United Air CEO Says Carrier Poised to Pass Delta Profit Margins
(Bloomberg) -- United Airlines Holdings Inc. will eventually surpass profit margins at rival Delta Air Lines Inc. because of its hubs and product improvements, Chief Executive Scott Kirby said, noting his “immense respect” for the competitor’s management and operations.
United “really is the flag carrier of the United States,” he said Wednesday at the Skift Aviation virtual forum, noting the size of the carrier’s wide-body international fleet relative to Delta’s or that of American Airlines Group Inc.
United’s hubs in business centers like Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington offer greater revenue and margin potential than other carriers, Kirby said, noting that the carrier has “never” reached its profit potential.
- Business traffic bookings to and from Europe are higher than domestic business-travel activity, reflecting the Nov. 8 reopening of the U.S. to vaccinated Europeans
- United’s nonstop route to Accra, Ghana, from Washington’s Dulles International Airport saw the airline’s highest passenger loads and profitability over the summer, Kirby said. The carrier began that route in May.
- Kirby says he doesn’t know if United will ever take its order for 45 Airbus A350 long-range jets, which date to 2010. United has deferred the aircraft several times, but Kirby said it’s possible the A350 could be a longer-term replacement for Boeing 777s now in the airline’s fleet.
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