United Continental Lifts Full-Year Earnings Guidance

United Continental (UAL) raised the mid-point of its 2019 adjusted diluted earnings per share guidance late on Tuesday as a record pre-tax income underpinned a comfortable second-quarter beat for the airline operator.

Group sales increased to $11.40 billion during the three months that ended June 30, from $10.78 billion a year ago, beating the $11.37 billion analyst estimate compiled by Capital IQ.

The company, which together with United Express operates about 4,900 flights a day to 356 airports across five continents, said in its earnings statement that it served almost 43 million passengers, the most ever for United in the second quarter, as it started 34 new domestic and international routes.

In line with higher turnover, adjusted diluted earnings per share rose to $4.21 from $3.22 a year earlier, flying past the $4.11 forecast, as an increase in revenue per available seat mile was accompanied by a decline in unit cost per available seat mile. Pre-tax income surged by 58.4% to $1.35 billion.

Looking ahead, the Chicago, Illinois-based airline whose board authorized a new $3 billion share repurchase program, raised the mid-point of its 2019 adjusted diluted earnings per share guidance with a new range of $10.50 to $12.00, versus previous estimates of $10.00 to $12.00 and also in line with the Street’s view of $11.50.

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