United Airlines posts $194 million loss in Q1 2023 due to cost overruns

While revenues surged compared to Q1 2022, United Airlines still ended Q1 2023 with a net loss
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United Airlines announced its Q1 2023 financial results, indicating a net loss despite surging revenues throughout the three-month period. 

The US airline earned $10.2 billion in revenue in Q1 2023, a 61.8% increase from $6.3 billion recorded in Q1 2022. However, with costs continuing to grow industrywide, the carrier recorded an operating loss was $43 million, while the net loss was $194 million. 

“I am extremely proud of the United team’s performance during the first quarter of 2023. Our industry-leading operational performance contributed to an all-time high operating cash flow in the first quarter and keeps us on track to achieve our cost targets for the full year,” commented Scott Kirby, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of United Airlines. 

Throughout the quarter, the Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)-based airline welcomed 36.8 million passengers with an average load factor of 79.9%. It operated 1,337 aircraft, including those that are associated with its regional carriers at United Express. 

In comparison, United Airlines ended Q4 2022 with a net income of $843 million, earning $12.4 billion of revenue while carrying 38.2 million passengers on 1,338 aircraft. The overall result for 2022 was a net income of $737 million, its first profit since 2019. 

Looking forward, Kirby noted that while the company is monitoring “macroeconomic risks carefully,” United Airlines still sees that demand remains strong on its routes, especially on its international network where the airline is “growing at twice the domestic rate”.  

“We expect all of these factors will keep us on track to achieve our full-year adjusted diluted EPS target,” Kirby concluded.  

The company’s year-end diluted Earnings per Share (EPS) goal is between $10 and $12. In 2022, the diluted EPS was $2.23, while in 2019 it was $11.58. 

Some highlights from Q1 2023 include the appointment of a new C-level executive, Oscar the Grouch to oversee the Chief Trash Officer (CTO) role, and the launch of several new routes across the carrier’s South Pacific route network.  

Furthermore, United Airlines officially launched its codeshare partnership with Emirates on March 30, 2023, coinciding with a new route from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Dubai International Airport (DXB) on March 25, 2023.  

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