LONDON – United Airlines reported a fourth-quarter loss of $646 million but reiterated confidence in its long-term United Next financial targets.
The airline achieved every major financial target for Q4 despite the sharp spike in COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant.
According to a company’s news release, “despite near term volatility, bookings for spring travel and beyond remain strong, which is why the Omicron spike has not altered the airline’s confidence.”
United has started 2022 with a scaled-back schedule, reflecting the impact of the Omicron spike on demand.
However, as demand is expected to increase through the year, United will ramp up capacity by ungrounding 52 Boeing 777s, which will yield improvements in the airline’s gauge and aircraft utilization.
“The United team has been fighting through unprecedented obstacles to, once again, overcome the new and daunting challenges that COVID-19 is bringing to aviation, and I am grateful to each one of them for their commitment to taking care of our customers,” said United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby.
“While Omicron is impacting near-term demand, we remain optimistic about the spring and excited about the summer and beyond. We look forward to beginning to return the Pratt & Whitney 777s to service this quarter and getting the full airline back to normal utilization – as we ramp up along with demand this year.”
Shares of United fell 1.4 percent to $43.79 in after-hours trading.