
  • Became the first U.S.-based airline to offer a new option to check in and learn about flights without the touch of a finger through a new United skill for Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Dot.
  • Officially announced the final flight of the Boeing 747-400 as it retires, with the final voyage on Nov. 7, 2017 from San Francisco to Honolulu.

Network and Fleet

  • Announced several new routes:
    • New international nonstop service between Houston and Sydney, nonstop seasonal service to Mazatlan, Mexico, increased seasonal service to popular ski destinations and more options for Seattle-area customers with daily service between Paine Field and Denver and San Francisco.
    • Announced new seasonal service between Denver and London; Newark, New Jersey, and Porto, Portugal and Reykjavik, Iceland; San Francisco and Zurich; and Washington Dulles and Edinburgh, Scotland. Additionally, announced expanded year-round service between Newark and Rome.
  • Announced an agreement with Airbus to modify its A350 order resulting in a conversion of the model type from the A350-1000 to the A350-900, an increase in the order size from 35 to 45 aircraft and a deferral of the first delivery to late 2022.
  • Took delivery of one Boeing 787-9 aircraft, four Boeing 737-800 aircraft and nine Embraer E175 aircraft.
  • Finalized agreements to take delivery of two additional used Airbus A320 aircraft by the end of 2017.

Operations and Employees

  • In response to the recent catastrophic weather events Harvey, Irma and Maria, United and its employees came together to keep the operation moving and take part in relief efforts:
    • Operated 84 additional flights to provide additional seats and deliver needed relief supplies to impacted areas.
    • Operated 46 relief flights, flying more than 2,000 evacuees out of impacted areas.
    • Flew 767 flights with larger aircraft in order to carry more people and supplies. The combination resulted in over 13,600 additional seats to impacted areas.
    • Delivered over 1.7 million pounds of relief supplies to aid the recovery in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.
    • Customers and employees, with supporting funds from the company, raised and contributed more than $9 million to community and employee assistance.
  • Continued to improve the mobile tools used by employees, including the first release of the “in the moment” care app, and new functionality in flight attendant tools to better serve customers. These tools were the basis for the company receiving the CIO 100 award.
  • Announced partnerships with three world-class design and apparel companies – Brooks Brothers, Tracy Reeseand Carhartt – to inspire and create a new line of uniforms for the carrier’s more than 70,000 front-line employees.

Copyright Photo: United Airlines Boeing 737-924 ER SSWL N68817 (msn 42747) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 936871.

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United’s new safety video

United Airlines is lifting the curtain on a new Safety is Global safety video, which will be on board flights starting this month. The video follows United employees representing flight attendants, pilots, ramp operations, customer service representatives and tech ops through dream destinations around the world as they demonstrate the safety features of the aircraft. As part of this debut, United is giving customers an opportunity to win round-trip flights to their dream destinations in the United Dream Destination Sweepstakes.

“A few years back, we made our safety demonstration more interactive, and entertaining to engage customers during the safety briefing, one of the most important parts of the flight,” said Mark Krolick, vice president of marketing at United. “Introducing the new Safety is Global video continues the theme of highlighting some of the amazingly diverse, global cities that we fly to, and giving our customers the chance to visit one of their own dream destinations.”

Customers can get a sneak peak of the Safety is Global video before their next United flight by visiting the United Hub. The video features the following destinations Alaska; China; Denver; India; Munich; New York and Rio de Janeiro.

For contest rules, and to enter the sweepstakes visit uniteddreamdestinationsweeps.com.

United announces the last Boeing 747 revenue flight

United Airlines Boeing 747-422 N128UA (msn 30023) NRT (Michael B. Ing). Image: 923735.

United Airlines made this announcement:

In celebration of United Airlines retiring the Boeing 747 from its fleet, United flight 747, on Tuesday, November 7, 2017 from San Francisco to Honolulu will be the airline’s farewell flight to the 747 fleet.

