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 United Airlines Expects To Deliver Peer-Leading Pre-Tax Margin Growth During First-Quarter 2019
   Tuesday, April 16, 2019 4:15:00 PM ET

CHICAGO, April 16, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines (UAL) today announced that a combination of strong top-line revenue performance and effective cost management led to first-quarter pre-tax margin growth that is expected to lead its peers. The company remains confident that it will deliver on its long-term adjusted diluted earnings per share2 (EPS) targets of $10 to $12 in 2019 and $11 to $13 in 2020.

  • Reported first-quarter net income of $292 million, diluted EPS of $1.09, pre-tax earnings of $367 million and pre-tax margin of 3.8 percent, expanding pre-tax margin 1.8 points versus the first quarter of 2018.
  • Reported first-quarter adjusted net income of $309 million, adjusted diluted EPS of $1.15, adjusted pre-tax earnings of $389 million, adjusted pre-tax margin of 4.1 percent, expanding adjusted pre-tax margin 2.1 points versus the first quarter of 2018.1
  • Total passenger revenue increased 7.1 percent versus the first quarter of 2018.
  • First-quarter passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) increased 1.1 percent year-over-year.
  • Consolidated first-quarter unit cost per available seat mile (CASM) decreased 2.1 percent year-over-year.
  • Consolidated first-quarter CASM, excluding special charges, third-party business expenses, fuel and profit sharing, decreased 1.8 percent year-over-year.
  • Repurchased $527 million of its common shares in the first-quarter of 2019, at an average purchase price of $83.68 per share.
  • For the second consecutive quarter the airline reported adjusted pre-tax margin expansion.

"We delivered another strong financial quarter in which we made important progress on our customer investments while making strategic decisions to manage our costs and producing pre-tax margin growth that we expect will lead our peers," said Oscar Munoz, chief executive officer of United Airlines. "That's why we are more confident than ever that we'll reach our long-term adjusted EPS targets we unveiled last year. I want to thank all 93,000 of our employees for their incredible work as we overcame some unique challenges and refocused our efforts in 2019 toward elevating the United experience for our customers."

For more information on UAL's second-quarter and full-year 2019 guidance, please visit for the company's investor update.

First-Quarter 2019 Highlights

Operations and Employees

  • Flew the most revenue passengers ever for a first quarter in company history.
  • Despite a weather-challenged first quarter, achieved second-highest mainline on-time departures rate performance versus the major U.S. airlines.
  • Launched Backstage 2019 which will bring all 25,000 flight attendants to Chicago for an event which will help us elevate the way customers feel about their United experience.
  • Earned 100 percent score on Human Rights Campaign Foundation's annual scorecard on LGBTQ workplace equality.
  • Broke ground on a state-of-the-art Technical Operations Center at Los Angeles International Airport that will enable the airline to provide exceptional service for all of its aircraft fleets.
  • Announced headquarters will remain at the iconic Willis Tower in the airline's hometown of Chicago, while making investments to completely transform the current workspace and experience.

Customer Experience

  • Introduced a re-imagined mobile app to customers around the world featuring a more dynamic experience that updates customers at each step of their travel journey while adding enhancements that make managing travel easier.
  • Announced free live DIRECTV on 211 Boeing 737 United aircraft equipped with seat back TV, providing more than 100 channels of live television.
  • Introduced the relaunch of the United MileagePlus X app, which offers United MileagePlus® members a unique opportunity to earn award miles for everyday purchases.
  • Opened the fifth of its award-winning United Polaris Lounges at Los Angeles International Airport.
  • Opened a brand-new 5,000-square-foot United Club at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport - the first of four new United Club locations set to open in 2019.
  • Announced next step in airline's commitment to making customers more comfortable by adding more than 1,600 United Polaris® business class and United First seats to nearly 250 international and domestic aircraft.
  • Launched new state-of-the-art United Meetings product, available on the airline's business portal, United Jetstream, which makes managing travel and redeeming rewards for meetings and events quicker and more streamlined.
  • Became the first U.S. airline to offer non-binary gender options throughout all booking channels in addition to providing the option to select the title "Mx." during booking and in a MileagePlus customer profile, providing customers the ability to identify themselves corresponding with what is indicated on their passports or identification.


  • Began new service from four hubs to 18 cities in 12 states and one province and launched new nonstop seasonal service between San Francisco and Amsterdam.
  • Announced 11 new domestic routes.
  • Filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation for a total of six daily nonstop flights to Tokyo Haneda Airport from six of the airline's hubs.


  • Announced a brand new and revolutionary regional flying experience with the addition of the two-cabin, 50-seat Bombardier CRJ 550 aircraft, offering customers on key regional routes more legroom, storage and amenities than any other 50-seat regional aircraft operating today.
  • Became first carrier in the world to operate all three Dreamliner models as its first 787-10 began regular service in January from Los Angeles International Airport to Newark Liberty International Airport.
  • Took delivery of four Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft (prior to the March 13, 2019 Federal Aviation Administration order grounding U.S.-registered 737 MAX aircraft) and four Boeing 787-10 aircraft.

Community and Environment

  • Donated $1 million to Feeding America's Shutdown Response Fund to directly support the food banks providing food for families of federal workers.
  • Launched Her Art Here, a first-of-its-kind contest designed to find and uplift underrepresented women artists by providing a chance to paint a canvas like no other - a United Airlines aircraft.

Earnings Call

UAL will hold a conference call to discuss its first-quarter 2019 financial results and its financial and operational outlook for second-quarter and full-year 2019 on Wednesday, April 17, at 9:30 a.m. Central time /10:30 a.m. Eastern time. A live, listen-only webcast of the conference call will be available at . The webcast will be available for replay within 24 hours of the conference call and then archived on the website for three months.

Every customer. Every flight. Every day.

In 2019, United is focusing more than ever on its commitment to its customers, looking at every aspect of its business to ensure that the carrier keeps customers' best interests at the heart of its service. In addition to today's announcement, United recently announced that luxury skincare line Sunday Riley will make products exclusively for United customers to experience in amenity kits, released a re-imagined version of the most downloaded app in the airline industry and made DIRECTV free for every passenger on 211 aircraft, offering more than 100 channels on seat back monitors on more than 30,000 seats.

About United

United's shared purpose is "Connecting People. Uniting the World." We are more focused than ever on our commitment to customers through a series of innovations and improvements designed to help build a great experience: Every customer. Every flight. Every day. Together, United Airlines and United Express operate approximately 4,900 flights a day to 355 airports across five continents. In 2018, United and United Express operated more than 1.7 million flights carrying more than 158 million customers. United is proud to have the world's most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates 779 mainline aircraft and the airline's United Express carriers operate 569 regional aircraft. United is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 193 countries via 28 member airlines. For more information, visit , follow @United on Twitter and Instagram or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol "UAL".

1 Excludes special charges, the mark-to-market impact of financial instruments and imputed interest on certain finance leases. Reconciliations of non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measures are included in the tables accompanying this release.
2Excludes special charges and the mark-to-market impact of financial instruments, the nature of which are not determined at this time, and imputed interest on certain finance leases.  Accordingly, UAL is not providing earnings guidance on a GAAP basis.

Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Certain statements included in this release are forward-looking and thus reflect our current expectations and beliefs with respect to certain current and future events and anticipated financial and operating performance. Such forward-looking statements are and will be subject to many risks and uncertainties relating to our operations and business environment that may cause actual results to differ materially from any future results expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements. Words such as "expects," "will," "plans," "anticipates," "indicates," "believes," "estimates," "forecast," "guidance," "outlook," "goals," "targets" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Additionally, forward-looking statements include statements that do not relate solely to historical facts, such as statements which identify uncertainties or trends, discuss the possible future effects of current known trends or uncertainties, or which indicate that the future effects of known trends or uncertainties cannot be predicted, guaranteed or assured. All forward-looking statements in this release are based upon information available to us on the date of this release. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, changed circumstances or otherwise, except as required by applicable law. Our actual results could differ materially from these forward-looking statements due to numerous factors including, without limitation, the following: our ability to execute our strategic operating plan, including our growth, revenue-generating and cost-control initiatives; general economic conditions (including interest rates, foreign currency exchange rates, investment or credit market conditions, crude oil prices, costs of aircraft fuel and energy refining capacity in relevant markets); risks of doing business globally, including instability and political developments that may impact our operations in certain countries; demand for travel and the impact that global economic and political conditions have on customer travel patterns; our capacity decisions and the capacity decisions of our competitors; competitive pressures on pricing and on demand; changes in aircraft fuel prices; disruptions in our supply of aircraft fuel; our ability to cost-effectively hedge against increases in the price of aircraft fuel, if we decide to do so; the effects of any technology failures or cybersecurity breaches; disruptions to services provided by third-party service providers; potential reputational or other impact from adverse events involving our aircraft or operations, the aircraft or operations of our regional carriers or our code share partners or the aircraft or operations of another airline; our ability to attract and retain customers; the effects of any terrorist attacks, international hostilities or other security events, or the fear of such events; the mandatory grounding of aircraft in our fleet; disruptions to our regional network; the impact of regulatory, investigative and legal proceedings and legal compliance risks; the success of our investments in other airlines, including in other parts of the world; industry consolidation or changes in airline alliances; the ability of other air carriers with whom we have alliances or partnerships to provide the services contemplated by the respective arrangements with such carriers; costs associated with any modification or termination of our aircraft orders; disruptions in the availability of aircraft, parts or support from our suppliers; our ability to maintain satisfactory labor relations and the results of any collective bargaining agreement process with our union groups; any disruptions to operations due to any potential actions by our labor groups; labor costs; an outbreak of a disease that affects travel demand or travel behavior; the impact of any management changes; extended interruptions or disruptions in service at major airports where we operate; U.S. or foreign governmental legislation, regulation and other actions (including Open Skies agreements, environmental regulations and the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union); the seasonality of the airline industry; weather conditions; the costs and availability of aviation and other insurance; the costs and availability of financing; our ability to maintain adequate liquidity; our ability to comply with the terms of our various financing arrangements; our ability to realize the full value of our intangible assets and long-lived assets;-; and other risks and uncertainties set forth under Part I, Item 1A., "Risk Factors," of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, as well as other risks and uncertainties set forth from time to time in the reports we file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

-tables attached-

On January 1, 2019, United Continental Holdings, Inc. ("UAL") adopted Accounting Standards Update No. 2016-02, Leases ("Topic 842"). As such, certain previously reported 2018 figures are adjusted in this report on a basis consistent with Topic 842.
















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