General Industry

United Profit Beats Forecasts As New Flights From Hubs Pay Off

By Dave Simpson
United Profit Beats Forecasts As New Flights From Hubs Pay Off

United Airlines has reported a fourth-quarter profit that easily beat Wall Street forecasts as the US carrier scheduled more flights out of its hubs and won back customers after a series of public relations disasters.

Chicago-based United attributed its revenue growth to a strategy launched last January to expand its domestic network by adding flights and more options for connections through its seven main hubs, with a particular focus on Chicago, Denver and Houston.

Adjusted earnings per share rose to $2.41 from $1.99 a year earlier, topping analysts' average forecast by 37 cents, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

For 2019, United said it expects adjusted earnings of $10.00 to $12.00 per share.

United posted fourth-quarter net income of $462 million, or $1.70 per share, compared with a profit of $579 million, or $1.98 per share, a year ago.


Boost Plans And Image Rebuild

The airline said it planned to boost its flight network by another 4% to 6% next year, and said it had placed orders for four Boeing 777-300ER aircraft and 24 737 MAX planes.

United said it expected first-quarter unit revenue growth to be between flat and up 3%.

In addition to capacity adds, United reinforced customer service over the past year in an effort to rebuild an image scarred by incidents of passenger abuse and dead pets.

News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.