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Earnings Results: United Airlines swings to profit despite ‘worst’ winter storm, issues blue-sky guidance

United Airlines Holdings Inc. late Tuesday reported fourth-quarter earnings that were above Wall Street expectations and offered an optimistic view of the current quarter and guidance for full-year 2023.

The changes it made to increase staff and resources as well as investments in technology and infrastructure “created strong operations and allowed United to recover quickly after winter storm Elliott,” the airline said.

United
UAL,
-0.87%

earned $843 million, or $2.55 a share, in the fourth quarter, swinging from a loss of $646 million, or $1.99 a share, in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted for one-time items, United earned $2.46 a share.

Revenue rose to $12.40 billion from $8.2 billion a year ago.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected United to report adjusted earnings of $2.11 a share on revenue of $12.23 billion.

The stock rallied more than 3% in extended trading after ending the regular trading day down 0.9%.

United guided for first-quarter adjusted EPS between 50 cents and $1, well above current FactSet consensus of 31 cents a share, and said it expects revenue to grow around 50% in the quarter.

For the full year, the airline called for adjusted EPS between $10 and $12, also significantly higher than FactSet consensus of $6.84 a share.

United stock has gained 9% in the past 12 months. That contrasts with losses of around 14% for the S&P 500 index
SPX,
-0.20%

and of nearly 10% for the U.S. Global Jets ETF
JETS,
+0.40%
.

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