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United’s Q4 Profits Take Off

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United Airlines continued its incredible resurgence in announcing its 2019 fourth-quarter earnings.

The Chicago-based carrier posted net income of $614 million, on revenues of $10.9 billion, up a whopping 39% from its 2018 fourth-quarter earnings to beat analysts’ estimates.

Despite the difficulties of having its Boeing 737 MAX planes grounded like other airlines, United was able to come in with one of its strong quarters thanks largely to a decrease in fuel prices and an increase in ticket demand.

“2019 was a great year for our United team — highlighted by achieving our $11 to $13 adjusted EPS target a full year ahead of schedule,” Oscar Munoz, CEO of United Airlines, said in a statement. “With a four-quarter streak of expanding profit margins, when all the results are in we expect our full year 2019 pre-tax margin growth to be the highest amongst our largest competitors.”

United was floundering as a decided third among the big three U.S. airlines four years ago when Munoz took over. In fact, there were questions in 2017 about whether he should lose his job.

Not anymore.

“When I look at United’s fundamental strength, I could not be prouder of what we’ve accomplished in such a short time,” he said. “This is the New United we set out to build more than four years ago. As we embark on a new year and decade, I believe the outlook for United’s future has never been brighter.”

Among the highlights were flying the most revenue passengers in company history, setting a new record for most mainline departures with nearly 800,000 departures, and improving profit-sharing for 2019 to an average 45 percent higher per participating employee year-over-year.

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