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United Sweepstakes gives vaccinated customers a shot to win free flights, a year of travel

United Airlines Boeing 767-322 ER WL N671UA (msn 30026) ZRH (Rolf Wallner). Image: 953835.

United Airlines has made this announcement:

“Your Shot to Fly” sweepstakes aims to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations in support of the Biden administration’s national effort to encourage people to get vaccinated

United is only U.S. airline where customers can upload COVID-19 testing and vaccination records directly to the airline’s app and website via the Travel-Ready Center

United Airlines is offering its loyalty program members the chance to win free flights for a year’s worth of travel, in support of the Biden administration’s national effort to encourage more people to get their COVID-19 vaccination.

Under the terms of the “Your Shot to Fly” sweepstakes, any new or existing MileagePlus® member who uploads their vaccination records to the airline’s mobile app or website between today and June 22 can be entered to win a roundtrip flight for two, in any class of service, to anywhere in the world United flies. United will give away 30 pairs of tickets throughout the month of June. In addition – on July 1 United will announce five randomly selected lucky MileagePlus members who have entered our sweepstakes for a grand prize of travel for a year for themselves and a companion – also in any class of service, anywhere in the world United flies. For video and photos of the upload process, click here.

United remains the only U.S. airline that gives customers the ability to upload COVID-19 testing and vaccination records directly to the airline’s digital platforms including its award-winning mobile app though the airline’s Travel-Ready Center. By uploading your vaccine record with United, customers will save time at the airport and be confident they are ready to fly to destinations where showing proof of vaccination is required.

“We’re proud to do our part to incentivize people to get their shot,” said United CEO Scott Kirby. “Thanks to the vaccine, more and more destinations are opening up for travel – and we know our customers are eager to fly. We’re excited to give people one more reason to get vaccinated so they can reunite with friends and family or take that long-awaited vacation which all could be just one shot away.”

United is giving sweepstakes winners – and all customers – more options to visit dream destinations, as the airline is launching brand-new routes to Croatia, Greece and Iceland, and resuming flights to Italy, Portugal, Spain and France this summer. The airline is also growing its presence in Africa, with new nonstop flights from New York/Newark to Johannesburg, South Africa starting June 3* (*subject to government approval), complementing recently launched service from Washington, D.C. to Accra, Ghana and seasonal nonstop flights from New York/Newark to Cape Town, South Africa. United will also resume service between San Francisco and Tahiti in June.

The sweepstakes is open to any resident of the United States who is at least 18 years old and a MileagePlus member. For more information and to enter, visit United.com/YourShotToFly.

Top Copyright Photo: United Airlines Boeing 767-322 ER WL N671UA (msn 30026) ZRH (Rolf Wallner). Image: 953835.

United Airlines aircraft slide show:

United Airlines reports record first quarter net income of $508 million, announces its fleet plans including 10 Boeing 777-300 ERs

United Airlines (UAL) (United Continental Holdings, Inc.) (Chicago) today reported first-quarter 2015 net income of $582 million, or $1.52 per diluted share, excluding $74 million of special items. Including special items, UAL reported first-quarter net income of $508 million, or $1.32 per diluted share. These results are a record first-quarter profit for the company.

UAL earned a 17.1 percent return on invested capital for the 12 months ended March 31, 2015.
UAL’s consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) increased 0.4 percent for first-quarter 2015 compared to first-quarter 2014.

First-quarter 2015 consolidated unit costs (CASM), excluding special charges, third-party business expenses, fuel and profit sharing, decreased 1.5 percent year-over-year on a consolidated capacity increase of 0.1 percent. First-quarter 2015 CASM, including those items, decreased 13.1 percent year-over-year.

In the quarter, UAL returned approximately $200 million to shareholders as part of its previously announced $1 billion share buyback program.

In the quarter, UAL prepaid approximately $120 million of debt and announced its intention, in the second quarter, to prepay $601 million of its 6 percent notes due 2026 and 2028.

“This quarter we reported a profit of nearly $600 million, excluding special items, a $1 billion improvement compared to the first quarter of 2014, and I’d like to thank the United team for all their great work,” said Jeff Smisek, UAL’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “We continued to improve our operational reliability and deliver products that enhance our customers’ experience, including new aircraft, improved food, new inflight entertainment options and modern facilities. We are making significant progress on our long-term plan to reduce costs, improve our margins and grow our earnings, and expect our second quarter pre-tax margin to be between 12 and 14 percent, excluding special items.”

First-Quarter Revenue and Capacity

For the first quarter of 2015, total revenue was $8.6 billion, a decrease of 1.0 percent year-over-year. First-quarter consolidated passenger revenue increased 0.5 percent to $7.4 billion, compared to the same period in 2014. Ancillary revenue per passenger in the first quarter increased 8.6 percent year-over-year to more than $23 per passenger. First-quarter cargo revenue grew 15.8 percent year-over-year to $242 million. Other revenue in the first quarter decreased 14.2 percent year-over-year, mostly due to the reduction in sales of fuel to a third party. The corresponding expense decline from this reduction appears in third-party business expense.

