Chicago-based United Airlines reported a $1.8bn loss for the third quarter as it revamped its operations to reflect lower demand following the near-collapse of the passenger aviation industry earlier this year.

The carrier said in a statement that it had reduced its capacity by 70 per cent during the recently completed quarter, resulting in a 78 per cent decline in revenue.

United’s third-quarter revenue came in at $2.5bn, compared to $11.3bn in the same period in 2019. Cargo revenue surged almost 50 per cent. Many airlines including United pivoted to all cargo flights after belly cargo was hit hard due to the grounding of thousands of aircraft as a result of the pandemic.

Scott Kirby, Chief Executive Office, United Airlines said in a statement, “Having successfully executed our initial crisis strategy, we’re ready to turn the page on seven months that have been dedicated to developing and implementing extraordinary and often painful measures, like furloughing 13,000 team members, to survive the worst financial crisis in aviation history.”

United ended September with $19.4bn in liquidity, and was able to reduce its cash burn to $21m plus $4m of debt principal payments and severance payments per day.

At the end of the second quarter that number still stood at $37m plus $3m of debt principal payments and severance payments.


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