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Parent of United Airlines boosts Q2 earnings

July 26, 2013, Chicago, Il. - The parent of United Airlines says its profit rose 38 per cent as
it spent less on fuel and slightly boosted fares.


July 26, 2013
Carey Fredericks

United cut flying by 2 per cent compared to a year earlier, but passengers paid slightly more to fly. Also, United's fuel bill dropped 10 per cent as it flew less and the price of fuel dropped.

Lower fuel bills helped all of the big airlines in the most recent quarter. In the quarter ended June 30, the per-gallon cost of United's fuel fell 8 per cent. But oil prices have risen in recent
weeks, likely dampening the relief for airlines.

A year ago, United was struggling to merge some of its large computer systems with Continental, resulting in snafus that frustrated passengers and hurt fares.

A key measure of per-seat passenger revenue rose 1 per cent in the most recent quarter as United recovered.

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"I am encouraged by the progress we made in the second quarter — in our operations, in our customer service and in our financial performance,'' said Jeff Smisek, the airline's chairman, president, and CEO.

United Continental Holdings Inc. earned $469 million, or $1.21 per share, for the quarter. It would have earned $1.35 per share if not for special items. That's a penny better than expected by analysts surveyed by FactSet. A year ago it earned $339 million, or 89 cents per share.

Revenue rose almost 1 per cent to $10 billion, about what analysts had expected.