United Continental Holdings, Inc. 10-K 2007
Documents found in this filing:
Washington, D.C. 20549
x ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2006
o TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from to
Commission File No. 001-06033
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Registrants telephone number, including area code: (847) 700-4000
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12 (g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes o No x
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes o No x
Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes x No o
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of Registrants knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer or a non-accelerated filer. See definition of accelerated filer and large accelerated filer in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes o No x
The aggregate market value of voting stock held by non-affiliates of the Registrant was $3,099,707,715 as of June 30, 2006.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed all documents and reports required to be filed by Section 12, 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 subsequent to the distribution of securities under a plan confirmed by a court. Yes x No o
The number of shares of common stock outstanding as of February 28, 2007 was 112,741,372.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Information required by Items 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 of Part III of this Form 10-K are incorporated by reference from the Companys definitive proxy statement for its 2007 Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be held on May 10, 2007.
UAL Corporation (together with its consolidated subsidiaries, we, our, us, UAL or the Company) was incorporated under the laws of the State of Delaware on December 30, 1968. World headquarters is located at 1200 East Algonquin Road, Elk Grove Township, Illinois 60007. The mailing address is P.O. Box 66919, Chicago, Illinois 60666 (telephone number (847) 700-4000).
UAL is a holding company whose principal subsidiary is United Air Lines, Inc. (United). Uniteds operations, which consist primarily of the transportation of persons, property, and mail throughout the U.S. and abroad, accounted for most of UALs revenues and expenses in 2006. United provides these services through full-sized jet aircraft (which the Company refers to as its mainline operations), as well as smaller aircraft in its regional operations conducted under contract by United Express® carriers.
United is one of the largest passenger airlines in the world with more than 3,600 flights a day to more than 200 destinations through its mainline and United Express services. United offers approximately 1,550 average daily mainline (including Ted(SM)) departures to more than 120 destinations in 30 countries and two U.S. territories, including the Washington Dulles-Rome service commencing in the first half of 2007. In addition, United will commence its Washington Dulles-Beijing service on March 28, 2007 having received final U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT) approval for this route in February 2007. United provides regional service, connecting primarily via Uniteds domestic hubs, through marketing relationships with United Express carriers, which provide more than 2,050 average daily departures to approximately 160 destinations. United serves virtually every major market around the world, either directly or through its participation in the Star Alliance®, the worlds largest airline network.
United offers services that the Company believes will allow it to generate a revenue premium by meeting distinct customer needs. This strategy of market segmentation is intended to optimize margins and costs by offering the right service to the right customer at the right time. These services include:
· United mainline, including United First®, United Business® and Economy Plus®, the last providing three to five inches of extra legroom on all United mainline flights (including Ted), and on explus(SM) regional jet flights;
· Ted, a low-fare service, now operates 56 aircraft and serves 20 airports with over 230 daily departures from all United hubs;
· p.s. (SM)a premium transcontinental service connecting New York with Los Angeles and San Francisco; and
· United Express, with a total fleet of 290 aircraft operated by regional partners, including over 100 70-seat aircraft that offer explus, Uniteds premium regional service, redefining the regional jet experience.
The Company also generates significant revenue through its Mileage Plus® Frequent Flyer Program (Mileage Plus), United Cargo(SM) and United Services. Mileage Plus contributed approximately $600 million to passenger and other revenue in 2006 and helps the Company attract and retain high-value customers. United Cargo generated $750 million in freight and mail revenue in 2006. United Services generated approximately $280 million in revenue in 2006 by utilizing downtime of otherwise under-utilized resources.
The Company believes its restructuring has made United competitive with network airline peers. In every year of the restructuring, beginning in 2003, the Company has improved its financial performance. The Companys 2006 financial results clearly demonstrate this progress despite an increase in the price of mainline fuel of over 160% since 2002. Since emerging from bankruptcy on February 1, 2006, the Company
generated operating income of $499 million for the eleven months ended December 31, 2006. Mainline fuel expense in this period was $4.5 billion. These amounts compare to an operating loss of $2.8 billion and mainline fuel expense of $1.9 billion in 2002, the year the Company filed for bankruptcy as discussed below.
Managements goal is to further improve profit margins through continuous improvements to its core business across its operations by focusing on superior customer service, controlling unit costs and improving unit revenues by offering differentiated products and services and realizing revenue premiums. Having completed its reorganization and prepared a solid platform for growth, the Company is now building on its core competitive advantages, including strong brand recognition, its leading loyalty program and broad global airline network.
The Companys web address is www.united.com. The information contained on or connected to the Companys web address is not incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K and should not be considered part of this or any other report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Through this website, the Companys filings with the SEC, including annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and all amendments to those reports, are accessible without charge as soon as reasonably practicable after such material is electronically filed with or furnished to the SEC.
This Form 10-K contains various forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements represent the Companys expectations and beliefs concerning future events, based on information available to the Company on the date of the filing of this Form 10-K, and are subject to various risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those referenced in the forward-looking statements are listed in Item 1A. Risk Factors. The Company disclaims any intent or obligation to update or revise any of the forward-looking statements, whether in response to new information, unforeseen events, changed circumstances or otherwise.
The following discussion provides general background information regarding the Companys Chapter 11 cases, and is not intended to be an exhaustive summary. Detailed information pertaining to its bankruptcy filings may be obtained at www.pd-ual.com. See also Note 1, Voluntary Reorganization Under Chapter 11, in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
On December 9, 2002 (the Petition Date), UAL, United, and 26 direct and indirect wholly-owned subsidiaries (collectively, the Debtors) filed voluntary petitions to reorganize their businesses under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division (the Bankruptcy Court). On January 20, 2006, the Bankruptcy Court confirmed the Debtors Second Amended Joint Plan of Reorganization Pursuant to Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code (the Plan of Reorganization). The Plan of Reorganization became effective and the Debtors emerged from bankruptcy protection on February 1, 2006 (the Effective Date). On the Effective Date, UAL implemented fresh-start reporting in accordance with American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Statement of Position 90-7 Financial Reporting by Entities in Reorganization under the Bankruptcy Code (SOP 90-7).
The Plan of Reorganization generally provides for the full payment or reinstatement of allowed administrative claims, priority claims, and secured claims, and the distribution of new equity and debt securities to the Debtors creditors and employees in satisfaction of allowed unsecured and deemed claims. The Plan of Reorganization contemplates UAL issuing up to 125 million shares of common stock (out of the one billion shares of new common stock authorized under its certificate of incorporation). The new common stock was listed on the NASDAQ National Market and began trading under the symbol UAUA
on February 2, 2006. Ultimately, distributions of common stock, subject to certain holdbacks as described in the Plan of Reorganization, will be as follows:
· Approximately 115 million shares of common stock to unsecured creditors and employees;
· Up to 9.825 million shares of common stock (or options or other rights to acquire shares) under the Management Equity Incentive Plan (MEIP) approved by the Bankruptcy Court; and
· Up to 175,000 shares of common stock (or options or other rights to acquire shares) under the Director Equity Incentive Plan (DEIP) approved by the Bankruptcy Court.
The Plan of Reorganization also provides for the issuance of the following securities:
· 5 million shares of 2% mandatorily convertible preferred stock issued to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) shortly after the Effective Date;
· Approximately $150 million in aggregate principal amount of 5% senior convertible notes issued to holders of certain municipal bonds shortly after the Effective Date;
· $726 million in aggregate principal amount of 4.5% senior limited-subordination convertible notes issued in July 2006 to certain irrevocable trusts established for the benefit of certain employees (the Limited-Subordination Notes);
· $500 million in aggregate principal amount of 6% senior notes issued to the PBGC shortly after the Effective Date; and
· $500 million in aggregate principal amount of 8% senior contingent notes (in up to eight equal tranches of $62.5 million) issuable to the PBGC upon the satisfaction of certain contingencies.
Pursuant to the Companys Plan of Reorganization, the Limited-Subordination Notes were required to be issued within 180 days of the Effective Date with a conversion price equal to 125% of the average closing price for the 60 consecutive trading days following February 1, 2006, and an interest rate established so the notes would trade at par upon issuance. In July 2006, the Company reached agreement with five of the seven eligible employee groups to modify the conversion price to instead be based upon the volume-weighted average price of the common stock over the two trading days ending on July 25, 2006. This modification resulted in a new conversion price of $34.84, rather than of $46.86, which was the conversion price under the initial terms of the notes. Because the reduction in the conversion price resulted in a benefit to noteholders, the Company was able to issue the notes at an interest rate of 4.5%, which is a lower rate of interest than would have been required under the initial terms in order for the notes to trade at par upon issuance. The Company reached agreement with the two other employee groups to pay them cash totaling approximately $0.4 million rather than issuing additional notes of similar value. See Note 11, Debt Obligations, in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further information.
Pursuant to the Plan of Reorganization, UAL common stock, preferred stock, and Trust Originated Preferred Securities issued before the Petition Date were canceled on the Effective Date, and no distribution was made to holders of those securities.
On the Effective Date, the Company secured access to $3.0 billion in secured exit financing (the Credit Facility) which consisted of a $2.45 billion term loan, a $350 million delayed draw term loan and a $200 million revolving credit line. On the Effective Date, the $2.45 billion term loan and the entire revolving credit line, consisting of $161 million in cash and $39 million of letters of credit, were drawn and used to repay the Debtor-In-Possession credit facility (the DIP Financing) and to make other payments required upon exit from bankruptcy, as well as to provide ongoing liquidity to conduct post-reorganization operations. Subsequently, during the first quarter of 2006, the Company repaid the entire outstanding balance on the revolving credit line and accessed the $350 million delayed draw term loan. In
February 2007, the Company prepaid $972 million of its Credit Facility debt and amended certain terms of the Credit Facility. For further details on the Credit Facility including the prepayment and related facility amendment (the Amended Credit Facility), see Note 11, Debt Obligations, in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Significant Matters Remaining to be Resolved in Bankruptcy Court. During the course of its Chapter 11 proceedings, the Company successfully reached settlements with most of its creditors and resolved most pending claims against the Debtors. However, certain significant matters remain to be resolved in the Bankruptcy Court. For details, see Note 1, Voluntary Reorganization Under Chapter 11Bankruptcy Considerations, in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Segments. UAL operates its businesses through two reporting segments: mainline and United Express. In 2006, in light of the Companys bankruptcy-related restructuring and organizational changes, management reevaluated the Companys segment reporting. As a result, the Company determined that the geographic regions and UAL Loyalty Services, LLC (ULS), which it previously reported as segments, were no longer segments requiring disclosure under Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 131, Disclosures about Segments of an Enterprise and Related Information (SFAS 131). UAL now manages its business as an integrated network with assets deployed across integrated mainline and regional carrier networks, whereas in the past United focused its business management decisions within specific geographic regions and services. This new focus on managing the business seeks to maximize the profitability of the overall airline network. The operations of ULS are included in mainline operations. See UAL Loyalty Services, LLC, below for further information on its business activities. Financial information on UALs reportable segments, including restated segment information for 2005 and 2004, can be found in Note 9, Segment Information, in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Mainline. Mainline operating revenues were $16.4 billion in 2006, $15.0 billion in 2005 and $14.5 billion in 2004. As of December 31, 2006, mainline domestic operations served 85 destinations primarily throughout the U.S. and Canada and operated hubs in Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Mainline international operations serve the Pacific, Atlantic, and Latin America regions. The Pacific region includes nonstop service to Beijing, Hong Kong, Nagoya, Osaka, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney and Tokyo (with service to Taipei scheduled to commence in June 2007); direct service to Bangkok, Seoul, Singapore and Taipei via its Tokyo hub; direct service to Ho Chi Minh City and Singapore via Hong Kong, and to Melbourne via Sydney. The Atlantic region includes nonstop service to Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, London, Munich, Paris and Zurich, with service to Rome scheduled to commence in April 2007. In 2006, United commenced service from Washington Dulles to Kuwait City as part of the Atlantic region. United also provides seasonal service to Bermuda. The Latin American region offers nonstop service to Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo and direct service to Montevideo (via Buenos Aires) and Rio de Janeiro (via Sao Paulo). The Latin American region also serves various Mexico destinations including Cancun, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, San Jose del Cabo, and Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo (seasonal); various Caribbean points including Aruba and seasonal service to Montego Bay, Nassau, Punta Cana, and St. Maarten; and Central America including Guatemala City, San Salvador and Liberia, Costa Rica (seasonal).
Operating revenues attributed to mainline domestic operations were $10.0 billion in 2006, $9.0 billion in 2005 and $9.1 billion in 2004. Operating revenues attributed to mainline international operations were $6.4 billion in 2006, $6.0 billion in 2005 and $5.3 billion in 2004. For purposes of the Companys geographic revenue reporting, the Company considers destinations in Mexico to be part of the Latin America region as opposed to the North America region. See Note 9, Segment Information, in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for financial information on the mainline and United Express segments and operating revenues by geographic regions as reported to the DOT.
