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United Airlines (UAL) Posts Narrower-Than-Expected Loss in Q2

·4 min read

United Airlines UAL incurred a loss (excluding $2.57 from non-recurring items) of $3.91 per share in the second quarter of 2021, narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of $4.17. This is the sixth consecutive quarterly loss incurred by the company as the pandemic continues to dent air-travel demand.

Operating revenues of $5,471 million surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $5,306.9 million. The top line surged more than 100% year over year owing to 541.1% increase in passenger revenues to $4,366 million. The upside reflects on improvement in air-travel demand. Moreover, cargo revenues surged 50.7% year over year to $606 million. Revenues from other sources also surged 27.3% to $499 million.

United Airlines Holdings Inc Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

United Airlines Holdings Inc Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
United Airlines Holdings Inc Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

United Airlines Holdings Inc price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | United Airlines Holdings Inc Quote

Operating Results

Consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM: a key measure of unit revenues) increased 45% year over year to 11.02 cents. Total revenue per available seat mile (TRASM) declined 16.1% to 13.81 cents. On a consolidated basis, average yield per revenue passenger mile declined 33.2% to 15.31 cents from the year-ago quarter’s figure.

Consolidated airline traffic, measured in revenue passenger miles, surged 860.1% year over year as more people took to the skies. Capacity (measured in available seat miles) expanded 342%. Consolidated load factor (percentage of seat occupancy) improved 38.9 percentage points year over year to 72% as traffic increase was more than capacity expansion. Moreover, average aircraft fuel price per gallon increased 66.9% year over year to $1.97. Owing to the uptick in air travel demand following increased vaccinations, fuel gallons consumed were up 206.4% to 625 million.

Adjusted operating costs escalated 27.3% year over year. Consolidated unit cost or cost per available seat mile (CASM) excluding fuel, third-party business expenses, profit-sharing and special charges, dropped 71.2%.

United Airlines exited second-quarter 2021 with cash and cash equivalents of $20.8 billion compared with $11.27 billion at the end of 2020. Long-term debt at the end of the reported quarter was $32.3 billion compared with $24.84 billion at the end of December 2020. This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company exited the quarter with total available liquidity of approximately$23 billion. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Outlook

United Airlines anticipates third-quarter 2021 TRASM growth to be positive. Additionally, capacity is likely to indicate a decline around 26% from third-quarter 2019 levels. The metric is expected to increase 39% on a quarter-over-quarter basis.

Fuel price per gallon is estimated to be approximately $2.17.

The carrier anticipates September-end quarter CASM (excluding fuel, profit sharing, third-party business expenses, and special charges) to be up by approximately 17% from third-quarter 2019 figures. The upside is likely to be driven by lower stage length and lower gauge of its network.

Adjusted pre-tax income is expected to be positive for both third- and fourth-quarter 2021.

The carrier anticipates 2022 CASM-excluding fuel, profit sharing, third-party business expenses and special charges to be lower than 2019 levels. The company expects continued gains as more businesses return by the end of summer and also next year, with a full recovery in demand anticipated by 2023.

Sectorial Snapshot

Within the broader Transportation sector, Delta Air Lines DAL, J.B. Hunt Transport Services JBHT and Kansas City Southern KSU recently reported second-quarter 2021 results.

Delta, carrying a Zacks Rank #3, incurred a loss (excluding $2.09 from non-recurring items) of $1.07 per share. The figure is narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of $1.41. Revenues were substantially higher than the year-ago quarter’s levels, buoyed by recent uptick in air-travel demand. The metric also topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $6,340.9 million.

J.B. Hunt, a Zacks #3-Ranked player, reported better-than-expected second-quarter 2021 results. Quarterly earnings of $1.61 per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.55. Total operating revenues of $2908.4 million outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2722 million and rallied 35.5% year over year.

Kansas City Southern, carrying a Zacks Rank of 3, reported second-quarter 2021 earnings (excluding $6.23 from non-recurring items) of $2.06 per share missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.16. Quarterly revenues of $749.5 million surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $733.1 million and increased 36.8% year over year, driven by 31% rise in overall carload volumes.


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