UnitedContinental Reports Flat Traffic in May

By Jennifer Booton Features FOXBusiness

UnitedContinental (UAL) on Thursday reported flat revenue in May and a decline in load factor, as demand for trans-Atlantic flights slumped and could not be wholly offset by improvements in the carrier’s Pacific and Latin routes.

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Meanwhile, Barclays (BCS) on Friday lifted UnitedContinental’s price target to $29 from $27 on an equal weight rating. It also raised U.S. Airways’ (LCC) target to $15 from $12 on an overweight rating.

United, the No. 1 U.S. airline, said late Thursday that its passenger revenue per available seat mile was estimated to be flat or up 1% after rising 4.5% in April.

That growth metric continues to lag that of its major competitors, including Delta (DAL), the nation’s second-biggest airline, which forecasted growth of 6% in May.

United said its domestic revenue passenger miles were 8.1 billion, a slight year-over-year increase of 0.3% from 8.12 billion miles last year, despite a 0.4% increase in capacity.

International revenue fared better, growing a modest 1.8% from the earlier period to 7.76 billion.

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The Chicago-based carrier’s Pacific and Latin groups reported revenue passenger miles growth of 6.2% and 2.9%, respectively. Those routes were the only two to post marginal increases in load factor.