United Airlines announces record Q4 profit

United Airlines (NYSE: UAL) reported full-year net income of USD4.5 billion, or USD11.88 per diluted share, excluding special items, the company said.

Including special items, UAL reported full-year net income of USD7.3 billion. These results include a nonrecurring USD3.1 billion non-cash benefit associated with the reversal of the company´s income tax valuation allowance.

UAL reported fourth-quarter net income of USD934 million, or USD2.54 per diluted share, excluding special items. Including special items, UAL reported fourth-quarter net income of USD823 million.

For the fourth quarter of 2015, total revenue was USD9.0 billion, a decrease of 3.0 percent year-over-year. Fourth-quarter 2015 consolidated PRASM decreased 6.0 percent and consolidated yield decreased 7.2 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2014.

For the full-year 2015, consolidated PRASM declined 4.4 percent versus the prior year. The declines in PRASM and yield were driven largely by a strong US dollar, lower surcharges, travel reductions from customers impacted by declining oil prices and softening domestic and international yields.

Passenger revenue for the fourth quarter and full year of 2015 and period-to-period comparisons of related statistics for UAL´s mainline and regional operations are included in the tables in the back of this document.

Total operating expense excluding special charges was USD7.8 billion in the fourth quarter, down 8.1 percent year-over-year. Including special charges, total operating expense was USD8.0 billion, an 8.4 percent decrease year-over-year.

The decrease was largely driven by lower oil prices. Consolidated unit cost (CASM), excluding special charges, third-party business expenses, fuel and profit sharing, was flat compared to the fourth quarter of 2014.

Consolidated CASM including those items decreased 10 percent year-over-year. For the full year, consolidated CASM excluding special charges, third-party business expenses, fuel and profit sharing decreased 0.7 percent year-over-year. This strong cost performance was largely the result of improved efficiency as part of the company´s Project Quality and upgauging initiatives and better completion as a result of improved operational performance. Consolidated CASM including those items decreased 11.9 percent compared to full-year 2014.

United Airlines and United Express operate an average of nearly 5,000 flights a day to 342 airports across six continents. The common stock of United´s parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL.