United Airlines (UAL) Q4 2023 Earnings

A United Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 plane lands at San Francisco International Airport on March 13, 2019.

Justin Sullivan | Good pictures

United Airlines The Federal Aviation Administration on Monday predicted a first-quarter loss due to grounding. Boeing The 737 Max 9 jet suffered a partial explosion earlier this month Alaska Airlines The flight was operated with that type of aircraft.

United expects to post an adjusted loss of 35 cents to 85 cents a share for the first three months of this year. has filed a The forecast was the first sign for investors of the financial damage caused by the FAA's grounding of flights, released a day after the Jan. 5 incident on Alaska Airlines Flight 1282.

United has 79 aircraft in its fleet, the most of any other carrier, followed by Alaska. United said Monday it expects flights to be grounded by Jan. 26, though its forecast assumes it won't be able to operate flights this month.

Both airlines have canceled hundreds of flights this month while planes have been grounded for inspections. The most common is the Boeing 737 Max 8, which is in fleets at United, American And SouthwestNot affected by grounding order.

United said it expects unit costs excluding fuel to be mid-single-digit percentage points higher in the first quarter than last year, three points of the impact from Max's grounding. It forecast flat unit revenue for the first three months of the year.

United's first-quarter warning comes after a relatively strong holiday season, despite airlines braving several winter storms in the first few weeks of January.

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United shares rose more than 6% in after-hours trading.

In the last three months of 2023, United's net income was $600 million, down nearly 29% from a year ago. Revenue came in at $13.63 billion, up nearly 10% from a year earlier and ahead of analysts' estimates. Adjusting for one-time items, United's fourth-quarter earnings were $2 a share, down from $2.46 a year earlier.

Here's what United had to say Fourth quarter Compared to what Wall Street expected, based on average estimates compiled by LSEG, formerly Refinitiv:

  • Adjusted earnings per share: $2.00 and the expected $1.69
  • Total Revenue: $13.63 billion versus an expected $13.54 billion

United hit its full-year adjusted earnings target of $10 to $12 a share, posting full-year 2023 earnings of $10.05.

“Despite unpredictable headwinds, we delivered our ambitious EPS target — and set new operating records for our customers,” United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said in the earnings release.

The airline said strong travel demand from late last year and solid bookings so far this year. For the full year 2024, United forecasts adjusted earnings per share of $9 to $11, within analysts' estimates.

United executives hold an earnings call at 10:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday, when they may face questions about Boeing's compensation for the grounding. Boeing is scheduled to report Jan. 31 results, Alaska reports, before the market opens on Thursday.

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