NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Jim Cramer has often said on his "Mad Money" show that he doesn't buy airline stocks. When you look at the track record of most of the big ones, you can see why.
United, which not that long ago emerged from bankruptcy, is an airline that hasn't existed very long as a merged entity. UAL took on some heavy debt load and unpaid bills when they merged with Continental Airlines.The debt load is a lofty $12.45 billion, yet in the company's most recent quarter it reported total cash of $7.7 billion. So as long as operating costs (especially fuel) remains stable and traffic is strong, it may do better next quarter. At the end of July UAL announced second-quarter earnings results and shareholders felt a bout of airsickness. The equipment-laden air carrier posted a 37% decline in second quarter earnings (year-over-year). Operating margin and profit margin are as shallow as a drought-stricken pond in Nebraska. Yet, the company has produced almost $37 billion in annual revenue, which equates to $114 in revenue-per-share (trailing 12 months). United's second-quarter revenue rose 1.3% to $9.94 billion. Executive V.P. and Chief Revenue Officer Jim Compton said UAL's revenue from corporate accounts rose 16% in the second quarter. When asked by The Wall Street Journal if the airline's problems with on-time arrivals, mishandled luggage and flight cancellations would cause lost business, Compton said, "We don't see any loss of
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