United Continental Airlines Expects Strong Growth in 4th Quarter

United Continental Holdings Inc. expects strong growth in the ongoing fourth quarter and fiscal year in the back drop of rising fuel prices and a slow moving economy.

The largest U.S. airline expects passenger revenue per available seat miles to grow 8.5-9.5% in the current quarter and 9-10% in the fiscal year 2011.

United Continental is taking action to lower its overall costs including fuel price. It expects fuel prices to be $3.22 per gallon and $3.07 per gallon for the ongoing quarter and fiscal year, respectively. The company has managed to successfully pass the increased fuel cost to customers in the form of fare hikes. United Continental has imposed about 10 broad fare increases this year.

United will be receiving nineteen Boeing 737-900ERs and six Boeing 787s in 2012. The deliveries of the 737s are expected at a rate of two to three a month beginning in early 2012. United has a total of twenty-five 787s on order, as well as twenty-five Airbus A350s. United also has options for 50 additional 787s and fifty additional A350s.

United Continental recalled 201 furloughed ex-United pilots on December 8th, and expects to recall 100-200 more in the beginning of 2012.