By Rajesh Kumar Singh

CHICAGO (Reuters) – United Airlines Holdings on Tuesday reported higher-than-expected third-quarter earnings and forecast a stronger profit in the current quarter due to a robust rebound in travel demand, driving up its shares by 9%.

The Chicago-based carrier reported an adjusted profit of $2.81 per share for the third quarter, well above analysts’ expectations for $2.28, according to Refinitiv data. That marked the company’s best performance since the third quarter of 2019, just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

United said it expects an adjusted profit of $2.00 to $2.25 per share in the fourth quarter through December on a 24% to 25% jump in total revenue per available seat mile compared with the same quarter in 2019.

That would be more than double Wall Street estimates of 98 cents a share for the fourth quarter.

Carriers are using 2019, before the pandemic, as the benchmark for their performance.

“Despite growing concerns about an economic slowdown, the ongoing COVID recovery trends at United continue to prevail and we remain optimistic that we’ll continue to deliver strong financial results in the fourth quarter, 2023 and beyond,” Chief Executive Scott Kirby said in a statement.

(Reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh; Editing by Bill Berkrot)



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