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Why United Airlines Boosted Q3 Guidance

After reporting a preliminary September year-over-year increase of 4.9% in domestic passenger revenue and a consolidated revenue increase of 1.4% for the month, United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL) raised its third-quarter guidance, and the stock has gotten a nice lift.

The airline’s pretax margin was raised from 16% to 17%, largely the result of an estimated 1.5% decline in United Continental’s cost per available seat mile from $0.0911 to $0.0906. That cost includes fuel. There were no changes to the company’s estimated fuel consumption (1.035 billion gallons in the third quarter) or its all-inclusive price for jet fuel ($1.97 a gallon).

Passenger revenue per available seat mile is now estimated at $0.134, down slightly from the prior guidance of $0.1347. But traffic as measured by revenue passenger miles are now estimated to rise 4%...


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