United Airways Data A Higher-than-Expectation Loss From The Pandemic Stoop And Reduces Money Use


A United Airlines plane takes off from San Francisco International Airport.

Gary Hershorn | Corbis News | Getty Images

United Airlines posted a better-than-expected third quarter loss on Wednesday as the coronavirus pandemic continued to drag demand for air travel but the airline cut its cash burn.

Here's how United performed compared to Wall Street's expectations, based on Refinitiv's average estimates:

  • Adjusted earnings per share: a loss of $ 8.16 versus an expected loss of $ 7.53 per share.
  • Revenue: $ 2.49 billion versus $ 2.50 billion expected.

The Chicago-based airline posted a net loss of $ 1.8 billion for the three months ended September 30, compared with a profit of $ 1 billion a year ago. Revenue for the three months ended September 30 was down 78% from $ 11.38 billion a year ago to $ 2.49 billion, roughly in line with Wall Street expectations. Without one-time items, United posted loss per share of $ 8.16, compared to analysts' estimates of loss per share of $ 7.53.

United reduced its daily cash burn for the quarter to $ 25 million per day, including debt and severance payments, from an average of $ 40 million per day in the previous quarter.

United shares fell 1% in post-market trading after their report.

Airlines struggled during the pandemic, particularly large airlines like United, Delta and American, which relied heavily on international and business areas, two of the worst hit segments.

United began vacationing around 13,000 employees earlier this month after terms of federal payroll support expired. United and other airlines are pushing for additional help, but Congress and the White House have repeatedly failed to reach a coronavirus stimulus deal that could include the additional relief for airlines.

United executives will guide investors through the results on Thursday at 10:30 am ET.

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Steven Gregory