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United Continental Arm Posts Robust Traffic Results in May

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United Continental Holdings, Inc.’s (UAL - Free Report) wholly owned subsidiary, United Airlines, reported impressive traffic figures for May. Consolidated traffic, measured in revenue passenger miles (RPMs), was 19.73 billion, up 6.7% from the year-ago figure.

On a year-over-year basis, consolidated capacity (or available seat miles/ASMs) climbed 4.2% to 23.62 billion. Also, load factor (percentage of seats occupied by passengers) expanded 200 basis points (bps) to 83.6% as traffic increase outpaced capacity expansion.

At the end of the first five months of 2018, the airline registered a 5.2% rise in RPMs to 88.05 billion while ASMs grew 4.3% to 108.02 billion, both on a year-over-year basis. Thus, load factor inched up 70 bps to 81.5%.

The company posted an on-time performance of 68.5% and a completion factor of 99.4% for the month.

Other than the company’s impressive May traffic results, its expansion efforts are encouraging. To this end, the carrier announced several new routes from its East Coast hubs at New York/Newark and Washington-Dulles, last month.

The airline also strengthened its relationship with Air New Zealand. Under this new deal, flights connecting Chicago with Auckland will begin operations on Nov 30, 2018. Moreover, United Continental announced that its current seasonal flight services connecting San Francisco with Auckland will fly throughout the year (thrice a week) from April 2019 onward.
Zacks Rank & Key Picks

United Continental has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the broader Transportation sector are GATX Corporation (GATX - Free Report) , SkyWest, Inc. (SKYW - Free Report) and Expeditors International of Washington, Inc. (EXPD - Free Report) . While GATX and SkyWest carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), Expeditors sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Shares of GATX, SkyWest and Expeditors have rallied more than 11%, 46% and 37%, respectively, in a year.

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