The summer travel season is getting into full swing, apparently, as air travel into and out of and within the United States is picking up. Delta Airlines reported a nice bump in second-quarter sales and American Airlines expects to cite something similar when they release their report this week.
United Airlines also released its latest financial report and this reveals the carrier had its highest second-quarter revenue in history. The report also indicated the first profitable quarter since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic-related shutdowns.
United Airlines, the second-largest airline in the United States reported an impressive net income of $329 million, on operating revenue of $12.1 billion. Compared to the same quarter from 2019, revenue was up by at least 6 percent, despite the fact the carrier operated flights with 85 percent the previous capacity.
All of this resulted in the earnings per share (EPS) of $1.43 falling short of the $1.95 per share that analysts had estimated.
It has not been an easy transition back to form for any industry but it has been particularly tricky for the airlines. The onset of summer travel quickly descended on under-prepared companies scrambling to sell tickets and staff flights on a scaled-up effort to address the higher demand. Unfortunately, United Airlines, alone, canceled for delayed more than 34,000 flights in May and June.
As could be imagined, a positive report offers a bit of hope. In an earnings release, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said, “it’s nice to return to profitability—but we must confront three risks that could grow over the next 6 to 18 months. Industry-wide operational challenges that limit the system’s capacity, record fuel prices, and the increasing possibility of a global recession are each real challenges that we are already addressing.”