The world’s biggest airline group, United Continental Holdings (UAL), has posted a major loss for the first quarter of 2012.
The recently-merged US carrier reported a net loss of US$448 million for the first three months of the year – more than double the US$213 million loss it experienced in the same period last year.
Revenues actually increased 4.9% to US$8.6 billion, US$7.5 billion of which was generated through group’s passenger division. This was outpaced however, by an 8.6% increase in the group’s operating expenses, which reached US$8.9 billion. Fuel costs jumped 20.8% to US$3.2 billion.
“This was a difficult quarter, but we made significant progress with our integration and we’re now able to serve our customers as a single airline,” said Jeff Smisek, UAL’s President & CEO. “I want to recognise my co-workers for their hard work during a challenging time, and thank our customers for their continuing support. We are now on the steep back slope of our integration and can look forward to delivering more benefits from the merger in the remainder of the year.”
The airline carried a total of 32.5 million passengers in Q1 2012 – slightly down (-0.2%) on the same period last year. Cabin load factors averaged 78.1%.