United Airlines published financial figures for the third quarter of 2023. The company announced quarterly pre-tax income of $1.5 billion, a pre-tax margin of 10.3%, and diluted earnings per share of $3.42, as well as pre-tax income of $1.6 billion, a pre-tax margin of 10.8%, and diluted earnings per share of $3.65 on an adjusted1 basis.
Total third-quarter top-line revenue increased 12.5% year on year, resulting in a record revenue quarter at the upper end of projections. United enjoyed a solid and consistent domestic demand environment in the quarter, with a 9% year-over-year revenue increase, exceeding second-quarter performance. Close-in bookings increased in August and September, with both months exceeding year-over-year demand.
Profits in the international space were at an all-time high in both the Atlantic and Pacific regions. Revenue in the Atlantic region increased by 15% compared to the same quarter in 2022 and 70% compared to the same quarter in 2019. Despite capacity remaining 24% lower than in the third quarter of 2019, Pacific revenue topped third-quarter 2019 levels. Domestic revenues were the second most significant in the third quarter, and the domestic network remained profitable.
The company has developed a winning strategy for providing customers with options for the desired service level. Premium product demand is robust, with outstanding results in the premium economy cabin, where revenue exceeded capacity increase since its launch in 2019. Premium product revenue increased 20% year on year in the quarter, accounting for more than half of total passenger revenue. Basic Economy has also been a popular option for customers and an excellent competitive offering, with revenue for that product increasing by 50% year over year in the third quarter.
United continues to recognise the value of an award-winning airline loyalty programme. The third quarter continued a multi-year trend of new MileagePlus members, achieving a record for third-quarter enrolments and nearly tripling the number of new members compared to the same period five years ago. Spending across the U.S. card portfolio is up double digits year to date in the first three quarters of 2022, and this third quarter saw more miles redeemed across the scheme for award travel than any third quarter in programme history.
“Thank you to our extraordinary United team, who delivered a record-setting operational performance for our customers in August and September,” said United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby. “Our strategy of diversifying our revenue streams, capitalising on growth opportunities, and constantly innovating to improve our products for our customers is bearing fruit.” Our United Next plan is working well, and we are on schedule to meet our financial targets.”