Management said United has raised more than $26 billion in liquidity and has made “important progress” in decreasing its cash burn “to ensure the company’s survival” since the start of the pandemic. The company concluded 2020 with $19.7 billion in available liquidity.
United Airlines reported $19 million per day in Q4 2020 core cash burn, marking an improvement of an average of $5 million for each day compared to Q3 2020. The firm also reported $23 million of Q4 2020 daily cash burn in addition to $10 million of average debt principal payments and severance payments daily.
The airline said it bolstered cargo revenue by 77 percent in Q4 by harnessing global flying and implementing global cargo-only missions. The company also reported that Q4 2020 operating expenses decreased by 45 percent compared to Q4 2019.
In Q4, United Airlines responded to Thanksgiving travel demand by adding more than 1,400 flights within the United States to the November schedule. It also grew service to India during the quarter with four daily flights such as the addition of O’Hare to Delhi. United says it is still the sole U.S. carrier to serve India.
Management said the company anticipates 2021 will be “a transition year that’s focused on preparing for a recovery.”
“Nobody including us has a perfect crystal ball on how soon this really will be over. But from the beginning of the crisis, our approach has been to be clear-eyed about the challenges and likely course of the recovery. That’s often made us appear more pessimistic and that’s perhaps still true today, but being realistic instead of either optimistic or pessimistic has given us a clear advantage,” CEO Scott Kirby said on a call with analysts.
All in, United Airlines reported an adjusted $7 Non-GAAP loss per share on operating revenue of $3.41 billion. The results fell short of analyst estimates of $6.60 loss per share on $3.44 billion in revenue.