Boeing (Chicago and Seattle) yesterday (April 16) delivered the 8,000th 737 to come off the production line to United Airlines (Chicago) as N68821, marking another important milestone for the world’s best-selling airplane. The airplane, a Next-Generation 737-900 ER (Extended Range), features a special logo.
The 737 is the first commercial airplane in history to reach this delivery milestone. The program has a strong backlog with more than 3,700 airplanes on order, including 1,934 orders for the new 737 MAX.
United was the first airline to order and take delivery of the 737-200. Since 1965, United has taken delivery of more than 550 737s and operated nearly every model.
Copyright Photo: Joe G. Walker/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-924 ER N68821 (msn 43535) lands at Boeing Field in Seattle. N68821 has small “8000th 737” gray titles by the main cabin door.
United Airlines (Chicago) is adding new summer seasonal flights to the Caribbean. The carrier will start weekly Houston (Bush Intercontinental)-Aruba (Boeing 737) and twice-weekly Washington (Dulles)-Nassau (CRJ700) flights from June 5 through August 18 per Airline Route. In addition, Newark-Santiago (Dominican Republic) (Boeing 737) route will be resumed for the same period as a daily service.
Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-924 ER N34455 (msn 41743) departs from runway 27R at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
United Airlines (Chicago) today announced plans to operate flights between its Newark Liberty International Airport hub and Santiago in the Dominican Republicin the summer of 2014. The flights are subject to government approval.
United plans to introduce daily service, utilizing Boeing 737-900 aircraft, leaving Newark Liberty at 9:00 a.m. (0900) and arriving in Santiago at 12:55 p.m. (1255). The return flight will depart Santiago at 1:50 p.m. (1350), arriving at Newark Liberty at 5:55 p.m. (1755) The service will open for sale once regulatory approval is granted. The new service will be timed to provide roundtrip connectivity with Washington, D.C., and Chicago (O’Hare).
In the Dominican Republic, United offers flights from Newark to Santo Domingo, Punta Cana and Puerto Plata and on a seasonal basis from Chicago (O’Hare) and Washington (Dulles), to Punta Cana. Details of the new flight will be announced once the service is approved.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-924 N79402 (msn 30119) climbs away quickly from the runway at Los Angeles International Airport.
United Airlines (Chicago) is reported to be on the verge of de-hubbing its struggling Cleveland Hopkins International Airport hub according to this report by WKYC. According to the report, a majority of the current routes routes will be dropped. CEO Jeff Smisek is quoted as saying the CLE hub is losing money and the losses cannot be sustained. A press conference is scheduled for tomorrow by Mayor Frank G. Jackson.
United Airlines (Chicago) is renewing its pledge to reduce its environmental impact through its Eco-Skies program. The airline has put into service this month a new Boeing 737-924 ER (N75432, msn 32835) with special “Eco-Skies” markings.
In 2013, United Airlines honored Earth Month by announcing its new goal to save 85 million gallons of fuel in 2013, equivalent to 828,750 metric tons of CO2 or roughly $275 million dollars at current fuel prices. Fuel is the airline’s single largest expense and its primary focus environmentally, and the company has several initiatives in place that will allow it to achieve its fuel efficiency goal.
“We are committed to reducing our fuel consumption and our environmental footprint,” said United’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Smisek. “I am proud of the actions we take every day throughout the year that help shape a more sustainable future for our customers, our co-workers and the communities we serve.”
United has already improved its fuel efficiency by 32 percent since 1994 through programs such as improved flight planning, single engine taxiing, lighter products onboard, and use of ground power instead of the onboard auxiliary power unit to save fuel and reduce carbon emissions while aircraft are parked.
