NEW YORK, April 21 ― United Airlines reported another quarterly loss yesterday on the lingering drag from Covid-19 but offered a bullish outlook based on surging travel demand.

Chief Executive Scott Kirby described the current demand environment as “the strongest it's been in my 30 years in the industry,” echoing commentary from other airline CEOs eager for the pandemic to finally recede.

Shares soared in after-hours trading.

Airlines have struggled for more than two years, downsizing staff and surviving a cash-burning period with help from US government support programmes and the private debt market.

In the most recent quarter, United reported a US$1.4 billion (RM6 billion) loss, roughly the same shortfall as in the year-ago period. Revenues more than doubled to US$7.6 billion.

But Kirby and other airline executives have vowed a robust post-pandemic turnaround ― with the second quarter of 2022 potentially the start of a much better period.

For the second quarter, United is projecting a 17 per cent jump from the 2019 period in the closely watched benchmark of revenue per available seat mile, constituting what United called “the strongest second quarter revenue guidance in company history.”

But one concern facing the industry is the drag from higher jet fuel prices. United projected costs of US$3.43 per gallon in the second quarter, which would be more than 74 per cent above the 2021 level.

Shares of United jumped 8.1 per cent to US$50.27 in after-hours trading. ― AFP