reported a narrower first-quarter loss as unit revenue increased.
The net loss was $82 million, or 49 cents a share. A year earlier, the carrier lost $382 million, or $2.64 cents. Excluding items, United lost $92 million, or 55 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had estimated a loss of 82 cents.
Revenue rose 15% to $4.2 billion, in line with estimates.
On an operating basis, United reported a $58 million profit.
"We are pleased to report an operating profit in what is traditionally a weak quarter for United compared to our peers," said CEO Glenn Tilton, in a prepared statement. "We are committed to margin leadership, having produced the best net margin of the five major carriers this quarter."
During the quarter, passenger revenue per available seat mile grew by 19%, led by a 31% increase in the Pacific and a 29% increase in Latin America.
On the cost side, consolidated cost per available seat mile, excluding fuel and special items, rose by 4.8%. Capacity declined by 3.3%. Consolidated CASM, excluding fuel and items, rose by 6.5%. Winter storms in February reduced revenue by about $40 million.
United ended the quarter with $3.8 billion in cash, including unrestricted cash of $3.5 billion.
-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.