The airline is also investing in a modern, fuel-efficient fleet to replace less fuel-efficient aircraft. In 2012, United ordered 150 brand-new Boeing 737 narrowbody aircraft powered by fuel-efficient CFM engines. In addition to purchasing new aircraft, United is also improving the performance of its current fleet. The airline was the launch customer for the new Split Scimitar winglet, which is an advanced and improved winglet for the 737 Next-Gen aircraft and helps the aircraft consume up to 25 percent less fuel per seat than the 737-500 aircraft the company is retiring. United already has other winglets installed on more than 300 of its aircraft, including its entire Boeing 737 fleet and many of its 757 and 767 aircraft. Winglets reduce drag on the aircraft, ultimately reducing fuel burn and carbon emissions by up to five percent.
United’s fuel savings initiatives are part of the company’s larger commitment to environmental sustainability under its Eco-Skies program.
United has a genuine commitment to responsible actions that reduce its impact on the environment through its Eco-Skies program. Eco-Skies is designed to make a positive impact on the environment – in the air, on the ground, at United’s facilities, with its business partners and across communities the airline serves.
Highlights of United’s Eco-Skies program include:
United operated the first U.S. passenger biofuel flight powered with a mixture of renewable algae-derived jet fuel and conventional jet fuel, and signed letters of intent to negotiate the purchase of more than 50 million gallons of sustainable biofuels.
United launched the Eco-Grants initiative which provides $50,000 cash grants to 10 local environmental organizations that the airline’s employees volunteer with in their communities, with volunteer projects starting this month and taking place throughout the country.
United spearheaded the Midwest Aviation Sustainable Biofuels Initiative (MASBI), in partnership with Boeing, Honeywell’s UOP, the Chicago Department of Aviation and the Clean Energy Trust, to advance commercialization of cost-competitive aviation biofuels.
More than 24% percent of United’s ground equipment fleet is electric or alternatively fueled.
During the last six years, United recycled more than 20 million pounds of cans, paper and plastic items from waste generated inflight and at its facilities resulting in a net reduction of 28,700 metric tons of carbon emissions – or an equivalent of removing over 5,000 cars from the road over that same time period.
Eco-Teams, comprised of cross-divisional representatives, are at every hub and major facility.
United’s enhanced carbon offset program allows its customers to calculate and offset the carbon footprint associated with their air travel and cargo shipments.
Copyright Photo: Mark Durbin/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-924 ER N75432 pushes back from the gate at the San Francisco hub yesterday (January 25) in the new markings. Per seat, the new dash 900 model (replacing older types) is the most fuel-efficient 737 ever built.
United Airlines (Chicago) today reported full-year 2013 net income of $1.084 billion, an increase of 84 percent year-over-year, or $2.84 per diluted share, excluding $513 million of special charges. Including special charges, UAL reported full-year 2013 net income of $571 million, or $1.53 per diluted share. UAL reported fourth-quarter 2013 net income of $298 million, or $0.78 per diluted share, excluding $158 million of special charges. Including special charges, UAL reported fourth-quarter 2013 net income of $140 million, or$0.37 per diluted share.
UAL earned a 10.0 percent return on invested capital in 2013.
UAL generated $38.3 billion of revenue in 2013, an increase of 3.0 percent year-over-year.
United’s consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) increased 3.1 percent in 2013 compared to 2012.
Full-year 2013 consolidated unit costs (CASM), holding fuel rate and profit sharing constant and excluding special charges and third-party business expense, increased 3.8 percent year-over-year on a consolidated capacity reduction of 1.4 percent. Full-year 2013 consolidated CASM increased 1.2 percent year-over-year.
UAL ended 2013 with $6.1 billion in unrestricted liquidity.
Employees earned $190 million in profit sharing for full-year 2013, which will be distributed on Feb. 14.
For the 10th consecutive year,readers of Global Traveler magazine voted United’s MileagePlus program the Best Frequent-Flyer program.
“We significantly improved our operations, customer service and financial results in 2013 thanks to the outstanding work of the United team,” said Jeff Smisek, UAL’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Our goals for 2014 are to provide even more reliable operations, great customer service and materially better financial performance.”
