United CEO: Airline is still figuring out what post-pandemic 'new normal' will be

United sees surge in business-travel spending, questions talk of recession.

United CEO: Airline is still figuring out what post-pandemic 'new normal' will be

United Airlines CEO, said that he is still trying to understand how the seasonality of the travel industry has changed since the pandemic.

The old patterns have disappeared. Historically, the dominant carrier at San Francisco International Airport relied on business travel in order to offset the weaker demand for leisure travel in January and February as well as November and early December. This year, the anticipated increase in business travel did not occur. The second half of the month saw a drop in business travel, after Silicon Valley Bank failed on 10 March. United Airlines has had the highest business travel revenue in the first two months of April since the pandemic.

Kirby said that the demand was structurally different from what it had been pre-pandemic. We're still trying to figure out this new normal. As we expected, long-haul flights are now outpacing domestic flights. This multi-year change is based on the retirement of aircraft and pilot downgrades by all U.S. long-haul airlines except United.

United said late Tuesday that it had a smaller-than-expected first-quarter net loss of $194 million as it sees strong demand later this year, especially for international travel.

United reiterated their earnings guidance for the year of $10 to 12 per share. Analysts predict that the airline will earn $8.56 a share in 2018. United warned Wall Street in the past that it was expecting a loss for its first quarter due to weaker than expected travel demand during January and February.

Kirby added that the airline expects a slight recession. We can't control the macro-economy, but we are doing an excellent job in controlling our costs.

You can't operate your airline as if it were 2019. Kirby stated that the world is different now and more difficult.

United Airlines' confidence in the outlook for 2023 is boosted by the strong performance of its business clients in early April.

We need to give this trend more time before we can tell if it will continue. Andrew Nocella is United's chief business officer. "I can tell you that after reviewing the data, I have become more optimistic, even though many headlines continue to forecast a recession." The last 14 days were the best business traffic booking days we have seen since the pandemic.

United announced a major expansion of service from SFO to Australia and New Zealand. This expansion will include a new nonstop flight between SFO, New Zealand and Christchurch starting on December 1.