United Airlines Suspends 2020 Guidance On Coronavirus Uncertainty
United Airlines Inc has withdrawn its full-year 2020 guidance, citing heightened uncertainty over how the duration and spread of the coronavirus to other regions could impact overall air travel demand.
In a regulatory filing, the company stuck to its forecast for the first quarter thanks to cost savings including lower fuel costs, and said that it believes it will be able to deliver earnings growth in 2021.
The company also said that if the virus runs its course by mid-May, and normal travel patterns on trans-Pacific routes resume gradually over five months, it would expect to achieve its previous 2020 earnings forecast of between $11 and $13 per share.
Near-term demand to China has almost disappeared and demand to the rest of its trans-Pacific routes has dropped by 75%, United said.
Most At Risk
Among US airlines, United is the most at risk for lower passenger traffic from virus fears due to its greater international exposure, CFRA analyst Colin Scarola said in a note to investors.
Approximately 40% of United's revenues are generated on international flights, versus less than 30% for Delta Air Lines Inc and American Airlines Group Inc and just 3% for Southwest Airlines Co, Scarola said.