Tue. May 24th, 2022

United Airlines cut off its expected 2022 flight capacity after the latest spate of the Covid-19 pandemic, caused by the Omicron variant, hit consumer demand.

The airline said in its fourth-quarter earnings release that 2022 kicked off with a scaled-down flight list. Projected capacity increases will be postponed until later in the year, with United predicting that capacity will drop by 16 to 18 percent in the current quarter compared to the first quarter of 2019.

United now expect 2022 capacity to be “downwards towards 2019”, after predicting a 5 percent increase from 2019 levels three months ago.

Despite the impact of the latest coronavirus variant, the airline has transferred confidence over spring and summer discussions and has not changed its long-term financial targets.

“While Omicron is influencing demand in the short term, we remain optimistic about spring and excited about summer and beyond,” said CEO Scott Kirby.

The Chicago-based carrier, the second largest in the US, will also start flying 52 Pratt & Whitney-powered 777s, which previously founded. This will help “get the full airline back to normal use”, management said.

United reported an adjusted net loss of $ 500 million in the fourth quarter, bringing its full-year adjusted net loss to $ 4.5 billion. Capacity in the fourth quarter was 23 percent lower than two years ago, before the start of the pandemic.

United’s cost for the fourth quarter per available seat mile, a key measure in the aviation industry, was 13 percent higher than two years ago on an adjusted basis. With the company flying fewer available seat miles this year, those adjusted seat mile costs will “significantly decrease,” he said.

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