As of December 31, 2006, the mainline segment operated 460 aircraft and produced approximately 143 billion available seat miles (ASMs) and 117 billion revenue passenger miles (RPMs) during 2006.
United Express. United Express operating revenues were $2.9 billion in 2006, $2.4 billion in 2005 and $1.9 billion in 2004. United has contractual relationships with various regional carriers to provide regional jet and turboprop service branded as United Express. United Express is an extension of the United mainline network (United, Ted and p.s.). SkyWest Airlines, Mesa Airlines, Colgan Airlines, Chautauqua Airlines, Shuttle America, Trans States Airlines and GoJet Airlines are all United Express carriers, most of which operate under capacity purchase agreements. Under these agreements, United pays the regional carriers contractually-agreed fees (carrier-controlled costs) for operating these flights plus a variable reimbursement (incentive payment) based on agreed performance metrics. The carrier-controlled costs are based on specific rates for various operating expenses of the United Express carriers, such as crew expenses, maintenance and aircraft ownership, some of which are multiplied by specific operating statistics (e.g., block hours, departures) while others are fixed monthly amounts. The incentive payment is a markup applied to the carrier-controlled costs for superior operational performance. Under these capacity agreements, United is responsible for all fuel costs incurred as well as landing fees, facilities rent and de-icing costs, which are passed through without any markup. In return, the regional carriers operate this capacity on schedules determined by United, which also determines pricing, revenues and inventory levels and assumes the inventory and distribution risk for the available seats.
The capacity agreements which United has entered into with United Express carriers do not include the provision of ground handling services. As a result, United Express sources ground handling support from a variety of third-party providers as well as by utilizing internal United resources in some cases.
While the regional carriers operating under capacity purchase agreements comprise over 95% of United Express flying, the Company also has limited prorate agreements with SkyWest Airlines and Colgan Airlines. Under these prorate agreements, United and its prorate partners agree to divide revenue collected from each passenger according to a formula, while both United and the prorate partners are individually responsible for their own costs of operations. United also collects a program fee from Colgan Airlines to cover certain marketing and distribution costs such as credit card transaction fees, global distribution systems (GDS) transaction fees, and frequent flyer costs. Unlike capacity purchase agreements, these prorate agreements require the regional carrier to retain the control and risk of scheduling, market selection, seat pricing and inventory for its flights.
As of December 31, 2006, United Express carriers operated 290 aircraft and produced approximately 16 billion ASMs and 12 billion RPMs during 2006.
Ted. In February of 2004, United launched Ted in Denver to provide a tailored single-class service, including Economy Plus seating, to better serve leisure destinations in the United network. Currently 56 A320 aircraft are configured for Ted service. Ted provides service from Uniteds hubs in Denver, Washington Dulles, Chicago OHare International Airport (OHare), Los Angeles and San Francisco to destinations in Arizona, California, Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, Mexico and the Caribbean. As of December 31, 2006, Ted provided service from all of Uniteds hubs to 11 destinations in the U.S., including its territories, and four in Mexico.
United Cargo. United Cargo offers both domestic and international shipping through a variety of services including United Small Package Delivery, EXP (Express), and GEN (General) cargo services. Freight shipments comprise approximately 85% of United Cargos volumes, with mail comprising the remainder. During 2006, United Cargo accounted for approximately 4% of UALs operating revenues by generating $750 million in freight and mail revenue, a 3% increase versus 2005.
United Services. United Services is a global airline support business offering customers comprehensive solutions for their aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), aircraft ground
handling and flight crew training. United Services brings nearly 80 years of experience to serve approximately 140 airline customers worldwide. MRO services account for approximately 75% of United Services revenue with ground handling and flight crew training accounting for the remainder. MRO revenue sources include engine maintenance, maintenance of high-tech components, line maintenance and landing gear maintenance. During 2006, United Services generated approximately $280 million in revenue, a 12% increase as compared to 2005.
Fuel. In 2006, fuel was the Companys largest operating expense. The Companys annual mainline and United Express fuel costs and consumption were as follows:
United Express fuel expense is classified as Regional affiliates expense in the Statements of Consolidated Operations.
The price and availability of jet fuel significantly affect the Companys results of operations. A significant rise in jet fuel prices was the primary reason that the Companys fuel expense increased in each of the last two years. The Company expects to be able to offset some, but not all, of any future fuel expense increases through higher revenues and the use of fuel hedge contracts.
To ensure adequate supplies of fuel and to provide a measure of control over fuel costs, the Company arranges to have fuel shipped on major pipelines and stored close to its major hub locations. Although the Company currently does not anticipate a significant reduction in the availability of jet fuel, a number of factors make predicting fuel prices and fuel availability uncertain, including changes in world energy demand, geopolitical uncertainties affecting energy supplies from oil-producing nations, industrial accidents, threats of terrorism directed at oil supply infrastructure, extreme weather conditions causing temporary shutdowns of production and refining capacity, and changes in relative demand for other petroleum products that may impact the quantity and price of jet fuel produced from period to period.
Alliances. United has entered into a number of bilateral and multilateral alliances with other airlines, expanding travel choices for our customers through these relationships by participating in markets worldwide that United does not serve directly. These marketing alliances typically include one or more of the following features: joint frequent flyer program participation; code sharing of flight operations (whereby selected seats on one carriers flights can be marketed under the brand name of another carrier); coordination of reservations, ticketing, passenger check-in, baggage handling and flight schedules; and other resource-sharing activities.
The most significant of these arrangements is the Star Alliance, a global integrated airline network co-founded by United in 1997. As of February 1, 2007, Star Alliance carriers serve over 800 destinations in over 150 countries with over 14,000 average daily flights. Current Star Alliance partners, in addition to United, are Air Canada, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, Asiana, the Austrian Airlines Group, bmi, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, SAS, Singapore Airways, South African Airways, Spanair, Swiss, TAP Portugal, Thai International Airways and US Airways.
In 2006, Star Alliance accepted the applications of Air China, Shanghai Airlines and Turkish Airlines to join the alliance. These airlines are in the process of completing their Star Alliance joining requirements.
United also has independent marketing agreements with other air carriers, not currently members of the Star Alliance, including Air China, Aloha, Gulfstream International, Great Lakes Airlines, TACA Group, Island Air, Shanghai Airlines and Virgin Blue.
