Full travel recovery not expected by United Airlines until 2023

United Airlines does not expect a full recovery in travel demand until 2023 following the Covid-19 crisis.

The airline reported an adjusted net loss of $1.3 billion in the three months to June 30 but hopes to return to profit in the second half of the year.

The second quarter performance “largely exceeded” original expectations as international long-haul and business travel accelerated faster than anticipated, together with continued yield improvement.

United said: “Looking ahead, the company expects continued gains as more businesses return by end of summer and into 2022, with a full recovery in demand anticipated by 2023.”

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Peak summer capacity is projected to be down around 26% compared to the third quarter in 2019, but up 39% quarter-over-quarter.

The carrier secured $4 billion in a private offering of bonds, a $5 billion term loan, and a $1.75 billion revolving credit facility in the past three months, described as the largest non-merger financing transaction in airline history.

This gave United available liquidity of about $23 billion.

The carrier resumed nonstop service on 33 US domestic routes and 14 international routes compared to the first quarter of 2021.

United had non-stop service on 55 more domestic and 24 more international routes in June compared to March and plans to fly roughly 80% of its full schedule this month over July 2019.

Chief executive Scott Kirby said: “Thanks to the professionalism and perseverance of the United employees, who have worked so hard to take care of our customers through the pandemic, our airline has reached a meaningful turning point – we’re expecting to be back to making a profit once again.

“As we emerge from the most disruptive crisis our company has faced, we’re now focused squarely on our United Next strategy that will transform our customers’ on board experience and help fulfil United’s incredible potential.”

More: United Airlines acquires 270 new aircraft

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