United Airlines to Wall Street: Profit should return next quarter

United Airlines Holdings Inc. reported another quarterly loss Tuesday, telling investors they will have to wait another quarter for profit.

said it lost $434 million, or $1.34 a share, in the second quarter, compared with a loss of $1.6 billion, or $5.79 a share, in the second quarter of 2020, when air travel ground to a near standstill due to restrictions meant to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Adjusted for one-time items, the company lost $3.91 a share in the quarter. Revenue rose to $5.47 billion from $1.48 billion in the quarter.

Analysts polled by FactSet had expected the airline to report an adjusted loss of $3.96 a share on sales of $5.35 billion.

The stock edged higher after the narrower-than-expected loss, but recently fell nearly 2% in after-hours trading.

Second-quarter capacity was down 46% as compared with the same period in 2019, United said. The airline said it expects capacity to be down about 26% in the third quarter, also as compared with 2019, and up 39% quarter-on-quarter.

The airline said it expects to be profitable on an adjusted, pre-tax basis in the third quarter, which would be the first quarter in the black since the fourth quarter
of 2019. The company is likely to be profitable in the fourth quarter as well, it said.

Delta Air Lines Inc.
last week surprised Wall Street with its first profit since the pandemic, which the company partly pinned on an uptick for business travel in certain metropolitan areas.

Related: Summer travel is back, but will it be enough to boost flagging U.S. airlines?

Shares of United are up about 7% this year, compared with a 13% for the S&P 500 index

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