The carrier posted a $2.4 billion loss excluding special items, slightly less the $2.6 billion it lost on that basis in the second quarter but a bit above analysts’ forecasts. Its net loss of $1.8 billion also exceeded the previous quarter’s loss.
“Even though the negative impact of Covid-19 will persist in the near term, we are now focused on positioning the airline for a strong recovery that will allow United to bring our furloughed employees back to work and emerge as the global leader in aviation,” said CEO Scott Kirby.
Smaller cash burn
United said it trimmed the amount of cash it is burning through to a daily average of $25 million in the third quarter, down from $40 million per day in the second quarter.
The company was able to stem that cash drain because 9,000 employees took offers to leave the company voluntarily, and United reached deals with several of its unions to reduce labor costs and lower the number of involuntary furloughs.
Overall the company’s revenue tumbled 78% — less than the 87% drop in the second quarter.
United’s revenue collected from passengers, when adjusted for its 70% reduction in capacity, fell only 47%, which it said should be the smallest drop of any major US airline in that closely watched financial measure. Delta reported a 55% drop in that reading.