United Airlines said Wednesday it expects a key revenue metric to rise 16 percent to 17 percent in the first quarter from a year ago.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Chicago-based airline said it expects consolidated passenger unit revenue per available seat mile between $11.44 and $11.54. The key metric gauges how much money the airline makes for every mile it flies a paying passenger.
The company said that the February snowstorms on the East Coast boosted the passenger revenue metric by 0.4 percentage points for the quarter. Although United lost $40 million from the storms, canceling flights and bumping passengers to less-full flights boosted the money it made per passenger.
The airline is forecasting capacity, or the number of available seats, to decline 3.4 percent in the first quarter. Airlines cut capacity either through scaling back the number of planes in their fleet or by using smaller jets.
United Airlines' parent company is UAL Corp. UAL shares fell46 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $19.72 in afternoon trading.
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