) --


( UAUA) says it underperformed competitors in the recession and will outperform as the recession ends.

"In the current recessionary environment, we've had disproportionate pressure on business and premium traffic," said CFO Kathryn Mikells on Wednesday. "The good news is that there are signs of recovery on the horizon and we expect to outperform the industry in terms of our unit revenue growth."

The carrier said that in 2007, it ranked second among the five network carriers in passenger revenue per available seat mile, trailing only


(CAL) - Get Report

. But in the third quarter of 2009, United ranked fourth, ahead of

US Airways


. Mikells said that in September, United's performance in terms of unit revenue declines was "slightly better than our peers."

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United is also the leading U.S. carrier to Asia, another area where the impact of the recession was disproportionate. However, Pacific travel is coming back, and Mikells noted that United is in a good position, partially due to its partnership with Japanese carrier


. Regarding the bidding war between





(DAL) - Get Report

over a partnership with


, the other Japanese carrier, Mikells said, "I don't think it hurts to have our peers upping the ante."

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.