Shares of United (UAL - Free Report) were down more than 2.7% in early morning trading Wednesday, as investors are finally starting to get a clearer picture of the impact that Hurricane Harvey has had on the airliner’s business.
The dip comes in the wake of United CFO Andrew Levy’s comments at an investor conference on Wednesday. Levy warned that cancellations in Houston, which is United’s second-largest hub, had a significant impact on the company’s revenue.
“We had to walk away form a large amount of revenue during what is an important time of year for us,” Levy said. “Local demand for obvious reasons went away.”
Just moments before Levy spoke, United lowered its third-quarter passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) outlook to better reflect the impact of the storm. United now expected PRASM to be down between 2% and 5% this quarter, lower than the previously announced range of up 1% to down 1%.
Overall, Levy said that about 150 basis points of the revenue guidance adjustment are due to the storm, making Hurricane Harvey the outside event with the “largest operational impact in [United’s] history.”
On top of Harvey, Levy mentioned that several other factors—including the implementation of basic economy fare, competition from budget carriers, and declines in the Pacific regions—contributed to the PRASM outlook cut.
Currently, UAL is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), although it stands to reason that today’s guidance adjustment could initiate earnings estimate revisions and impact the stock’s Zacks Rank. Shares of UAL have moved more than 10% lower over the past four weeks.
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