United shares down on bad weather woes

Fri Feb 28, 2014 12:02pm EST

Feb 28 (Reuters) - Shares of United Continental Holdings fell more than 3 percent on Friday morning, after the parent of United Airlines warned that its capacity and unit revenues in the first quarter would come in below expectations as winter storms disrupted operations.

"As a result of the severe weather, year-to-date, United has canceled more than 22,500 flights, the largest number of which (approximately 20,000) were regional flights. These cancellations were nearly four times the cancellations during the same period in 2013," the airlines carrier said in a securities filing.

United expects first-quarter 2014 consolidated unit revenue to decrease between 0.5- 2.5 percent year-over-year. "The weather-related cancellations to date have reduced first quarter 2014 consolidated PRASM by approximately 1.5 percentage points," the airline said in the filing.

Earlier, the company had told Reuters that the storms and sub-zero temperatures cost United $60 million in January alone.

Analyst Helane Becker said she now expected United to see earnings per share of $3.85 a share for 2014, down from an earlier expectation of $4.15 and compared to the consensus estimate of $5.60.

Shares of the carrier were trading down 1.96 percent at $45.60 Friday morning on the New York Stock Exchange.

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