This journey will serve as the ultimate throwback for customers, employees and invited guests as it recreates the first 747 flight operated by United in 1970. From a 1970s-inspired menu to retro uniforms for flight attendants to inflight entertainment befitting of that first flight, passengers will help send the Queen of the Skies off in true style. The original United 747 aircraft that first made this journey from San Francisco to Honolulu was named the “Friend Ship,” the same name bestowed on this farewell flight.

Seats on this special, one-way trip, United flight 747, are available for purchase now at united.com or through the United app. The seats in the upper deck will not be sold, giving all guests the opportunity to spend time in this iconic space.

Customers seated in United Polaris first class and United Polaris business class will be entered into a drawing that will take place at the gate prior to boarding for an opportunity to occupy one of a select number of seats in the upper deck during the flight.

The journey will begin with a gate celebration at 9 a.m. local time at San Francisco International Airport, featuring a Boeing 747 gallery, remarks from United employees and executives, as well as refreshments. The flight will depart San Francisco International Airport at 11 a.m. local time, landing at Honolulu International Airport at 2:45 p.m. local time. Upon landing in Honolulu, local employees will welcome the aircraft with final festivities to close out the historic day. Customers and fans of the Queen of the Skies are encouraged to use the #UA747Farewell hashtag in social media posts.

United and the Boeing 747 through the Years

April 13, 1966: Boeing announces it will build a 490-passenger 747 transport. Construction is set to begin in June on a new plant in Everett, Washington.

January 3, 1967: The first production workers for the 747 program arrive in Everett. The 50,000 who would produce the world’s largest civilian airplane were known as The Incredibles, and they earned the label by bringing the Jumbo Jet dream to reality in only 16 months.

September 30, 1968: The first Boeing 747-100, City of Everett, is rolled out at their Washington plant, painted with the insignias of the 27 airlines that had already ordered the aircraft including United.

February 9, 1969: The Boeing 747-100 makes its first flight.

January 21, 1970: The Boeing 747 makes its first commercial flight from New York to London for Pan American World Airways.

June 26, 1970: Continental Airlines becomes one of the first carriers to put the Boeing 747 into U.S. domestic service, flying from Chicago to Los Angeles and onward to Honolulu.

June 26, 1970: United Airlines receives its first Boeing 747-100 complete with a christening ceremony fit for a luxury liner.

July 23, 1970: United makes its first Boeing 747 commercial flight, with a trip from San Francisco to Honolulu.

United Airlines Boeing 747-122 N4710U (msn 19755) JFK (Bruce Drum). Image: 101357.

Above Copyright Photo: United Airlines Boeing 747-122 N4710U (msn 19755) JFK (Bruce Drum). Image: 101357.

Airline Color Scheme - Introduced 1972 (4 Star Friendship)

Above Copyright Photo: United Airlines Boeing 747-122 N4728U (msn 19925) “747 Friend Ship” LAX (Bruce Drum). Image: 103100.

 

January 1977: A modified Boeing 747-100 is delivered to NASA to serve as a carrier vehicle for the Space Shuttle.

April 22, 1985: United announces its plan to acquire Pan Am’s Pacific routes, as well as 11 Boeing 747SP planes. The 747SPs feature a 48-foot-shorter body and fly higher, faster, and farther than standard 747 models.

United Airlines Boeing 747SP-21 N149UA (msn 21649) MIA (Bruce Drum). Image: 101362.

Above Copyright: United Airlines Boeing 747SP-21 N149UA (msn 21649) MIA (Bruce Drum). Image: 101362.

January 29-30, 1988: Friendship One, a Boeing 747SP owned by United Airlines, sets the around-the-world air speed record of 36 hours, 54 minutes, and 15 seconds. This special flight raises $500,000 for children’s charities through the Friendship Foundation. Tickets cost a minimum of $5,000, and special guest passengers included astronaut Neil Armstrong, famed test pilots Bob Hoover and Lieutenant General Laurence C. Craigie, and Moya Lear, the widow of Lear Jet founder Bill Lear.

