United Airlines shares fell about 6% in afterhours trading on Monday after the carrier forecast a first-quarter loss, citing weaker demand growth compared with other months and higher fuel costs.
The carrier expects an adjusted quarterly loss of between 60 cents and $1 per share, down from its previous projections of adjusted earnings of between 50 cents and $1 per share for the first three months of the year.
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“While all months of 2023 are expected to produce unit revenue significantly above the corresponding months in 2019, the Company is observing new seasonal demand patterns, with lower-demand months such as January and February 2023 growing less than higher-demand months,” United said in a securities filing after the market closed on Monday.
The carrier said as a result it trimmed its estimate for unit revenues to between 22% and 23% over a year earlier, down from previous guidance of a 25% increase.
As travelers return to more traditional booking patterns, such as traveling close to holidays and other popular vacation periods, second-quarter revenue will likely be higher than United previously expected with operating revenue up in the “mid-teens” over last year, the company said.
The airline said it still expects to earn between $10 and $12 a share this year, on an adjusted basis.
The Chicago-based carrier is scheduled to present at a JP Morgan industry conference on Tuesday along with other airlines including Delta, American and JetBlue.