Consolidated revenue passenger miles increased 0.1 percent and consolidated available seat miles increased 0.1 percent year-over-year for the first quarter, resulting in a first-quarter consolidated load factor of 81.1 percent.

First-quarter 2015 consolidated PRASM increased 0.4 percent and consolidated yield increased 0.4 percent compared to the first quarter of 2014.

“This quarter our PRASM performance reflected good progress on our revenue initiatives,” said Jim Compton, UAL’s vice chairman and chief revenue officer. “We will continue to match capacity with demand while making the appropriate network, fleet and product decisions to enhance revenue and margin performance, while improving our customers’ experience.”

First-Quarter Costs

First-quarter consolidated CASM, excluding special charges, third-party business expense, fuel and profit sharing, decreased 1.5 percent compared to the first quarter of 2014. The improved cost performance was driven by the better-than-expected performance from the company’s Project Quality efficiency program and strong U.S. dollar. First-quarter consolidated CASM including those items decreased 13.1 percent.

First-quarter total operating expenses, excluding special charges, decreased $1.19 billion, or 13.2 percent, year-over-year. Including special charges, total operating expenses decreased $1.18 billion, or 13.0 percent, in the first quarter versus the same period in 2014.

First-Quarter Liquidity and Cash Flow

In the first quarter, UAL generated over $1 billion in free cash flow, and ended the quarter with $7.0 billion in unrestricted liquidity, including $1.35 billion of undrawn commitments under its revolving credit facility. During the first quarter, the company had gross capital expenditures of $794 million, excluding fully reimbursable projects. The company contributed approximately $180 million to its pension plans and made debt and capital lease principal payments of $320 million in the first quarter, including approximately $120 million of prepayments. UAL also announced its intention to prepay the remaining $303 million of 6 percent notes due 2026 on April 1, 2015 and to prepay $298 million of 6 percent notes due 2028 on May 1, 2015.

As part of UAL’s $1 billion share buyback program, the company spent approximately $200 million in share repurchases in the first quarter. Through the first quarter, UAL has returned a total of approximately $520 million to shareholders under the program.

For the 12 months ended March 31, 2015, the company’s return on invested capital was 17.1 percent.

For more information on UAL’s second-quarter 2015 guidance, please visit ir.united.com for the company’s investor update.

Fleet Updates

Today, UAL announced refinements to its fleet plan, which will allow the company to achieve longer-term network needs without increasing its outlook for capacity or gross capital expenditures over the next several years. These adjustments will accelerate the company’s network initiatives as it transitions flying into the mainline operation from the regional operation, increases average gauge and reduces reliance on 50-seat aircraft. As part of this effort, the company will:

Complete the removal of more than 130 50-seat aircraft from its schedule by the end of 2015. UAL will remove additional 50-seat aircraft in 2016 and beyond as aircraft come off lease.

Above Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. United is removing rapidly its smaller regional jets. Operated by ExpressJet Airlines, Embraer ERJ 145XR (EMB-145XR) N12166 (msn 145831) approaches the runway at Baltimore/Washington (BWI).

Exchange 10 787 orders with Boeing for 10 777-300 ERs for delivery beginning in 2016. The new 777-300 ER aircraft will provide attractive upgauge and range opportunities to the company at competitive economics.

Extend the life of 11 additional 767-300 ER aircraft. The company now plans to extend the life of all 21 767-300 ER through investments in winglets, reliability improvements and interior modifications, which will improve financial performance and make the aircraft more customer pleasing.

Above Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. United has made the decision to extend the operating life of all 21 Boeing 767-300 ER aircraft. United is also inserting some international Boeing 777-200 and 757-200 aircraft back into the domestic market.

Reconfigure and transition 10 777-200 aircraft currently used in international markets into the domestic network, and position a number of its trans-Atlantic 757-200 fleet into the domestic and Latin markets, with the extension of the 767-300 ER aircraft.

Acquire additional used narrowbody aircraft. The company is in final negotiations regarding the lease of 10 to 20 used narrowbody aircraft for delivery over the next few years. In addition, the company plans to continue to seek other opportunities to acquire used aircraft to meet its needs as market conditions allow.

These changes will not impact the company’s current 2015 capacity guidance, and are consistent with the company’s focus on capacity discipline, and will not alter the company’s current gross annual capital expenditure guidance of $2.7 billion to $2.9 billion over the next three to four years.

“These changes are part of our strategy to improve operational reliability, grow capacity with demand, and enable us to achieve our long-term goal to improve margins and return on invested capital,” said John Rainey, UAL’s executive vice president and chief financial officer. “Customers tell us they prefer larger aircraft, and these fleet modifications will provide more opportunity for our customers to travel on the type of aircraft they prefer.”

Top Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. United will exchange 10 Boeing 787 orders with Boeing for 10 777-300 ERs for delivery beginning in 2016. According to the carrier, “the new 777-300 ER aircraft will provide attractive upgauge and range opportunities to the company at competitive economics.” Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner N26910 (msn 34826) climbs away from London (Heathrow).

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