Mileage Plus. Mileage Plus builds customer loyalty by offering awards and services to frequent travelers. Mileage Plus members can earn mileage credit for flights on United, United Express, Ted, members of the Star Alliance, and certain other airlines that participate in the program. Miles also can be earned by purchasing the goods and services of our non-airline partners, such as hotels, car rental companies, and credit card issuers. Mileage credits can be redeemed for free, discounted or upgraded travel and non-travel awards. There are nearly 50 million members enrolled in Mileage Plus. For a detailed description of the accounting treatment of Mileage Plus program activity, which was changed to a deferred revenue model upon the adoption of fresh-start reporting on the Effective Date, see Critical Accounting Policies in Item 7. Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.
UAL Loyalty Services, LLC. ULS focuses on expanding the non-core marketing businesses of United and building airline customer loyalty. ULS operates substantially all United-branded travel distribution and customer loyalty e-commerce activities, such as united.com. In addition, ULS owns and operates Mileage Plus, being responsible for member relationships, communications and account management; while United is responsible for other aspects of Mileage Plus, including elite membership programs such as Global Services, Premier, Premier Executive and Premier Executive 1K, and the establishment of award mileage redemption programs and airline-related customer loyalty recognition policies. United is also responsible for managing relationships with its Mileage Plus airline partners, while ULS manages relationships with non-airline business partners, such as the Mileage Plus Visa Card, hotels, car rental companies and dining programs, among others.
Distribution Channels. The majority of Uniteds airline seat inventory continues to be distributed through the traditional channels of travel agencies and GDS, such as Sabre and Galileo. The growing use of alternative distribution systems, including the Companys website and GDS new entrants, however, provides United with an opportunity to lower its ticket distribution costs. To encourage customer use of lower-cost channels and capitalize on these cost-saving opportunities, the Company will continue to expand the capabilities of its website, www.united.com, and it guarantees the availability of the lowest prices on united.com.
Seasonality. The air travel business is subject to seasonal fluctuations. The Companys operations can be adversely impacted by severe weather and the first and fourth quarter results of operations normally reflect lower travel demand. Historically, results of operations are better in the second and third quarters which reflect higher levels of travel demand.
Domestic Competition. The domestic airline industry is highly competitive and dynamic. In domestic markets, new and existing carriers are generally free to initiate service between any two points within the U.S. Uniteds competitors consist primarily of other airlines, a number of whom are low-cost carriers (LCC(s)) with lower-cost structures than Uniteds, and, to a lesser extent, other forms of transportation.
About 82% of Uniteds domestic revenue is now exposed to LCC competition. In 2006 and early 2007, Southwest Airlines, JetBlue Airways and other LCCs have initiated new service or expanded their service from certain of Uniteds hub cities. United has experience competing directly with LCCs in its markets and believes it is well positioned to compete effectively.
Domestic pricing decisions are largely affected by the need to meet competition from other U.S. airlines. Fare discounting by competitors has historically had a negative effect on the Companys financial results because United often finds it necessary to match competitors fares to maintain passenger traffic.
Attempts by United and other network airlines to raise fares often fail due to lack of competitive matching by LCCs; however, because of the pressure of higher fuel prices and other industry conditions, some fare increases have occurred. Because of different cost structures, low ticket prices that generate a profit for a LCC have usually had a negative effect on the Companys financial results.
International Competition. In Uniteds international networks, the Company competes not only with U.S. airlines, but also with foreign carriers. Competition on specified international routes is subject to varying degrees of governmental regulations. See Industry Regulation, below. As the U.S. is the largest market for air travel worldwide, Uniteds ability to generate U.S. originating traffic from its integrated domestic route systems provides United with an advantage over non-U.S. carriers. Foreign carriers are prohibited by U.S. law from carrying local passengers between two points in the U.S. and United experiences comparable restrictions in foreign countries. In addition, U.S. carriers are often constrained from carrying passengers to points beyond designated international gateway cities due to limitations in air service agreements or restrictions imposed unilaterally by foreign governments. To compensate for these structural limitations, U.S. and foreign carriers have entered into alliances and marketing arrangements that allow these carriers to feed traffic to each others flights (see Alliances, above, for further details).
Insurance. United carries hull and liability insurance of a type customary in the air transportation industry, in amounts that the Company deems appropriate, covering passenger liability, public liability and damage to Uniteds aircraft and other physical property. United also maintains other types of insurance such as property, directors and officers, cargo, automobile and the like, with limits and deductibles that are standard within the industry. Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Companys insurance premiums have increased significantly. Additionally, after September 11, 2001, commercial insurers canceled Uniteds liability insurance for losses resulting from war and associated perils (terrorism, sabotage, hijacking and other similar events). The U.S. government subsequently agreed to provide commercial war-risk insurance for U.S. based airlines until August 31, 2007 covering losses to employees, passengers, third parties and aircraft. The Secretary of Transportation may extend this coverage until December 31, 2007. If the U.S. government does not extend this coverage beyond August 31, 2007, obtaining comparable coverage from commercial underwriters could result in substantially higher premiums and more restrictive terms, if it is available at all. See Increases in insurance costs or reductions in insurance coverage may adversely impact the Companys operations and financial results in Item 1A. Risk Factors, below.
General. All carriers engaged in air transportation in the United States are subject to regulation by the DOT. Among its responsibilities, the DOT issues certificates of public convenience and necessity for domestic air transportation (no air carrier, unless exempted, may provide air transportation without a DOT certificate of public convenience and necessity), grants international route authorities, approves international code share agreements, regulates methods of competition and enforces certain consumer protection regulations, such as those dealing with advertising, denied boarding compensation and baggage liability.
Airlines also are regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a division of the DOT, primarily in the areas of flight operations, maintenance and other safety and technical matters. The FAA has authority to issue air carrier operating certificates and aircraft airworthiness certificates, prescribe maintenance procedures, and regulate pilot and other employee training, among other responsibilities. From time to time, the FAA issues rules that require air carriers to take certain actions, such as the inspection or modification of aircraft and other equipment, that may cause the Company to incur substantial, unplanned expenses. The airline industry is also subject to various other federal, state and local
laws and regulations. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has jurisdiction over virtually all aspects of civil aviation security. See Legislation, below. The U.S. Department of Justice has jurisdiction over certain airline competition matters. The U.S. Postal Service has authority over certain aspects of the transportation of mail. Labor relations in the airline industry are generally governed by the Railway Labor Act (RLA). The Company is also subject to inquiries by the DOT, FAA and other U.S. and international regulatory bodies.
