United Airlines, a wholly owned subsidiary of UAL Corporation, announced on Monday a 0.6% year-over-year increase in its February traffic, measured by revenue passenger
miles. Capacity, measured by available seat miles, declined 1.2% from the
prior-year quarter, leading to a 150 basis point increase in load factor, or
average occupancy, to 81.4% from 79.9% in the year-ago period.
United Airlines saw a 23% rise in unit revenue, measured by passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM), a key metric in airlines. This was in line with management’s expectations.
Earlier during the month, United and Continental announced the
merger of their operations. This merger would give birth to the world’s largest
airline by size, pushing Delta Airlines to the backseat. The combined company
is expected to generate annual revenues of $29 billion (United reported $16
billion of revenues in 2009 and Continental reported $12.6 billion) and will
save cost by $1.0−1.2 billion by 2013. Sufficient financial flexibility is
witnessed by $7.4 billion in excess cash.