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updated: 10/25/2012 8:46 AM

United Continental reports smaller 3Q profit

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  • It was a rough third quarter for United Airlines. Travelers stayed away, frustrated by technology glitches from its merger with Continental. And a huge accounting charge wiped out most of its profit.

      It was a rough third quarter for United Airlines. Travelers stayed away, frustrated by technology glitches from its merger with Continental. And a huge accounting charge wiped out most of its profit.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

It was a rough third quarter for United Airlines.

Travelers stayed away, frustrated by technology glitches from its merger with Continental. And a huge accounting charge wiped out most of its profit.

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United's performance fell by every measure important to airlines: Per-passenger revenue fell 2.6 percent, and was down in every part of the world except for the Pacific. Traffic decreased 1.5 percent. Yield, which measures fares paid, slipped 1.2 percent.

Net income for United Continental Holdings Inc. dropped to $6 million, or 2 cents per share, from $653 million, or $1.69 per share, a year earlier.

Its most recent profit would have been bigger if not for a special charge for a preliminary agreement with its pilots. But excluding that charge, its profit of $1.35 per share was still 12 cents less than expected by analysts surveyed by FactSet.

Revenue fell 2.6 percent to $9.91 billion, also below analyst expectations.

By comparison, Delta's passenger revenue rose 1 percent during the most recent quarter, and yield rose 3 percent. The rival airline posted a $1.05 billion profit, with an assist from bets on fuel prices.

United booked a $454 million charge to cover future lump-sum payments to pilots. United also recorded $60 million in integration expenses for merging the two airlines.

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