United Airlines Third Quarter Financial Results Solidly Beat Expectations; Expects Q4 Adjusted Operating Margin to Exceed 2019

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Company's September TRASM was third best of any month in company history 

CASM-ex1 for the quarter was 1.5 points better than expected

Q4 optimism powered by strong revenue and improving cost trends Best on-time arrival rate and lowest rate of misconnections for any Q3 in history (outside 2020)

United Airlines (UAL) today reported third quarter 2022 financial results, beating expectations on top-line operating revenue, unit costs and adjusted operating margin¹. As a result, the company achieved operating revenue growth of 13.2% versus third quarter 2019, with a 25.5% TRASM improvement in the quarter versus 2019, while CASM-ex1 (cost per available seat mile) came in better than expected, resulting in 11.3% operating margin; 11.5% operating margin on an adjusted basis1.

Looking forward through the end of the year, the airline expects the strong COVID recovery trends to continue to overcome the recessionary pressures in the macroeconomic environment. The airline now expects fourth quarter adjusted operating margin to be above 2019 for the first time. The company also remains confident in the 2023 United Next adjusted pre-tax margin¹ target of ~9%. 

The company believes there are three durable trends for air travel demand that are more than fully offsetting any economic headwinds: air travel is still in the COVID recovery phase, hybrid work gives customers the freedom and flexibility to travel for leisure more often, and external supply challenges will limit industry supply for years to come.

United delivered one of its best third-quarter operational performances of any third quarter in the company's history, outside of 2020. In addition, the company saved more than 135,000 customer connections with its industry leading tool, ConnectionSaver.

“I am grateful to United employees who delivered an incredible performance this quarter taking care of our customers and producing, by most metrics, the best operational quarter in our history,” said United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby. “Despite growing concerns about an economic slowdown, the ongoing COVID recovery trends at United continue to prevail and we remain optimistic that we'll continue to deliver strong financial results in the fourth quarter, 2023 and beyond.”

Third Quarter Financial Results

  • Reported third quarter 2022 net income of $942 million, adjusted net income1 of $927 million.
  • Reported third quarter 2022 capacity down 9.8% compared to third quarter 2019.
  • Reported third quarter 2022 total operating revenue of $12.9 billion, up 13.2% compared to third quarter 2019.
  • Reported third quarter 2022 TRASM of up 25.5% compared to third quarter 2019.
  • Reported third quarter 2022 CASM of up 27.8%, and CASM-ex1 of up 14.5%, compared to third quarter 2019.
  • Reported third quarter 2022 operating margin of 11.3%, adjusted operating margin1 of 11.5%.
  • Reported third quarter 2022 pre-tax margin of 9.0%, adjusted pre-tax margin1 of 8.9%.
  • Reported third quarter 2022 fuel price of $3.81 per gallon.
  • Reported third quarter 2022 payments of long-term debt, finance leases and other financing liabilities of $810 million.
  • Reported third quarter 2022 ending available liquidity2 of $20.4 billion.

Key Highlights

  • Achieved best on-time arrival rate for any Q3 in history (outside 2020).
  • Announced a historic commercial agreement with Emirates that will enhance each airline's network and give customers easier access to hundreds of destinations around the world. Also announced a new direct flight between Newark/New York and Dubai beginning in March 2023, subject to government approval.
  • Unveiled a brand-new United ClubSM in Terminal 3 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
  • Announced a $15 million investment in Eve Air Mobility and a conditional purchase agreement for 200 four-seat electric aircraft plus 200 options, expecting the first deliveries as early as 2026.
  • Launched United for Business Blueprint™ a new platform that will allow corporate customers to fully customize their business travel program contracts with United.
  • Added more than 120 flights for college football fans to see their team on the road.
  • Began offering eligible T-Mobile customers free in-flight Wi-Fi and streaming where available on select domestic and short-haul international flights.

 Customer Experience and Operational Performance

  • Achieved a nearly 5-point improvement in customer satisfaction as measured by Net Promoter Score over the second quarter of 2022.
  • Close to 39 million customers traveled with United in the quarter, 90% of the volume for the same quarter in 2019.
  • Among top carriers, United was the only carrier to outperform the third-quarter of 2019 in on-time departure and on-time arrival performance.
  • Controllable cancellations decreased by 95% in September, compared to January. Controllable cancellations are measured as cancellations that are in control of the airline, such as maintenance.
  • Achieved third-best completion factor for the month of September with a 99% completion rate. This was despite the impacts of Hurricane Ian.

Network

  • Announced a joint business agreement with Air Canada for the Canada-U.S. transborder market, building on the companies' long-standing alliance, that will give more flight options and better flight schedules to customers traveling between the two countries.
  • Announced new direct flights between Washington Dulles Airport and Cape Town beginning Nov. 17, 2022, subject to government approval, becoming the first airline to provide nonstop round trip service from the U.S. capital to South Africa.
  • Reintroduced five international routes for the first time since the start of the pandemic: Chicago to Edinburgh, Scotland; San Francisco to Tokyo-Haneda, Japan; and Guam to Fukuoka, Osaka, and Nagoya, Japan.

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)

  • Hosted 600 girls and young women at 22 events as part of Girls in Aviation Day where attendees got a behind-the-scenes look at careers in aviation.
  • Launched “Game Recognize Game,” in partnership with the PGA Tour and hosted by Roger Steele, a video series that features student-athletes and coaches from golf programs at four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) who discuss the positive impact of United's travel grant program.
  • Recognized in the ESG category for Flight Global's annual Airline Strategy Awards.
  • Earned a top score of 100% on the 2022 Disability Equality Index (DEI) for the seventh consecutive year and was recognized as a “Best Place to Work” for Disability Inclusion.
  • Partnered with the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the University of Southern California (USC) to launch the United Airlines – LA Memorial Coliseum Veteran Small Business Grant Program, which will award $100,000 to veteran-owned small businesses in the fourth quarter.
  • Hosted more than 100 volunteer events for United's 2nd Annual September of Service with more than 1,600 United employees volunteering 6,500 hours.
  • Launched a relief campaign for those affected by Hurricanes Fiona and Ian with customers donating over 3 million miles and $36,630 in cash contributions so far for participating organizations.
  • Commemorated 85 years of service in Denver by doing good in the community including hosting students from the Aviation Career Education (ACE) Academy and holding a school supply drive for kids in need.
  • Through a combination of cargo-only flights and passenger flights, United transported nearly 250 million pounds of cargo, including approximately 20 million pounds of medical shipments, 480,000 pounds of COVID-related shipments, and 900 pounds of military shipments.
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United Airlines and United Express operate more than 4,500 flights a day to 339 airports across five continents. In 2015, United and United Express operated more than 1.5 million flights carrying more than 140 million customers. United is proud to have the world's most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates more than 720 mainline aircraft, and this year, the airline anticipates taking delivery of 21 new Boeing aircraft, including 737 NGs, 787s and 777s, as well as six used Airbus A319 aircraft. The airline is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 192 countries via 28 member airlines. For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL.

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