June, 1989: United Airlines receives their first Boeing 747-400 which provides increased range.

United Airlines Boeing 747-422 N117UA (msn 28810) LHR (Antony J. Best). Image: 920997.

Above Copyright Photo: United Airlines Boeing 747-422 N117UA (msn 28810) LHR (Antony J. Best). Image: 920997.

August 23, 1990: The first of two modified Boeing 747-200Bs is delivered to the Air Force for presidential transport. Better known as Air Force One, these planes still serve the president today, having replaced the Boeing 707-320Bs that had served as the presidential aircraft for almost 30 years.

September 1996: A 747SP previously flown by United is transformed into NASA’s SOFIA, or Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, which carries a 17-ton, 8-foot-wide infrared telescope mounted behind an enormous sliding door.

United Airlines Boeing 747-422 N179UA (msn 25158) SFO (Mark Durbin). Image: 901763.

Above Copyright Photo: United Airlines Boeing 747-422 N179UA (msn 25158) SFO (Mark Durbin). Image: 901763.

June 28, 2014: Boeing delivers the 1,500th 747 to come off the production line. The 747 aircraft is the world’s first wide-body airplane in history to reach the 1,500 production units milestone.

January 11, 2017: United announces that it will retire the Boeing 747-400 fleet in the last quarter of 2017.

July 28, 2017: United schedules a special domestic flight from Chicago O’Hare to San Francisco to allow more people to say farewell to the Queen of the Skies.

October 29, 2017: United flies its last international 747 flight from Seoul to San Francisco.

November 7, 2017: United celebrates the retirement of the Boeing 747 with a fitting full-circle moment. A special retro event sees the aircraft flying from San Francisco to Honolulu—a nod to its first-ever flight back in 1970.

Top Copyright Photo: United Airlines Boeing 747-422 N128UA (msn 30023) NRT (Michael B. Ing). Image: 923735.

United Airlines (historic liveries):

United Airlines (current livery – Boeing):

Endangered Species List:

United Airlines increases its Airbus A350 order

 

United Airlines has increased the number of Airbus A350 XWB aircraft it will bring into its fleet, updating and expanding its previously existing order for 35 A350-1000 to 45 A350-900 widebody aircraft to replace older, less efficient aircraft, supporting future growth at the airline. 

These aircraft will be the first Airbus widebodies to join United’s global fleet.

The 100th A350 was delivered at the end of July 2017, just some 30 months after the first delivery of the world’s most modern widebody aircraft in December 2014. To date, Airbus has recorded a total of 848 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 45 customers worldwide.

Image: Airbus.

United announces new flights from Paine Field, Everett, WA

United Airlines Boeing 737-724 WL N14731 (msn 28799) SFO (Mark Durbin). Image: 908021.

United Airlines (Chicago) made this surprising announcement about new scheduled services from Paine Field in Everett, WA (north of Seattle):

Nearly 80 years after operating the first commercial flight from Paine Field, United Airlines (UAL) has announced it is returning to the airport and will offer customers six daily flights to its hubs in Denver and San Francisco beginning in the fall of 2018.

Originally constructed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1936 to create jobs and economic growth in the region, the Snohomish County Airport quickly grew and served as an alternate-day landing field and in 1939 United Airlines operated the first commercial flight from the airport. Paine Field has since become the center of Boeing’s production facilities producing many United aircraft including the 747, 767, 777, and the 787 airplanes and employing tens of thousands of employees.

Located just 23 miles north of Seattle, Paine Field is the newest option for the fast growing number of business and leisure travelers from the Northern Seattle, Snohomish and Northern King County areas.

United currently operates 36 flights between Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and its U.S. hubs. North Seattle and Northwest Washington are among the fastest growing areas in the nation and Paine Field will provide an essential and convenient choice for air travel moving forward.

Copyright Photo: United Airlines Boeing 737-724 WL N14731 (msn 28799) SFO (Mark Durbin). Image: 908021.

