United Airlines trimmed its expected flight capacity in 2022 after the latest wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, caused by the Omicron variant, hit consumer demand.
The carrier said in its fourth-quarter earnings announcement that 2022 started with a scaled-down route. Expected capacity increases will be delayed until later in the year, with United expecting capacity in the current quarter to decline by 16 to 18 percent compared to the first quarter of 2019.
United now expect capacity in 2022 to be "down compared to 2019", after predicting three months ago a 5 per cent increase from 2019 levels.
Despite the impact of the latest coronavirus variant, the airline passed on confidence in spring and summer reservations and did not change its long-term financial goals.
"While Omicron is influencing demand in the short term, we remain optimistic about spring and tense in the summer and beyond," said Scott Kirby, CEO.
The Chicago-based carrier, the second largest in the United States, will also begin flying 52 Pratt & Whitney-powered 777s previously grounded. It will help get "the full airline back to normal operation," management said.
United reported an adjusted net loss of $ 500 million. in the fourth quarter, which took its adjusted net loss for the full year to $ 4.5 billion. Capacity in the fourth quarter fell by 23 percent from two years ago before the onset of the pandemic.
United's costs in the fourth quarter per. vacancy seat mileage, a major measure in the aviation industry, rose 13 percent from two years ago on an adjusted basis. As the company flies fewer vacant seat miles this year, the adjusted seat mile costs will "drop significantly," it said.