Airport Access. Access to landing and take-off rights, or slots, at several major U.S. airports and many foreign airports served by United are, or recently have been, subject to government regulation. The FAA designated John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York, LaGuardia Airport (LaGuardia) in New York and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C. as high density traffic airports and has limited the number of departure and arrival slots at those airports. Slot restrictions at OHare were eliminated in July 2002 and were eliminated at JFK and LaGuardia in January 2007. From time to time, the elimination of slot restrictions has impacted Uniteds operational performance and reliability.
Notwithstanding the formal elimination of slot restrictions at OHare in July 2002, the FAA imposed temporary restrictions on flight operations there beginning in 2004 to address air traffic congestion concerns. In August 2006, the FAA issued a longer-term rule restricting flight operations at OHare, which remains in effect until 2008.
At LaGuardia, the FAA has proposed an interim rule that would impose caps and restrictions on flight operations similar to those in effect at OHare. The interim rule took effect in January 2007 when the high density rule expired. The FAA has also proposed a longer-term rule at LaGuardia that is designed to control air traffic congestion there indefinitely. The longer-term proposal contains several novel elements that could impact Uniteds schedule and operational performance at LaGuardia. It is not possible to predict whether or when such longer-term rules might take effect.
Legislation. The airline industry is also subject to legislative activity that can have an impact on operations and costs. Specifically, the law that authorizes federal excise taxes and fees assessed on airline tickets expires in September 2007. In 2007, Congress will attempt to pass comprehensive reauthorization legislation to impose a new funding structure and make other changes to FAA operations. Past aviation reauthorization bills have affected a wide range of areas of interest to the industry, including air traffic control operations, capacity control issues, airline competition issues, aircraft and airport technology requirements, safety issues, taxes, fees and other funding sources.
Additionally, since September 11, 2001, aviation security has been and continues to be a subject of frequent legislative action, requiring changes to our security processes and increasing the cost of security procedures for the Company. The Aviation and Transportation Security Act (the Aviation Security Act), enacted in November 2001, has had wide-ranging effects on our operations. The Aviation Security Act made the federal government responsible for virtually all aspects of civil aviation security, creating a new Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which is a part of the DHS pursuant to the Homeland Security Act of 2002. Under the Aviation Security Act, substantially all security screeners at airports are now federal employees and significant other aspects of airline and airport security are now overseen by the TSA. Pursuant to the Aviation Security Act, funding for airline and airport security is provided in part by a passenger security fee of $2.50 per flight segment (capped at $10.00 per round trip), which is collected by the air carriers from passengers and remitted to the government. In addition, air carriers are required to submit to the government an additional security fee equal to the amount each air carrier paid for security screening of passengers and property in 2000. Congress is expected to continue to focus on changes to aviation security law and requirements in 2007. Particular areas of attention that could result in increased costs for air carriers will likely include new requirements on cargo screening, possible deployment of antimissile technology on passenger aircraft and potential for increased passenger and carrier security fees.
General. International air transportation is subject to extensive government regulation. In connection with Uniteds international services, the Company is regulated by both the U.S. government and the governments of the foreign countries United serves. In addition, the availability of international routes to U.S. carriers is regulated by treaties and related aviation agreements between the U.S. and foreign governments, and in some cases, fares and schedules require the approval of the DOT and/or the relevant foreign governments.
Airport Access. Historically, access to foreign markets has been tightly controlled through bilateral agreements between the U.S. and each foreign country involved. These agreements regulate the number of markets served, the number of carriers allowed to serve each market, and the frequency of carriers flights. Since the early 1990s, the U.S. has pursued a policy of open skies (meaning all carriers have access to the destination), under which the U.S. government has negotiated a number of bilateral agreements allowing unrestricted access to foreign markets. Additionally, all of the airports that United serves in Europe and Asia maintain slot controls, and many of these are restrictive due to congestion at these airports. London Heathrow, Frankfurt and Tokyo Narita are among the most restrictive due to capacity limitations, and United has significant operations at these locations.
Further, Uniteds ability to serve some countries and expand into certain others is limited by the absence altogether of aviation agreements between the U.S. and the relevant governments. Shifts in U.S. or foreign government aviation policies can lead to the alteration or termination of air service agreements between the U.S. and other countries. Depending on the nature of the change, the value of Uniteds route authorities may be materially enhanced or diminished.
In February 2007, the U.S. government and the European Union (EU) Commission concluded the negotiation of a proposed transatlantic aviation agreement to replace the existing bilateral arrangements between the U.S. government and the EU member states. The EU Council of Transport Ministers (the Council) must approve the agreement by unanimous vote. The Council is scheduled to consider the matter at its next meeting in late March 2007.
The proposed U.S./EU agreement is based on the U.S. open skies model and would authorize U.S. airlines to operate between the United States and any point in the EU and beyond, free from government restrictions on capacity, frequencies and scheduling and provides EU carriers with reciprocal rights in these U.S./EU markets. Currently, only 16 of the 27 EU member states have open skies agreements with the United States. The agreement would authorize all U.S. and EU carriers to operate services between the United States and London Heathrow, thereby adding competition to Uniteds Heathrow operation, although Heathrow is slot and terminal constrained.
The proposed agreement would also resolve a legal issue concerning the nationality clauses in the existing bilateral agreements between the United States and the EU member states. The proposed agreement would replace this clause with a community carrier clause that would allow carriers owned and controlled by EU citizens to operate services to the United States from any point in the EU.
The proposed agreement would confer a number of additional rights on EU carriers that are designed to redress what the EU considers to be an imbalance between U.S. carrier access to the intra-EU market versus EU carrier access to the U.S. domestic market. In particular, EU ownership of more than 50 percent of a U.S. carrier will not be presumed to violate the actual control by U.S. citizens requirement, provided foreign ownership of the voting equity of the U.S. carrier does not exceed the statutory limit of 25 percent. U.S. ownership of EU carriers may not exceed 49.9 percent and the EU may enact legislation restricting US ownership of the voting stock of EU airlines to 25 percent. The agreement also provides EU passenger carriers with the right to operate between the U.S. and a limited number of non-EU countries and does not provide reciprocal rights to U.S. carriers. It is uncertain at this early stage what commercial effects these provisions may have.
If the Council approves the agreement, it is scheduled to go into effect during the winter season of 2007 with a transition to open skies for Ireland in the summer season of 2008. If the Council does not approve the agreement, the EU Commission may call upon the member states to renounce their existing bilateral agreements with the U.S. or face infringement proceedings. If EU member states renounce their agreements with the U.S., the status of Uniteds existing antitrust immunity with its European partners would be in doubt because the immunity is based upon an open skies agreement between the U.S. and the applicable EU member state.
