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United Airways sees one other loss and warns of inauspicious months because the pandemic drags on

A United Airlines-operated Boeing 787 Dreamliner takes off from Los Angeles International Airport.

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United Airlines posted a fourth-quarter loss on Wednesday, warning that sales would continue to suffer in early 2021 as the coronavirus pandemic drags on.

Here's how United performed in the quarter compared to Wall Street's expectations based on Refinitiv's average estimates:

Adjusted earnings per share: a loss of $ 7 versus an expected loss of $ 6.60 per share. Revenue: $ 3.41 billion versus expected $ 3.44 billion in revenue.

United's fourth-quarter revenue declined 69% year over year to $ 3.41 billion, below analysts' estimates of $ 3.44 billion. The Chicago-based airline reported an adjusted loss of $ 7 per share, compared to estimates of a loss of $ 6.60 per share. The quarter consumed an average of $ 33 million per day, including debt and severance payments.

The airline does not expect a quick turnaround earlier this year. Revenue in the first quarter is expected to be 65% to 70% below 2019 levels, the airline said. Capacity is expected to be at least 51% below the same months of 2019 in the first quarter, reflecting a similar outlook from American Airlines.

Airline executives said the widespread availability of coronavirus vaccines will lead to a recovery in air travel. However, the introduction of the vaccine was slow and chaotic, characterized by a lack of doses.

United executives will be holding a call Thursday at 10:30 a.m. ET to discuss their earnings and prospects.

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