A Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated by United Airlines departs from Los Angeles International Airport.
United Airlines reported losses in the fourth quarter on Wednesday and warned that sales would continue in the early part of 2021 as a coronavirus epidemic.
United performed this quarter compared to what Wall Street expected, based on average estimates compiled by Refinitive.
- Adjusted Earnings Per Share: Loss of $ 7 versus estimated loss of $ 6.60 per share.
- Revenue: $ 3.41 billion versus expected $ 3.44 billion in revenue.
United’s fourth-quarter revenue fell 69% to $ 3.41 billion from a year earlier, when analysts estimated it at $ 3.44 billion. The net loss of $ 1.9 billion in the quarter compares with a profit of $ 641 million a year earlier.
The carrier’s full-year net loss since 2005 was $ 7.07 billion.
The Chicago-based airline reported an adjusted loss of $ 7 per share, compared to estimates of a loss of $ 6.60 per share. This quarter burned an average of approximately $ 33 million per day, including debt and severance payments. The core daily cash burn, which excludes those items, averaged $ 19 million in the fourth quarter, $ 5 million less than in the third quarter.
Career is not expecting a quick change earlier this year. The airline said revenue in the first quarter would be 65% to 70% below 2019 levels. This projected capacity in the first three months of 2021 would be at least 51% lower than the same period in 2019, echoing a similar outlook from American Airlines.
The carrier called 2021 a “transition year” and said it expects to surpass the 2019 margin by 2023.
United’s cargo business again proved to be a bright spot in this epidemic, with a 77% increase in revenue to $ 560 million in the quarter. That unit contributed 16% of fourth quarter revenue, up from just 3% a year earlier. Passenger airlines went on to beef up those businesses last year as customers faced a worldwide crisis in air freight capacity.
Shares of United lost 1.7% following the report.
Airline officials have said that the widespread availability of coronavirus vaccines will improve air travel. But the vaccine rollout has been slow and disorganized, marked by a lack of dose.
Joint officials will call at 10:30 a.m. ET on Thursday to discuss their revenue and outlook.