The EU Commission has or is expected to propose important new legislation by the end of 2007 that will also impact the Company. New proposed legislation may officially sanction secondary slot trading, which is a current practice among carriers that involves the sale, purchase or lease of slots. If adopted, that legislation should resolve disputes about the legality of slot exchanges at EU airports and permit carriers to continue with this longstanding practice. In addition, on December 20, 2006, the EU Commission proposed legislation to include aviation within the EUs existing emissions trading scheme. If adopted, such a measure could add significantly to the costs of operating in Europe. The precise cost to United will depend upon the terms of the legislation enacted, which would determine whether United will be forced to buy emission allowances and the cost at which these allowances may be obtained.
Pursuant to an agreement reached in December 2005, a full open skies agreement between the United States and Canada is likely to take effect in early 2007. The DOT is expected to finalize its tentative decision from December 2006 approving Uniteds proposed 9-party antitrust immunity application (including United, Air Canada, Lufthansa, SAS, Austrian, Swiss, LOT, TAP and bmi). At that time, United and Air Canada will be permitted to expand their existing antitrust immunity beyond the currently allowed transborder region.
The airline industry is subject to increasingly stringent federal, state, local, and foreign environmental laws and regulations concerning emissions to the air, discharges to surface and subsurface waters, safe drinking water, and the management of hazardous substances, oils, and waste materials. New regulations surrounding the emission of greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide) are being considered for promulgation both internationally and within the United States. United will be carefully evaluating the potential impact of such proposed regulations. Other areas of developing regulations include the State of California rule-makings regarding air emissions from ground support equipment and a federal rule-making concerning the discharge of deicing fluid. The airline industry is also subject to other environmental laws and regulations, including those that require the Company to remediate soil or groundwater to meet certain objectives. Compliance with all environmental laws and regulations can require significant expenditures. Under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, commonly known as Superfund, and similar environmental cleanup laws, generators of waste materials, and owners or operators of facilities, can be subject to liability for investigation and remediation costs at locations that have been identified as requiring response actions. The Company also conducts voluntary environmental assessment and remediation actions. Environmental cleanup obligations can arise from, among other circumstances, the operation of aircraft fueling facilities, and primarily involve airport sites. Future costs associated with these activities are currently not expected to have a material adverse affect on the Companys business.
As of December 31, 2006, the Company and its subsidiaries had approximately 55,000 active employees, of whom approximately 81% were represented by various U.S. labor organizations.
As of December 31, 2006, the employee groups, number of employees and labor organization for each of Uniteds collective bargaining groups were as follows:
(1) International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), Association of Flight AttendantsCommunication Workers of America (AFA), Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA), International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) and Professional Airline Flight Control Association (PAFCA).
Collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) are negotiated under the RLA, which governs labor relations in the air transportation industry, and such agreements typically do not contain an expiration date. Instead, they specify an amendable date, upon which the contract is considered open for amendment. Before the amendable date, neither party is required to agree to modifications to the bargaining agreement. Nevertheless, nothing prevents the parties from agreeing to start negotiations or to modify the agreement in advance of the amendable date. Contracts remain in effect while new agreements are negotiated. During the negotiating period, both the Company and the negotiating union are required to maintain the status quo.
The following risk factors should be read carefully when evaluating the Companys business and the forward-looking statements contained in this report and other statements the Company or its representatives make from time to time. Any of the following risks could materially adversely affect the Companys business, operating results, financial condition and the actual outcome of matters as to which forward-looking statements are made in this report.
Continued periods of historically high fuel costs or significant disruptions in the supply of aircraft fuel could have a material adverse impact on the Companys operating results.
The Companys operating results have been and continue to be significantly impacted by changes in the availability or price of aircraft fuel. Previous record-high fuel prices increased substantially in 2006 as compared to 2005. At times, United has not been able to increase its fares when fuel prices have risen due to the highly competitive nature of the airline industry, and it may not be able to do so in the future. Although the Company is currently able to obtain adequate supplies of aircraft fuel, it is impossible to predict the future availability or price of aircraft fuel. In addition, from time to time the Company enters into hedging arrangements to protect against rising fuel costs. The Companys ability to hedge in the future, however, may be limited due to market conditions and other factors.
Additional terrorist attacks or the fear of such attacks, even if not made directly on the airline industry, could negatively affect the Company and the airline industry.
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 involving commercial aircraft severely and adversely affected the Companys financial condition and results of operations, as well as prospects for the airline industry generally. Among the effects experienced from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were substantial flight disruption costs caused by the FAA-imposed temporary grounding of the U.S. airline industrys fleet, significantly increased security costs and associated passenger inconvenience, increased insurance costs, substantially higher ticket refunds and significantly decreased traffic and revenue per revenue passenger mile (yield).
Additional terrorist attacks, even if not made directly on the airline industry, or the fear of or the precautions taken in anticipation of such attacks (including elevated national threat warnings or selective cancellation or redirection of flights) could materially and adversely affect the Company and the airline industry. The war in Iraq and additional international hostilities could also have a material adverse impact on the Companys financial condition, liquidity and results of operations. The Companys financial resources might not be sufficient to absorb the adverse effects of any further terrorist attacks or an increase in post-war unrest in Iraq or other international hostilities involving the United States.
The airline industry is highly competitive and susceptible to price discounting.
The U.S. airline industry is characterized by substantial price competition, especially in domestic markets. Some of our competitors have substantially greater financial resources or lower-cost structures than United does, or both. In recent years, the market share held by LCCs has increased significantly. Large network carriers, like United, have often had a lack of pricing power within domestic markets.
In addition, U.S. Airways, Northwest, Delta and several small U.S. competitors have recently reorganized or are currently reorganizing under bankruptcy protection. Other carriers could file for bankruptcy or threaten to do so to reduce their costs. Carriers operating under bankruptcy protection can operate in a manner that could be adverse to the Company and could emerge from bankruptcy as more vigorous competitors.
From time to time the U.S. airline industry has undergone consolidation, as in the recent merger of U.S. Airways and America West, and may experience additional consolidation in the future. United routinely monitors changes in the competitive landscape and engages in analysis and discussions regarding its strategic position, including alliances, asset acquisitions and business combinations. If other airlines participate in merger activity, those airlines may significantly improve their cost structures or revenue generation capabilities, thereby potentially making them stronger competitors of United.
Additional security requirements may increase the Companys costs and decrease its traffic.
Since September 11, 2001, the DHS and the TSA have implemented numerous security measures that affect airline operations and costs, and are likely to implement additional measures in the future. In addition, foreign governments have also begun to institute additional security measures at foreign airports United serves. A substantial portion of the costs of these security measures is borne by the airlines and their passengers, increasing the Companys costs and/or reducing its revenue.
