United Airlines (UAL) posts $1.2 billion loss amid coronavirus, seeks more federal aid

A United Airlines Holdings Inc. employee waits for a traveler at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, April 2, 2020.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

United Airlines on Monday posted a $2.1 billion loss for first quarter, as the coronavirus pandemic drove travel demand down to the lowest level in decades.

The Chicago-based airline said it has applied for up to $4.5 billion in government loans on top of about $5 billion federal payroll grants and loans it also expects to receive to weather the crisis.

United is the first major U.S. airline to detail the results — while they are preliminary — of the virus on its results in the first three months of the year. The disease and harsh measures to stop it from spreading such as stay-at-home orders has ravaged air travel demand and and prompted carriers to slash most of their flights.

United said revenue fell 17% in the first quarter from a year ago to $8 billion. On an adjusted basis, United said it had a roughly $1 billion loss in the quarter, stripping out special charges.

The airline’s shares were down more than 4% in morning trading, slightly more than other carriers.

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