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United notes a loss of $ 646 million as omicron casts a shadow

United Airlines lost $ 646 million in the fourth quarter and said Wednesday that the current increase in COVID-19 cases will hurt its results in the March quarter.

The airline said it expects its revenue in the first quarter to fall by 20% to 25% compared to the same period in 2019. Costs in addition to fuel will increase by about 15% per year. seat.

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The Omicron variant of the virus appears in United's plans for 2022. The airline had once hoped to fly 5% more flights than it did in 2019, but now expects to fly less this year than it did before the pandemic.

United said omicron is hurting short-term bookings, but the outlook is better for travel in the spring and summer. The Chicago-based airline said it is on track to reach long-term financial targets for 2023 and 2026.

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Company officials are scheduled to discuss the results with analysts on Thursday.

United's fourth-quarter deficit compared to a loss of $ 1.9 billion a year ago and a profit of $ 641 million in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Excluding special items, the company said its adjusted loss was $ 1.60 per share. Analysts expected a larger loss of $ 2.09 per share, according to a FactSet study.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
UAL UNITED AIRLINES HOLDINGS INC. 44.40 -1.21 -2.65%

Revenue was $ 8.19 billion, 25% over the same period in 2019, but better than the $ 7.96 billion analysts had forecast. Passengers flew 28% fewer miles than they did two years earlier.

United lost $ 1.96 billion throughout 2021, even after receiving $ 4 billion in federal pandemic assistance to help cover labor costs.

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The airline ended the year with 84,100 employees, down from 95,900 at the end of 2019.

The shares in United Airlines Holdings Inc. decreased about 2.4% in extended trading after the publication of the earnings report.

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