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United Airlines Loses $1.9 Billion in Latest Quarter

United Airlines sees revenue slump by more than two-thirds in the fourth quarter as coronavirus shutdowns continue to hit travel hard.
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United Airlines Holdings, Inc.  (UAL) - Get United Airlines Holdings Inc. Report posted a narrower-than-expected fourth-quarter loss after the bell Wednesday, even as revenue plunged 68.7% during the period.

The operator of United Airlines reported a net loss of $1.91 billion, or $6.39 a share, on revenue of $3.4 billion for the latest quarter.

United had been expected to report a loss of $1.91 billion, or $6.62 a share, on sales of $3.4 billion, based on a FactSet survey of 19 analysts.

In the same period a year ago, the company posted earnings of $2.67 a share on sales of $10.9 billion. It reported net income of $1 billion.

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The stock is up almost 26% since the company last reported financial results on Oct. 14. However, shares have faltered over the past month as the coronavirus pandemic has intensified.

While U.S. holiday periods saw higher numbers of airline passengers, they’ve been followed by the increased spread of the virus and the current surge in cases and deaths in the U.S. COVID-19 had killed 400,000 Americans by Jan. 19, the last day of ex-president Donald Trump’s administration.

United forecast first-quarter 2021 total operating revenue will be down 65% to 70% versus the first quarter 2019,” the latest comparable period unaffected by coronavirus. It said, “Accelerated distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine may lead to faster improvement, however, the company is not including this potential improvement in its first quarter 2021 revenue outlook.”

Newly inaugurated President Joseph Biden has pledged to get America to 100 million vaccinations in the first 100 days of his administration

Shares of United fell 77 cents, or 1.7%, to $44.41 in after-hours trading.