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United Airlines (UAL) Q1 Earnings & Revenues Top Estimates

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United Airlines Holdings, Inc. (UAL - Free Report) reported first-quarter 2024 loss per share (excluding 23 cents from non-recurring items) of 15 cents, which was narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate loss of 53 cents. In the year-ago reported quarter, UAL reported a loss of 63 cents per share.

Operating revenues of $12,539 million beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $12,428.4 million. The top line increased 9.7% year over year due to upbeat air-travel demand. This was driven by a 10.1% rise in passenger revenues (which accounted for 90.2% of the top line) to $11,313 million. Almost 39,325 passengers traveled on UAL flights in the first quarter, up 6.8% year over year.

Cargo revenues fell 1.8% year over year to $391 million. Revenues from other sources jumped 10.3% from the first quarter of 2023 to $835 million.

Other Details of Q1

Below, we present all comparisons (in % terms) with the first quarter of 2023 figures unless otherwise stated.

Consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile (a key measure of unit revenues) inched up 1%. Total revenue per available seat mile grew 0.6% to 17.50 cents. The average yield per revenue passenger mile rose 0.7% to 19.70 cents.

Airline traffic, measured in revenue passenger miles, grew 9.3%. Capacity, measured in available seat miles, expanded 9.1%. Consolidated load factor (percentage of seat occupancy) expanded 0.2 percentage points to 80.1%.

Average aircraft fuel price per gallon fell 13.5% to $2.88. Fuel gallons consumed were up 7.7%.

Operating expenses (on a reported basis) increased 8.4% to $12,440 million. Consolidated unit cost or cost per available seat mile (CASM), excluding fuel, third-party business expenses, profit-sharing and special charges, increased 4.7% to 13.13 cents.

UAL exited the first quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $8,401 million compared with $6,058 million at the fourth-quarter end. Long-term debt was $23,059 million compared with $25,057 million at the prior-quarter end.


For second-quarter 2024, adjusted earnings per share (EPS) is expected to be between $3.75 and $4.25.

For 2024, adjusted EPS is anticipated to be between $9 and $11. Adjusted capital expenditures are expected to be around $6.5 billion.

Due to aircraft delivery delays, UAL now anticipates 61 narrowbody aircraft and five widebody aircraft deliveries in 2024. Additionally, the company anticipates almost 100 narrowbody aircraft deliveries (on average) from 2025 through 2027 per year.

Currently, UAL carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Performances of Other Transportation Companies

J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc.’s (JBHT - Free Report) first-quarter 2024 earnings of $1.22 per share missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.53 and declined 35.5% year over year.

JBHT’s total operating revenues of $2,944 million missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3,117.1 million and fell 8.8% year over year. Total operating revenues, excluding fuel surcharge revenue, fell 7% year over year.

Delta Air Lines (DAL - Free Report) reported first-quarter 2024 earnings (excluding 39 cents from non-recurring items) of 45 cents per share, which comfortably beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 36 cents. Earnings increased 80% on a year-over-year basis.

Revenues of $13.75 billion surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $12.84 billion and increased 7.75% on a year-over-year basis, driven by strong air-travel demand. Adjusted operating revenues (excluding third-party refinery sales) came in at $12.56 billion, up 6% year over year.

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