Pursuant to Regulation FD, United filed its presentation to the JPMorgan Annual High Yield Conference with the SEC. It makes for interesting reading.
United has cut labor costs per available seat mile by 32%. Only USAirways — which went through two bankruptcies — has gone further. Northwest, just entering the bankruptcy process, has only cut their labor costs 3% over the same period of time. Northwest has the highest costs of any major carrier.
Shocker — United has far less debt after bankruptcy. The reduction is all centered around rejecting pensions, retirement benefits, and some leases.
Playing with numbers — United compares its operating margins with Southwest’s by removing Southwest’s fuel hedges.
Going forward United plans to de-peak hubs (more continuous flow of aircraft so they don’t pay people to sit around, people wait for planes rather than planes waiting for people) and continue outsourcing call centers and automating them (“agent agent agent”).
Mileage Plus has 45 million members and contributes over $800 million in revenue. That makes the frequent flyer program even bigger than flying cargo.