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United reports 1Q loss on higher costs

Joshua Freed, AP Airlines Writer

FILE - In this April 16, 2010 file photo, Continental Airlines First Officer Pamela Perdue conducts a pre-flight inspection of a 767 airplane at George Bush Intercontinental Airport Friday in Houston. United Continental reports quarterly financial results before the market opens on Thursday, April 25, 2013. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, file)

The parent of United Airlines reported a first-quarter loss of $417 million, as costs rose faster than fares.

Still, the result was an improvement from a year ago. The net loss for United Continental Holdings Inc. was $1.26 per share, down from a loss of $448 million, or $1.36 per share, in 2012's first quarter.

The airline says it would have lost 98 cents per share without special charges, including $70 million in expenses for its merger with Continental. Analysts had been expecting it to lose $1.09 per share.

Revenue rose 1.4 percent to $8.72 billion, matching analyst expectations. A measure of fares paid per mile rose 1.9 percent.

Traffic fell 1.2 percent. United cut flying capacity almost 5 percent, so planes were fuller. Occupancy rose above 81 percent.