Fourth-Quarter Revenue and Capacity
For the fourth quarter of 2013, total revenue was $9.3 billion, an increase of 7.2 percent year-over-year. Fourth-quarter consolidated passenger revenue increased 5.9 percent to $8.0 billion, compared to the same period in 2012. Other revenue in the fourth quarter increased 22.2 percent year-over-year to $1.1 billion, in large part due to an agreement to sell jet fuel to a third party. Ancillary revenue per passenger in the fourth quarter increased 15 percent year-over-year to nearly $21 per passenger. Fourth-quarter cargo revenue decreased 9.5 percent versus the fourth quarter of 2012 to $220 million.
Consolidated revenue passenger miles (RPMs) increased 2.7 percent on a consolidated capacity (available seat miles) increase of 2.6 percent year-over-year for the fourth quarter, resulting in a fourth-quarter consolidated load factor of 82.4 percent.
Fourth-quarter 2013 consolidated PRASM increased 3.2 percent compared to the same period in 2012. Consolidated yield for the fourth quarter of 2013 increased 3.0 percent year-over-year.
“Our employees delivered improved operational performance in 2013, and our customer satisfaction scores increased throughout the year,” said Jim Compton, UAL’s vice chairman and chief revenue officer. “We are growing our revenue by building on the strengths of our leading route network and leveraging the investments we’ve made in our fleet, product and technology.”
Passenger revenue for the fourth quarter of 2013 and period-to-period comparisons of related statistics for UAL’s mainline and regional operations are as follows:
4Q 2013 Pax
Total operating expenses decreased $73 million, or 0.8 percent, in the fourth quarter versus the same period in 2012. Excluding special charges, fourth-quarter total operating expenses increased $201 million, or 2.3 percent, year-over-year.
Fourth-quarter consolidated CASM decreased 3.3 percent year-over-year. Fourth-quarter consolidated CASM, excluding special charges and third-party business expense, decreased 1.1 percent compared to fourth quarter 2012. Third-party business expense was $198 million in the fourth quarter of 2013.
In the fourth quarter, consolidated CASM, excluding special charges and third-party business expense and holding fuel rate and profit sharing constant, increased 0.1 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2012.
“We closed out 2013 on a strong note with solid earnings improvement,” said John Rainey, UAL’s executive vice president and chief financial officer. “We are eager to build upon the groundwork laid last year by delivering even better financial results in 2014 and continuing to make significant improvements in our capital structure.”
Liquidity, Cash Flow and Return on Invested Capital
UAL ended the year with $6.1 billion in unrestricted liquidity, including $1 billion of undrawn commitments under a revolving credit facility. During the fourth quarter, the company had gross capital expenditures of $760 million. The company made debt and capital lease principal payments of $256 million in the fourth quarter and $2.3 billion for the full year. The company’s return on invested capital for 2013 was 10.0 percent.
Operations, Employees and Customer Service
For the fourth quarter, United recorded a mainline on-time arrival rate (domestic and international) of 80.6 percent. For the full year, United recorded a mainline on-time arrival rate of 79.3 percent. The on-time arrival rate is based on flights arriving within 14 minutes of scheduled arrival time. United employees earned cash incentive payments for on-time performance totaling $54 million during 2013.
United’s nearly 28,000 fleet service, passenger service and storekeeper employees ratified joint collective bargaining agreements the company reached with the International Association of Machinists.
United completed the first phase of its new customer service training for all flight attendants, airport agents and reservation agents worldwide.
More than 64,000 United Airlines employees debuted newly designed uniforms.
Finance, Network and Fleet
The company outlined its long-term plans to reduce costs, increase revenue and enhance profitability while delivering competitive reliability and excellent customer service. United outlined a multi-year $2 billion annual cost-savings program and set a goal to grow its ancillary revenue at least $700 million annually by 2017.
United replaced its $1.2 billion term loan due 2014 with a new $900 million term loan due 2019, and reduced the principal balance by $300 million in the process. Simultaneously, United entered into a new $1.0 billionrevolving credit facility due 2018 that replaced the company’s $500 million undrawn revolving credit facility due 2015, bolstering the company’s unrestricted liquidity position.