Security measures imposed by the U.S. and foreign governments after September 11, 2001 have increased Uniteds costs and may further adversely affect the Company and its financial results. Additional measures taken to enhance either passenger or cargo security procedures and/or to recover associated costs in the future may result in similar adverse effects.
Extensive government regulation could increase the Companys operating costs and restrict its ability to conduct its business.
Airlines are subject to extensive regulatory and legal compliance requirements that result in significant costs. In addition to the enactment of the Aviation Security Act, laws, regulations, taxes and airport rates and charges have been proposed from time to time that could significantly increase the cost of airline operations or reduce airline revenue. The FAA from time to time also issues directives and other regulations relating to the maintenance and operation of aircraft that require significant expenditures by the Company. The Company expects to continue incurring material expenses to comply with the regulations of the FAA and other agencies.
United operates under a certificate of public convenience and necessity issued by the DOT. If the DOT altered, amended, modified, suspended or revoked Uniteds certificate, it could have a material adverse effect on its business. The FAA can also limit Uniteds airport access by limiting the number of departure and arrival slots at high density traffic airports and local airport authorities may have the ability to control access to certain facilities or the cost of access to such facilities, which could have an adverse effect on the Companys business.
Many aspects of Uniteds operations are also subject to increasingly stringent federal, state and local laws protecting the environment. Future regulatory developments in the U.S. and abroad could adversely affect operations and increase operating costs in the airline industry. For example, potential future actions that may be taken by the U.S. government, foreign governments, or the International Civil Aviation Organization to limit the emission of greenhouse gases by the aviation industry are uncertain at this time, but the impact to the Company and its industry would likely be adverse and could be significant.
The ability of U.S. carriers to operate international routes is subject to change because the applicable arrangements between the United States and foreign governments may be amended from time to time, or because appropriate slots or facilities may not be made available. United currently operates on a number of international routes under government arrangements that limit the number of carriers, capacity, or the number of carriers allowed access to particular airports. If an open skies policy were to be adopted for any of these routes, such an event could have a material adverse impact on the Companys financial position and results of operations and could result in the impairment of material amounts of related intangible assets.
Further, the Companys operations in foreign countries are subject to various laws and regulations in those countries. The Company cannot provide any assurance that current laws and regulations, or laws or regulations enacted in the future, will not adversely affect its financial condition or results of operations.
The Companys results of operations fluctuate due to seasonality and other factors associated with the airline industry.
Due to greater demand for air travel during the summer months, revenues in the airline industry in the second and third quarters of the year are generally stronger than revenues in the first and fourth quarters of the year. The Companys results of operations generally reflect this seasonality, but have also been impacted by numerous other factors that are not necessarily seasonal including, among others, the imposition of excise and similar taxes, extreme or severe weather, air traffic control delays and general economic conditions. As a result, the Companys quarterly operating results are not necessarily indicative of operating results for an entire year and historical operating results are not necessarily indicative of future operating results.
The Companys financial condition and results of operations may be further affected by the future resolution of bankruptcy-related contingencies.
Despite the Companys exit from bankruptcy on February 1, 2006, several significant matters remain to be resolved in connection with its reorganization under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. Unfavorable resolution of these matters could have a material adverse effect on the Companys business. For additional detail regarding these matters, see Note 1, Voluntary Reorganization Under Chapter 11Bankruptcy Considerations, in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
The Companys initiatives to improve the delivery of its products and services to its customers, reduce costs, and increase its revenues may not be adequate or successful.
The Company continues to identify and implement continuous improvement programs to improve the delivery of its products and services to its customers, reduce its costs and increase its revenues. Some of these efforts are focused on cost savings in such areas as telecommunications, airport services, catering, maintenance materials, aircraft ground handling and regional affiliates. A number of the Companys ongoing initiatives involve significant changes to the Companys business that it may be unable to implement successfully. The adequacy and ultimate success of the Companys programs and initiatives to improve the delivery of its products and services to its customers, reduce its costs and increase its revenues cannot be assured.
Union disputes, employee strikes and other labor-related disruptions may adversely affect the Companys operations.
Approximately 81% of the employees of UAL are represented for collective bargaining purposes by U.S. labor unions. These employees are organized into six labor groups represented by six different unions.
Relations between air carriers and labor unions in the United States are governed by the RLA. Under the RLA, a carrier must maintain the existing terms and conditions of employment following the amendable date through a multi-stage and usually lengthy series of bargaining processes overseen by the National Mediation Board. This process continues until either the parties have reached agreement on a new CBA or the parties are released to self-help by the National Mediation Board. Although in most circumstances the RLA prohibits strikes, shortly after release by the National Mediation Board carriers and unions are free to engage in self-help measures such as strikes and lock-outs. All of the Companys U.S. labor agreements become amendable in January 2010. There is also a risk that dissatisfied employees, either with or without union involvement, could engage in illegal slow-downs, work stoppages, partial work
stoppages, sick-outs or other actions short of a full strike that could individually or collectively harm the operation of the airline and impair its financial performance.
Increases in insurance costs or reductions in insurance coverage may adversely impact the Companys operations and financial results.
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 led to a significant increase in insurance premiums and a decrease in the insurance coverage available to commercial airlines. Accordingly, the Companys insurance costs increased significantly and its ability to continue to obtain certain types of insurance remains uncertain. The Company has obtained third-party war risk (terrorism) insurance through a special program administered by the FAA, resulting in lower premiums than if it had obtained this insurance in the commercial insurance market. Should the government discontinue this coverage, obtaining comparable coverage from commercial underwriters could result in substantially higher premiums and more restrictive terms, if it is available at all. If the Company is unable to obtain adequate war risk insurance, its business could be materially and adversely affected.
If any of Uniteds aircraft were to be involved in an accident, the Company could be exposed to significant liability. The insurance it carries to cover damages arising from any future accidents may be inadequate. If the Companys insurance is not adequate, it may be forced to bear substantial losses from an accident.
The Company relies heavily on automated systems to operate its business and any significant failure of these systems could harm its business.
The Company depends on automated systems to operate its business, including its computerized airline reservation systems, flight operations systems, telecommunication systems and commercial websites, including united.com. Uniteds website and reservation systems must be able to accommodate a high volume of traffic and deliver important flight information, as well as process critical financial transactions. Substantial or repeated website, reservations systems or telecommunication systems failures could reduce the attractiveness of Uniteds services versus its competitors and materially impair its ability to market its services and operate its flights.