United to increase flights to ski destinations this winter

United Airlines Boeing 737-924 ER SSWL N37420 (msn 33457) SEA (Michael B. Ing). Image: 938077.

United Airlines (Chicago) has announced it is increasing its nonstop service from six hub cities to Aspen, Colorado, Vail, Colorado, Crested Butte, Colorado, Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Sun Valley, Idaho, Bozeman, Montana, Glacier National Park, Montana and Reno, Nevada. The new routes will begin operating this winter and through spring 2018.

United Winter Schedule to Ski Destinations

Hub

Destination

Schedule

Dates

DEN

Aspen (ASE)

Up to 9 daily flights

Year-Round

Bozeman/Big Sky (BZN)

Up to 5 daily flights

Year-Round

Eagle/Vail (EGE)

Up to 4 daily flights

Year-Round

Glacier/Whitefish (FCA)

Up to 4 daily flights

Year-Round

Gunnison/Crested Butte (GUC)

2 daily flights

Now – April 2

Steamboat Springs (HDN)

Up to 4 daily flights

Year-Round

Jackson Hole (JAC)

3 daily flights

Year-Round

Montrose/Telluride (MTJ)

Up to 5 daily flights

Year-Round

Reno/Lake Tahoe (RNO)

3 daily flights

Year-Round

Salt Lake City (SLC)

6 daily flights

Year-Round

Sun Valley (SUN)

1 daily flight

Dec. 20 – April 2

ORD

Aspen (ASE)

Up to 5 daily flights

Nov. 29 – April 2

Bozeman/Big Sky (BZN)

Up to 3 daily flights

Year-Round

Eagle/Vail (EGE)

Up to 1 daily flight

Dec. 20 – April 2

Glacier Park (FCA)

Up to 1 daily flight

Dec. 20 – March 31

Steamboat Springs (HDN)

1 daily flight

Dec. 20 – April 2

Jackson Hole (JAC)

1 daily flight

Dec. 20 – April 2

Montrose/Telluride (MTJ)

1 daily flight

Dec. 20 – April 2

Reno/Lake Tahoe (RNO)

Up to 2 weekly flights

Dec. 23 – April 1

Salt Lake City (SLC)

3 daily flights

Year-Round

Sun Valley (SUN)

Most Saturdays

Dec.23 – March 31

IAH

Aspen (ASE)

Up to 4 daily flights

Dec.20 – April 2

Bozeman/Big Sky (BZN)

Up to 1 daily flight

Dec. 20 – April 1

Eagle/Vail (EGE)

1 daily flight

Dec. 20 – April 1

Gunnison/Crested Butte (GUC)

Up to 1 daily flight

Dec. 20 – April 1

Steamboat Springs (HDN)

1 daily flight

Dec. 20 – April 1

Jackson Hole (JAC)

Up to 1 daily flight

Dec. 20 – April 1

Montrose/Telluride (MTJ)

1 daily flight

Dec. 20 – April 1

Reno/Lake Tahoe (RNO)

Up to 1 daily flight

Dec. 20 – April 29

Salt Lake City (SLC)

Up to 5 daily flights

Year-Round

LAX

Aspen (ASE)

4 daily flights

Year-Round

Bozeman/Big Sky (BZN)

1 daily flight

Dec. 20 – April 1

Steamboat Springs (HDN)

Saturdays

Dec. 20 – March 25

Jackson Hole (JAC)

1 daily flight

Dec. 20 – April 1

Montrose/Telluride (MTJ)

2 weekly flights

Dec. 23 – March 25

Reno/Lake Tahoe (RNO)

1 daily flight

Year-Round

Salt Lake City (SLC)

2 daily flights

Year-Round

SFO

Aspen (ASE)

Up to 3 daily flights

Dec. 20 – April 2

Bozeman/Big Sky (BZN)

1 daily flight

Dec. 20 – April 1

Mammoth Yosemite (MMH)

1 daily flight

Dec. 20 – April 2

Eagle/Vail (EGE)

Up to 2 weekly flights

Dec. 23 – March 25

Steamboat Springs (HDN)

