Published on : Friday, January 24, 2014
United Airlines (UAL) today reported full-year 2013 net income of $1.084 billion, an increase of 84 percent year-over-year, or $2.84 per diluted share, excluding $513 million of special charges. Including special charges, UAL reported full-year 2013 net income of $571 million, or $1.53 per diluted share. UAL reported fourth-quarter 2013 net income of $298 million, or $0.78 per diluted share, excluding $158 million of special charges. Including special charges, UAL reported fourth-quarter 2013 net income of $140 million, or$0.37 per diluted share.
UAL earned a 10.0 percent return on invested capital in 2013.
UAL generated $38.3 billion of revenue in 2013, an increase of 3.0 percent year-over-year.
United’s consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) increased 3.1 percent in 2013 compared to 2012.
Full-year 2013 consolidated unit costs (CASM), holding fuel rate and profit sharing constant and excluding special charges and third-party business expense, increased 3.8 percent year-over-year on a consolidated capacity reduction of 1.4 percent. Full-year 2013 consolidated CASM increased 1.2 percent year-over-year.
UAL ended 2013 with $6.1 billion in unrestricted liquidity.
Employees earned $190 million in profit sharing for full-year 2013, which will be distributed on Feb. 14.
For the 10th consecutive year, readers of Global Traveler magazine voted United’s MileagePlus program the Best Frequent-Flyer program.
“We significantly improved our operations, customer service and financial results in 2013 thanks to the outstanding work of the United team,” said Jeff Smisek, UAL’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Our goals for 2014 are to provide even more reliable operations, great customer service and materially better financial performance.”
Fourth-Quarter Revenue and Capacity
For the fourth quarter of 2013, total revenue was $9.3 billion, an increase of 7.2 percent year-over-year. Fourth-quarter consolidated passenger revenue increased 5.9 percent to $8.0 billion, compared to the same period in 2012. Other revenue in the fourth quarter increased 22.2 percent year-over-year to $1.1 billion, in large part due to an agreement to sell jet fuel to a third party. Ancillary revenue per passenger in the fourth quarter increased 15 percent year-over-year to nearly $21 per passenger. Fourth-quarter cargo revenue decreased 9.5 percent versus the fourth quarter of 2012 to$220 million.
Consolidated revenue passenger miles (RPMs) increased 2.7 percent on a consolidated capacity (available seat miles) increase of 2.6 percent year-over-year for the fourth quarter, resulting in a fourth-quarter consolidated load factor of 82.4 percent.
Fourth-quarter 2013 consolidated PRASM increased 3.2 percent compared to the same period in 2012. Consolidated yield for the fourth quarter of 2013 increased 3.0 percent year-over-year.
“Our employees delivered improved operational performance in 2013, and our customer satisfaction scores increased throughout the year,” said Jim Compton, UAL’s vice chairman and chief revenue officer. “We are growing our revenue by building on the strengths of our leading route network and leveraging the investments we’ve made in our fleet, product and technology.”
Passenger revenue for the fourth quarter of 2013 and period-to-period comparisons of related statistics for UAL’s mainline and regional operations are as follows:
4Q 2013 Passenger
4Q 2012 Yield vs.
4Q 2012 Available Seat
Domestic $3,160 7.0% 4.5% 3.8% 2.5%
Atlantic 1,299 7.0% 2.2% 2.0% 4.7%
Pacific 1,124 (2.8%) (5.0%) (1.6%) 2.4%
Latin America 622 5.4% 7.0% 5.7% (1.5%)
International 3,045 2.9% 0.2% 1.3% 2.6%
Mainline 6,205 4.9% 2.3% 2.5% 2.6%
Regional 1,772 9.4% 6.2% 3.8% 3.0%
Consolidated $7,977 5.9% 3.2% 3.0% 2.6%
Total operating expenses decreased $73 million, or 0.8 percent, in the fourth quarter versus the same period in 2012. Excluding special charges, fourth-quarter total operating expenses increased $201 million, or 2.3 percent, year-over-year.
Fourth-quarter consolidated CASM decreased 3.3 percent year-over-year. Fourth-quarter consolidated CASM, excluding special charges and third-party business expense, decreased 1.1 percent compared to fourth quarter 2012. Third-party business expense was $198 million in the fourth quarter of 2013.
In the fourth quarter, consolidated CASM, excluding special charges and third-party business expense and holding fuel rate and profit sharing constant, increased 0.1 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2012.
“We closed out 2013 on a strong note with solid earnings improvement,” said John Rainey, UAL’s executive vice president and chief financial officer. “We are eager to build upon the groundwork laid last year by delivering even better financial results in 2014 and continuing to make significant improvements in our capital structure.”
Liquidity, Cash Flow and Return on Invested Capital
UAL ended the year with $6.1 billion in unrestricted liquidity, including $1 billion of undrawn commitments under a revolving credit facility. During the fourth quarter, the company had gross capital expenditures of $760 million. The company made debt and capital lease principal payments of $256 million in the fourth quarter and $2.3 billion for the full year. The company’s return on invested capital for 2013 was 10.0 percent.
Operations, Employees and Customer Service
For the fourth quarter, United recorded a mainline on-time arrival rate (domestic and international) of 80.6 percent. For the full year, United recorded a mainline on-time arrival rate of 79.3 percent. The on-time arrival rate is based on flights arriving within 14 minutes of scheduled arrival time. United employees earned cash incentive payments for on-time performance totaling $54 million during 2013.
