United Airlines reports worst ever financial quarter in its 94-year history

posted on 22nd July 2020 by Eddie Saunders
United Airlines reports worst ever financial quarter in its 94-year history

United Airlines (UAL) today announced second quarter 2020 financial results, the most difficult financial quarter in its 94-year history, with a net loss of $1.6 billion, and an adjusted net loss¹ of $2.6 billion. Total operating revenues were down 87.1% year-over-year, on an 87.8 percent decrease in capacity year-over-year. The company’s total liquidity as of the close of business on Monday, July 20, 2020 was approximately $15.2 billion. United now expects liquidity at the end of the third quarter to be over $18 billion.

Cash burn during the second quarter averaged $40 million a day, including $3 million of principal payments and severance expenses. The company currently is forecasting average daily cash burn to be approximately $25 million during the third quarter of 2020 including $6 million of principal repayments and severance expenses.

United believes it did the best job of matching actual capacity to demand among its largest network peers. The company also expects to finish the quarter with the lowest average daily cash burn among large network carriers.

“I am grateful for the professionalism and dedication of our United team members who persevered through an historic and challenging period to deliver for our customers,” said CEO Scott Kirby. “While this unprecedented crisis has been difficult for our team, we expect United produced fewer losses and lower cash burn in the second quarter than any of our large network competitors. We accomplished this by quickly and accurately forecasting the impact that COVID would have on passenger and cargo demand, accurately matching our schedule to that reduced demand, completing the largest debt financing deal in aviation history, and cutting expenses across our business. We believe this quick and aggressive action has positioned United to both survive the COVID crisis and capitalize on consumer demand when it sustainably returns.”

Q2 Financial Actions to Mitigate COVID-19 Impact

The company continued to take aggressive action to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by raising liquidity and reducing cash burn. The company is focused on remaining flexible to position the airline to bounce back when demand recovers.

  • Since the start of the crisis the company has raised a total of $16.1 billion through debt offerings, stock issuances and the CARES Act Payroll Support Program grant and loan, among other items.
  • As of July 2, raised $6.8 billion in financings secured against MileagePlus Holdings in the form of a $3.8 billion bond and a $3.0 billion term loan, with interest rates of 6.5% and LIBOR plus 5.25%, respectively.
  • Entered into an equity distribution agreement for the issuance and sale from time to time of up to 28 million shares of UAL common stock in “at-the-market” offerings. Utilized the at-the-market program to raise $22 million through the sale of approximately 532,000 shares in the second quarter.
  • The company entered into an agreement with a subsidiary of BOC Aviation Limited to finance through a sale leaseback transaction six Boeing 787-9 and 16 Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft that are currently subject to purchase agreements between United and The Boeing Company and are scheduled to deliver in 2020.
  • Raised $250 million in a secured term loan facility.
  • Increased cargo revenue by 36.3% by serving strategic international cargo-only missions and optimizing aircraft capacity with low passenger demand.
  • Reduced total operating costs by 69% versus the second quarter of 2019; excluding special charges3, reduced operating costs by 54%.
  • Full-year 2020 adjusted capital expenditures4 are now expected to be approximately $3.7 billion.
  • In third quarter 2020 the company expects consolidated system capacity to be down 65% versus third quarter 2019. The company will continue to proactively evaluate and cancel flights on a rolling 60-day basis until it sees signs of a recovery in demand, and expects demand to remain suppressed until the availability of a widely accepted treatment and/or vaccine for COVID-19.
  • Offered employees comprehensive voluntary separation packages including flight benefits and continuous pay through Nov. 30, 2020 with more than 6,000 employees opting to participate.

United CleanPlus: Keeping Our Customers and Employees Safe

  • Launched United CleanPlus, to reinforce the company’s commitment to putting health and safety at the forefront of the entire customer experience, with the goal of delivering an industry-leading standard of cleanliness by partnering with Clorox and experts from the Cleveland Clinic.
  • Require all United flight attendants and passengers to wear face coverings.
  • Among first U.S. airlines to enforce policy that bans customers for refusing to follow mask requirements.
  • This week, the company announced it will now maximize air flow volume for all mainline aircraft high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration systems during the entire boarding and deplaning process, helping further reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • First major U.S. airline to ask all passengers to complete a health self-assessment during their check-in process based on recommendations from the Cleveland Clinic.
  • As of July 1, all U.S. airports are electrostatic spraying aircraft interiors.
  • Expanded touchless check-in capabilities to kiosks at more than 215 airports.
  • The company offers free COVID-19 testing to all employees, and checks their temperatures before they begin work at all U.S. airports.
  • In May, started providing individually wrapped hand wipes and snack bag with pretzels, Stroopwafel, water, and a hand sanitizer wipe as customers board to reduce touchpoints.

More Space and Flexibility to Build Our Customers’ Confidence

  • First airline to contact customers when flights are more than 70% full to give them the opportunity to change their plans for free.
  • Upgauged more than 4,000 flights in May and June to give customers more space on-board. Seat factor5 in May was 38.0% and in June was 57.8%.
  • United doubled the size of its schedule from June to July – meaning more flights, more seats, and more space onboard for our customers. Our schedule will expand again in August.
  • Expecting a July load factor of 45%, with less than 15% of flights with more than 70% of seats filled.
  • Waiving change fees for tickets bought through July 31, 2020.

Doing Our Part to Help Fight COVID-19 Since Crisis Began

  • Booked over 2,900 in-kind flights for medical professionals to support COVID-19 response in New Jersey/New York and California.
  • More than 19.2 million miles donated by MileagePlus members and 7.6 million miles matched from United to help organizations providing relief during COVID-19.
  • Donated more than 500,000 pounds of food from United Polaris lounges, United Clubs and catering kitchens to local food banks and charities.
  • Over 7,500 face masks were made from upcycled unused ramp uniforms.
  • More than 800 gallons of hand sanitizer produced by United employees in San Francisco for use by United employees.
  • Donated 15,000 pillows, 2,800 amenity kits and 5,000 self-care products to charities and homeless shelters.
  • More than 2.2 million pounds of food and household goods were processed by United employees at the Houston Food Bank.
  • Flew over 78.6 million pounds of medical equipment and personal protective equipment and 2 million pounds of supplies to support military troops.
  • Operated over 3,800 cargo-only flights to bring 204,000,000 pounds of cargo to communities in need.
  • More than 2,300 United employees worldwide have volunteered, with over 30,800 hours served.