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United Airlines posts quarterly loss and increases cash flow by $ 9.6 billion

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(Reuters) – United Airlines Holdings Inc on Thursday reported a loss of $ 1.7 billion in the first quarter, including charges against investments in Latin America that worsened when the coronavirus pandemic shakes travel industries in the whole world.

Airlines, including United, have parked planes and cut flight schedules as demand has virtually disappeared due to the pandemic, forcing them to suspend their growth plans and focus on saving money.

Chicago-based United said it had $ 9.6 billion in cash as of April 29, up from $ 7.2 billion in late March, and its cash consumption would be in the $ 40 billion range. $ 45 million a day in the second quarter.

United is slated to receive $ 5 billion in salary assistance under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) law and is likely to make a decision in the third quarter on whether to obtain a $ 4.5 billion loan. as part of the same program.

Payroll conditions prevent airlines from cutting wages or jobs until September 30, but many, including United, have said they will cut back in the fall if demand doesn’t not recover.

“While we are still in the midst of this crisis, we will not hesitate to make tough decisions that we believe will ensure the long-term success of our business,” said CEO Oscar Munoz in a statement.

The airline industry said it could take two to three years for demand to reach 2019 levels.

United’s March 31 net loss compares to a profit of $ 292 million a year earlier. On an adjusted net basis, United’s net loss was $ 639 million, a loss of $ 2.57 per share.

Total operating revenues decreased 17% to $ 8 billion.

United shares fell 5.2% to $ 29.58 before the results were released.

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski in Chicago; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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