United raised $929 million of debt financing through enhanced equipment trust certificates at an average interest rate of approximately 4.5 percent. The debt proceeds are being used to finance the acquisition of three new Boeing 787-8 and 18 new Boeing 737-900 ER aircraft.
United issued two tranches of unsecured debt in 2013: $300 million of senior unsecured notes due 2018 at an interest rate of 6.375 percent and $300 million of senior unsecured notes due 2020 at an interest rate of 6 percent.
The company expanded its industry-leading global route network, launching nonstop flights to numerous international destinations including Guatemala City; Nassau, Bahamas; Paris; San Jose, Costa Rica; Shannon, Ireland; St. Lucia; Tokyo; and Edmonton, Alberta, Fort McMurray, Alberta, and Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. United also announced new nonstop international flights beginning in 2014 to Chengdu, China; Edinburgh, Scotland; Madrid; Munich; Taipei, Taiwan; and Tokyo. The company started 19 new domestic routes in 2013, including the company’s first service to Dickinson, N.D.; Fayetteville, N.C.; Santa Fe, N.M. and Sun Valley, Idaho. United also announced 10 new domestic markets for 2014 including the company’s first service to Atlantic City, N.J.; Elmira, N.Y.; Pueblo, Colo.; and Topeka, Kan.
The company took delivery of two new Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners in 2013, bringing its total Dreamliner fleet to eight aircraft. The company also took delivery of 24 new Boeing 737-900ERs in 2013. United exited from scheduled service 23 Boeing 757-200s and the last of its Boeing 737-500s and Boeing 767-200s.
The company increased its Dreamliner order to 65 aircraft with an order for the Boeing 787-10. The company also converted its existing order for 25 Airbus A350-900s into larger A350-1000s and added an additional 10 aircraft to the order, totaling 35 aircraft. These new aircraft will enable United to expand its network, further modernize its international widebody fleet by replacing older, less efficient aircraft to reduce fuel and operating costs, and enhance the customer experience.
United announced it will introduce 70 new 76-seat Embraer 175 aircraft into the United Express fleet beginning in 2014. These aircraft will enhance the customer experience, improve fuel efficiency and provide additional ancillary revenue opportunities.
Product, Loyalty Program and Facilities
United debuted its new brand campaign, featuring its iconic “Fly the Friendly Skies” tagline, reinterpreted for today’s travelers. The new campaign focuses on United’s commitment to being “user-friendly,” which means providing customers great service, easy-to-use technology and product enhancements.
The company continued outfitting aircraft with satellite Wi-Fi across its entire mainline fleet. The airline now offers Wi-Fi on nearly 170 aircraft and is outfitting one aircraft per day with satellite Wi-Fi.
United completed an extensive retrofit of 15 Boeing 757-200s that fly its p.s. (Premium Service) routes between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and both San Francisco and Los Angeles, making it the first and only airline to offer premium-cabin, flat-bed seats on every scheduled transcontinental flight.
United reached a milestone of offering flat-bed seats in its premium cabins on every scheduled long-haul international flight. The airline offers more flat-bed premium cabin seats and more extra-legroom, economy-class seating than any airline in North America.
The company launched an all-new United mobile app and began rolling out new, more intuitive kiosk technology at the airport, offering customers innovative new features and better functionality while also providing United more opportunity to sell its products effectively.
United launched subscription options that offer customers access to Economy Plus seating or pre-paid checked baggage charges for a year. The company relaunched the Premier Access program offering customers access to expedited check-in, security checkpoint lanes and priority boarding, as well as a new baggage delivery option.
In 2013, Business Traveler magazine awarded United Best Airline for North American Travel and for the 10th consecutive year, readers of Global Traveler magazine voted United’s MileagePlus program the Best Frequent-Flyer program. United also has the most saver-style award-seat availability among the largest U.S. global airlines according to the 2013 Switchfly Reward Seat Availability Survey.