Saturdays

Dec. 23 – March 24

Jackson Hole (JAC)

1 daily flight

Dec. 20 – April 1

Montrose/Telluride (MTJ)

3 weekly flights

Dec. 23 – April 1

Reno/Lake Tahoe (RNO)

4 daily flights

Year-Round

Salt Lake City (SLC)

5 daily flights

Year-Round

Sun Valley (SUN)

1 daily flight

Dec. 20 – April 2

EWR

Bozeman/Big Sky (BZN)

Up to 1 daily flight

Dec. 20 – March 26

Eagle/Vail (EGE)

1 daily flight

Dec. 20 – April 2

Jackson Hole (JAC)

1 daily flight

Dec. 20 – April 2

Steamboat Springs (HDN)

Up to 2 weekly flights

Dec. 23 – April 1

Montrose/Telluride (MTJ)

Up to 2 weekly flights

Dec. 23 – April 1

Salt Lake City (SLC)

1 daily flight

Year-Round

LGA

Montrose/Telluride (MTJ)

Saturdays

Dec. 23 – March 31

IAD

Vail/Eagle County (EGE)

1 weekly flight

Dec. 23 – March 31

Steamboat Springs (HDN)

1 weekly flight

Dec. 23 – March 31

Copyright Photo: United Airlines Boeing 737-924 ER SSWL N37420 (msn 33457) SEA (Michael B. Ing). Image: 938077.

United Airlines to introduce the Boeing 777-300ER on additional routes

 

United Airlines Boeing 777-322 ER N2639U (msn 62650) IAD (Brian McDonough). Image: 938448.

United Airlines has announced additional Boeing 777-300ER service, the airline’s newest aircraft type featuring the all-new United Polaris business class seats, to its flight schedules. With the schedule update over the weekend, the airline expects to begin 777-300ER service on the following routes*:

  • San Francisco (SFO) – Beijing (PEK) beginning September 6, 2017 westbound (September 8, 2017 eastbound)
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Frankfurt (FRA)** beginning October 5, 2017 eastbound (October 6, 2017 westbound)
  • New York/Newark (EWR) to Tokyo Narita (NRT) beginning October 28, 2017 westbound (October 29, 2017eastbound)

*Flight and aircraft schedules are subject to change.
** United offers two daily flights between SFO-FRA through October 27, 2017. The 777-300ER will serve flights UA 58/59.

Boeing 777-300ER aircraft are already in service on United’s San Francisco – Hong Kong (HKG), San Francisco to Tokyo Narita, and New York/Newark – Tel Aviv (TLV) routes and will begin service from San Francisco to Taipei (TPE) on August 1. United expects to place into service all 14 aircraft in its first 777-300ER order in 2017. The airline recently announced an order for four additional 777-300ER aircraft.

All-New Business Class Seat

United’s 777-300ER aircraft offers a modern, spacious interior envisioned in partnership with design firm PriestmanGoode, including the airline’s all-new United Polaris business class seat. Each United Polaris suite-like pod features direct access to the aisle, a 180-degree flat-bed that measures 6’6” and 23 inches wide with infinite seat recline options and one-touch lumbar support, ample storage, multiple surfaces that enable passengers to dine while working, universal A/C power as well as 2-USB ports, a 16-inch high-definition entertainment screen, electronic privacy dividers for seats in the center of the cabin, mood lighting and an illuminated “Do Not Disturb” sign. Additionally, a marble-topped bar unit offers customers in business class a place to grab a mid-flight drink or snack.

This new seat represents the latest in the continued roll-out of United Polaris, the airline’s most significant product transformation in more than a decade, featuring a reimagined, sleep-enhancing experience for intercontinental travelers.

The Boeing 777-300ER features 60 seats in business class in a 1-2-1 configuration with direct-aisle access from all seats.

Copyright Photo: United Airlines Boeing 777-322 ER N2639U (msn 62650) IAD (Brian McDonough). Image: 938448.