United Airlines defers Airbus A350-1000 orders

United Airlines defers Airbus A350-1000 orders

United Airlines projected a slowdown in a benchmark financial gauge as trans-Pacific fares weaken, and the carrier delayed delivery of four Airbus A350 long-haul jets earmarked for those routes.

Passenger revenue for each seat flown a mile could rise as much as 1 percent or fall by the same magnitude this quarter, United said in a statement Tuesday as it reported earnings. That trailed a recent forecast by Delta Air Lines, which predicted an increase of at least 2.5 percent.

United’s weaker outlook followed a second quarter in which United worked to recover from a public-relations fiasco after passenger David Dao was dragged from a plane in Chicago, suffering a broken nose and other injuries. The airline is also contending with financial pressure from a seat glut on routes to Asia, which is weighing on the financial forecast.

The carrier didn’t set a new delivery date for the A350-1000 planes, which had been scheduled to arrive next year. United is deciding the future of its order for 35 of Airbus’s largest twin-engine jetliners as the carrier’s new management team reviews the fleet. The airline is retiring its aging Boeing 747 jumbo jets, many of which ply routes between Asia and the U.S.

The earnings report wasn’t all bad news. United reported that second-quarter profit rose to US$2.75 a share, beating the US$2.72 estimate of analysts. Sales climbed 6.4 percent to US$10 billion. The company reported a 2.1 percent increase in revenue for each seat flown a mile. That was the first gain in two years for the measure, known as unit revenue, which is a proxy for pricing power.

But analysts had been expecting a stronger forecast for unit revenue in the third quarter. Raymond James Financial’s Savanthi Syth and Morgan Stanley’s Rajeev Lalwani had estimated a gain in unit revenue of 1 percent. Helane Becker of Cowen & Co. anticipated a 1.5 percent increase.

In the second quarter, unit revenue slid 5.5 percent in the Pacific region, the only major market to post a decline, United said. In a recent investor conference, President Scott Kirby said the supply of seats across the Pacific was still too high considering that the economies of China and Hong Kong had weakened recently.

Last year, United got almost 14 percent of its revenue from the Asia region, compared with 7.4 percent for Delta and just 4.5 percent for American Airlines.



  • Jason Bird


    19 Jul, 2017 10:39 am

    United's new management team is heavily weighted towards ex Continental peeps, who are solidly Boeing aficionados, so I would be surprised if this A350 order ever make it onto their books.
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  • Chris McKellar


    20 Jul, 2017 09:10 am

    I agree with Speedbird comment concerning United A350 orders considering United was born out of Boeing Air Transport and other airlines that Boeing purchased to form United Airlines in the late 1920's. United has always being pro Boeing aircraft over the years.
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  • FLX


    1 Aug, 2017 06:20 pm

    "United has always being pro Boeing aircraft over the years."
    Which perfectly explains why UA suddenly changed track/switched loyalty back in the 80s and ordered 320 family in bulk....they did that despite the functionally similar 733 was about to be inducted into UA fleet in 1986 and UA had a long 737 history.

    Even more pro-Boeing is the fact that UA still operates 320/319 x159 today(More than the 320 family fleets @ BA and AF) and still awaiting delivery for @ least 2 more used ones.

    Go figure re the so-called UA pro-Boeing theory....
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17 Jul, 2019 05:09 am


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