United’s nearly 28,000 fleet service, passenger service and storekeeper employees ratified joint collective bargaining agreements the company reached with the International Association of Machinists.
United completed the first phase of its new customer service training for all flight attendants, airport agents and reservation agents worldwide.
More than 64,000 United Airlines employees debuted newly designed uniforms.
Finance, Network and Fleet
The company outlined its long-term plans to reduce costs, increase revenue and enhance profitability while delivering competitive reliability and excellent customer service. United outlined a multi-year $2 billion annual cost-savings program and set a goal to grow its ancillary revenue at least $700 million annually by 2017.
United replaced its $1.2 billion term loan due 2014 with a new $900 million term loan due 2019, and reduced the principal balance by $300 million in the process. Simultaneously, United entered into a new $1.0 billion revolving credit facility due 2018 that replaced the company’s $500 million undrawn revolving credit facility due 2015, bolstering the company’s unrestricted liquidity position.
United raised $929 million of debt financing through enhanced equipment trust certificates at an average interest rate of approximately 4.5 percent. The debt proceeds are being used to finance the acquisition of three newBoeing 787-8 and 18 new Boeing 737-900ER aircraft.
United issued two tranches of unsecured debt in 2013: $300 million of senior unsecured notes due 2018 at an interest rate of 6.375 percent and $300 million of senior unsecured notes due 2020 at an interest rate of 6 percent.
The company expanded its industry-leading global route network, launching nonstop flights to numerous international destinations including Guatemala City; Nassau, Bahamas; Paris; San Jose, Costa Rica; Shannon,Ireland; St. Lucia; Tokyo; and Edmonton, Alberta, Fort McMurray, Alberta, and Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.United also announced new nonstop international flights beginning in 2014 to Chengdu, China; Edinburgh, Scotland; Madrid; Munich; Taipei, Taiwan; and Tokyo. The company started 19 new domestic routes in 2013, including the company’s first service to Dickinson, N.D.; Fayetteville, N.C.; Santa Fe, N.M. and Sun Valley, Idaho.United also announced 10 new domestic markets for 2014 including the company’s first service to Atlantic City, N.J.; Elmira, N.Y.; Pueblo, Colo.; and Topeka, Kan.
The company took delivery of two new Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners in 2013, bringing its total Dreamliner fleet to eight aircraft. The company also took delivery of 24 new Boeing 737-900ERs in 2013. United exited from scheduled service 23 Boeing 757-200s and the last of its Boeing 737-500s and Boeing 767-200s.
The company increased its Dreamliner order to 65 aircraft with an order for the Boeing 787-10. The company also converted its existing order for 25 Airbus A350-900s into larger A350-1000s and added an additional 10 aircraft to the order, totaling 35 aircraft. These new aircraft will enable United to expand its network, further modernize its international widebody fleet by replacing older, less efficient aircraft to reduce fuel and operating costs, and enhance the customer experience.
United announced it will introduce 70 new 76-seat Embraer 175 aircraft into the United Express fleet beginning in 2014. These aircraft will enhance the customer experience, improve fuel efficiency and provide additional ancillary revenue opportunities.
Product, Loyalty Program and Facilities
United debuted its new brand campaign, featuring its iconic “Fly the Friendly Skies” tagline, reinterpreted for today’s travelers. The new campaign focuses on United’s commitment to being “user-friendly,” which means providing customers great service, easy-to-use technology and product enhancements.
The company continued outfitting aircraft with satellite Wi-Fi across its entire mainline fleet. The airline now offers Wi-Fi on nearly 170 aircraft and is outfitting one aircraft per day with satellite Wi-Fi.
United completed an extensive retrofit of 15 Boeing 757-200s that fly its p.s. (Premium Service) routes betweenNew York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and both San Francisco and Los Angeles, making it the first and only airline to offer premium-cabin, flat-bed seats on every scheduled transcontinental flight.
United reached a milestone of offering flat-bed seats in its premium cabins on every scheduled long-haul international flight. The airline offers more flat-bed premium cabin seats and more extra-legroom, economy-class seating than any airline in North America.
The company launched an all-new United mobile app and began rolling out new, more intuitive kiosk technology at the airport, offering customers innovative new features and better functionality while also providing United more opportunity to sell its products effectively.
United launched subscription options that offer customers access to Economy Plus seating or pre-paid checked baggage charges for a year. The company relaunched the Premier Access program offering customers access to expedited check-in, security checkpoint lanes and priority boarding, as well as a new baggage delivery option.
In 2013, Business Traveler magazine awarded United Best Airline for North American Travel and for the 10th consecutive year, readers of Global Traveler magazine voted United’s MileagePlus program the Best Frequent-Flyer program. United also has the most saver-style award-seat availability among the largest U.S. global airlines according to the 2013 Switchfly Reward Seat Availability Survey.
United opened its new Terminal B south concourse, a 225,000-square-foot facility dedicated to United Expressregional flights at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport. The airline signed a 20-year lease extension at Newark Liberty, committing to invest an additional $150 million in facility upgrades. United in 2013 launched a new in-line checked baggage inspection system in Terminal C at Newark Liberty that will double the system’s capacity while improving safety and reliability. The company also completed construction on a new widebody aircraft maintenance hangar at Washington Dulles International Airport, and neared completion of a widebody hangar at Newark Liberty International Airport.
Tags: United Airlines