United reports lacklustre Q3 results

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United Airlines reports $520 million in net income excluding special items during the third quarter, down slightly from a year ago.

Net income was just $6 million with $514 million in special items at the Chicago-based Star Alliance carrier. Charges include $454 million related to its new joint collective bargaining agreement with its pilots as well as on-going integration costs.

Delta Air Lines and US Airways both reported record quarters with net income of $1.05 billion and $192 million, respectively, in the quarter ending on 30 September.

"We overcame tough operational challenges and remain focused on running a reliable airline, delivering to our customers the benefits of our product investments and delivering to our co-workers tools and training to provide good customer service," says Jeff Smisek, president and chief executive of United, in a statement.

Operating revenue was down 2.6% to $9.9 billion while operating expenses rose 5.1% to $9.7 billion compared to 2011.

United paid an average of $3.15 per gallon for jet fuel excluding hedges.

Passenger unit revenue fell 1.3% to 13.35 cents while costs per available seat mile with fuel, special items and third-party expenses constant was up 2.5% to 13.93 cents.

Traffic fell 1.5% on a 1.4% cut in capacity during the quarter.