United opened its new Terminal B south concourse, a 225,000-square-foot facility dedicated to United Express regional flights at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport. The airline signed a 20-year lease extension at Newark Liberty, committing to invest an additional $150 million in facility upgrades. United in 2013 launched a new in-line checked baggage inspection system in Terminal C at Newark Liberty that will double the system’s capacity while improving safety and reliability. The company also completed construction on a new widebody aircraft maintenance hangar at Washington Dulles International Airport, and neared completion of a widebody hangar at Newark Liberty International Airport.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. United is steadily adding new Boeing 737-900 ERs. Boeing 737-924 ER N57439 (msn 33534) climbs gracefully at Los Angeles.
United Airlines (Chicago) has announced it will recall nearly 600 pilots currently on furlough to address the airline’s future staffing needs. No United pilots will remain on furlough following the recall.
Training classes for the recalled pilots will begin next month and run through the end of the year. In total, United has more than 12,000 pilots.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-924 ER N75426 (msn 31622) departs from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
United Continental Holdings, Inc. (Chicago) announced plans to launch service on several new nonstop routes in 2011 as it begins to optimize the combined route networks of United Airlines and Continental Airlines. Even with these new route additions, operated by a mix of mainline and regional aircraft, United and Continental will remain within previously announced capacity guidance.
Continental will add new flights between Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport and Bakersfield and Palm Springs, Calif.; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Grand Junction, Colo.; Hobbs, N.M.; Montreal; and Reno, Nev. From Cleveland Hopkins International, Continental will begin flights to Cincinnati, Ohio, and from New York/Newark Liberty, the carrier will begin service to Des Moines, Iowa.
United plans new service from Washington Dulles International Airport to Louisville, Ky.; Minneapolis/St. Paul; Salt Lake City; Tulsa, Okla. and Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands, subject to government approval. United will also start new service from Denver International Airport to Amarillo, Dallas Love Field and Lubbock, Texas; from Los Angeles to Austin, Texas and from San Francisco International Airport to New Orleans.
On the financial side, United Continental Holdings, Inc. announced individual third quarter 2010 financial results for United Airlines and Continental Airlines. On Ocober 1, a wholly owned subsidiary of United Continental Holdings, Inc., formerly UAL Corporation, merged with Continental Airlines, Inc. Financial results for United and Continental will be combined when the company reports fourth quarter 2010 results.
United reported third quarter 2010 net income of $473 million or $2.12 diluted earnings per share excluding certain special items, an improvement of $533 million year-over-year. On a GAAP basis, United reported third quarter net income of $387 million.
Continental reported third quarter 2010 net income of $367 million or $2.24 diluted earnings per share excluding certain special items, an improvement of $365 million year-over-year. On a GAAP basis, Continental reported third quarter net income of $354 million.
United Continental Holdings, Inc. is the new holding company for both United Airlines and Continental Airlines. Together with United Express, Continental Express and Continental Connection, these airlines operate a total of approximately 5,800 flights a day to 371 airports on six continents from their hubs in Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Guam, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark Liberty, San Francisco, Tokyo and Washington, D.C. United and Continental are members of Star Alliance, which offers more than 21,200 daily flights to 1,172 airports in 181 countries worldwide through its 28 member airlines.
Copyright Photo: James Helbock. Please click on the photo for additional details.
Continental Airlines’ (Houston) flight attendants will not participate in contract talks with the FAs at United Airlines (Chicago), according to a report in Bloomberg. Continental is doing business as United pending a merger of the two AOCs.
Continental Airlines (Houston) will operate for the last time on September 30 with the last flights of the day. Officially on October 1, 2010 Continental and United Airlines (Chicago) will be merged as “equals” although the United name will survive. Oddly CO’s 1991 livery will live on as the merged airline’s color scheme.
Boeing 737-924 ER N53442 (msn 33536) is the first CO airplane to receive UA titles. Aircraft 285 and 124 should follow.
The first new UA revenue flight is expected to depart Houston (Bush Intercontinental) on Friday morning. More information to follow.
We will be honoring the history of CO over the next few days with additional historical photos.
Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Honoring the past, Boeing 737-924 ER N75436 (msn 33531) departing Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood was painted in the 1947 “Blue Skyway” livery (initially this livery was introduced on metal fuselages).