The Companys business relies extensively on third-party providers. Failure of these parties to perform as expected, or unexpected interruptions in the Companys relationships with these providers or their provision of services to the Company, could have an adverse effect on its financial condition and results of operations.
The Company has engaged a growing number of third-party service providers to perform a large number of functions that are integral to its business, such as operation of United Express flights, operation of customer service call centers, provision of information technology infrastructure and services, provision of maintenance and repairs, provision of various utilities and performance of aircraft fueling operations, among other vital functions and services. The Company does not directly control these third-party providers, although it does enter into agreements with many of them that define expected service performance. Any of these third-party providers, however, may materially fail to meet their service performance commitments to the Company. The failure of these providers to adequately perform their service obligations, or other unexpected interruptions of services, may reduce the Companys revenues and increase its expenses or prevent United from operating its flights and providing other services to its customers. In addition, the Companys business and financial performance could be materially harmed if its customers believe that its services are unreliable or unsatisfactory.
The Companys high level of fixed obligations could limit its ability to fund general corporate requirements and obtain additional financing, could limit its flexibility in responding to competitive developments and could increase its vulnerability to adverse economic and industry conditions.
The Company has a significant amount of financial leverage from fixed obligations, including the Amended Credit Facility, aircraft lease and debt financings, leases of airport property and other facilities, and other material cash obligations. In addition, as of February 2, 2007, the Company had pledged all of its available assets as collateral to secure its various fixed obligations, except for certain aircraft and related parts with an estimated current market value of approximately $2.5 billion.
The Companys high level of fixed obligations or a downgrade in the Companys credit ratings could impair its ability to obtain additional financing, if needed, and reduce its flexibility to conduct its business. Certain of the Companys existing indebtedness also requires it to meet covenants and financial tests to maintain ongoing access to those borrowings. See Note 11, Debt Obligations, in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further details. A failure to timely pay its debts or other material uncured breach of its contractual obligations could result in a variety of adverse consequences, including the acceleration of the Companys indebtedness, the withholding of credit card sale proceeds by its credit card service providers and the exercise of other remedies by its creditors and equipment lessors that could result in material adverse effects on the Companys operations and financial condition. In such a situation, it is unlikely that the Company would be able to fulfill its obligations to repay the accelerated indebtedness, make required lease payments, or otherwise cover its fixed costs.
The Companys net operating loss carry forward may be limited.
The Company has a net operating loss (NOL) carry forward of approximately $2.7 billion for federal and state income tax purposes that primarily originated before UALs emergence from bankruptcy and will expire over a five to twenty year period. This tax benefit is mostly attributable to federal NOL carry forwards of $7.0 billion. If the Company were to have a change of ownership within the meaning of Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code, under current conditions, its annual federal NOL utilization could be limited to an amount equal to its market capitalization at the time of the ownership change multiplied by the federal long-term tax exempt rate.
To avoid a potential adverse effect on the Companys ability to utilize its NOL carry forward for federal income tax purposes after the Effective Date, the Companys certificate of incorporation contains a 5% Ownership Limitation, applicable to all stockholders except the PBGC. The 5% Ownership Limitation remains effective until February 1, 2011. While the purpose of these transfer restrictions is to prevent a change of ownership from occurring within the meaning of Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code (which ownership change would materially and adversely affect the Companys ability to utilize its NOL carry forward or other tax attributes), no assurance can be given that such an ownership change will not occur, in which case the availability of the Companys substantial NOL carry forward and other federal income tax attributes would be significantly limited or possibly eliminated.
The Company has identified a material weakness in its internal control over financial reporting associated with tax accounting as of December 31, 2006 that, if not properly remediated, could result in material misstatements in its financial statements in future periods.
Based on an evaluation of our internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2006, our management has concluded that such internal control over financial reporting was not effective as of such date due to the existence of a deficiency in the operation of our internal accounting controls, which constituted a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting. While the controls were properly designed and did not result in a material misstatement, they did not operate effectively to ensure proper accounting and disclosure of income taxes. The Company has suffered from high management attrition during its reorganization. The material weakness was primarily related to high staff turnover in the tax department.
As defined in Public Company Accounting Oversight Board Auditing Standard No. 2, a material weakness is a significant deficiency, or a combination of significant deficiencies, that results in more than a remote likelihood that a material misstatement of a Companys annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected.
Because of this material weakness, there is a risk that a material misstatement of our annual or quarterly financial statements may not be prevented or detected. The Company has taken and will continue to take whatever steps are necessary to remediate the material weakness, including the hiring of staff, use of external advisors, as well as implementing a more rigorous review process of tax accounting and disclosure matters. We cannot guarantee, however, that such remediation efforts will correct the material weakness such that our internal control over financial reporting will be effective. In the event that we do not adequately remedy this material weakness, or if we fail to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting in future periods, our access to capital could be adversely affected.
The Company is subject to economic and political instability and other risks of doing business globally.
The Company is a global business with operations outside of the United States from which it derives approximately one-third of its operating revenues. The Companys operations in Asia, Latin America, Middle East and Europe are a vital part of its worldwide airline network. Volatile economic, political and market conditions in these international regions may have a negative impact on the Companys operating results and its ability to achieve its business objectives. In addition, significant or volatile changes in exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and other currencies, the imposition of exchange controls or other currency restrictions may have a material adverse impact upon the Companys liquidity, revenues, costs, or operating results.
The loss of skilled employees upon whom the Company depends to operate its business or the inability to attract additional qualified personnel could adversely affect its results of operations.
The Company believes that its future success will depend in large part on its ability to attract and retain highly qualified management, technical and other personnel. The Company may not be successful in retaining key personnel or in attracting and retaining other highly qualified personnel. Any inability to retain or attract significant numbers of qualified management and other personnel could adversely affect its business.
The Company could be adversely affected by an outbreak of a disease that affects travel behavior.
An outbreak of a disease that affects travel behavior, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) or avian flu, could have a material adverse impact on the Companys business, financial condition and results of operations.
Certain provisions of the Companys governance documents could discourage or delay changes of control or changes to the board of directors of the Company.
Certain provisions of the amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws of UAL (the Governance Documents) may make it difficult for stockholders to change the composition of the Companys board of directors and may discourage takeover attempts that some of its stockholders may consider beneficial.
Certain provisions of the Governance Documents may have the effect of delaying or preventing changes in control if the Companys board of directors determines that such changes in control are not in the best interests of UAL and its stockholders.
These provisions of the Governance Documents are not intended to prevent a takeover, but are intended to protect and maximize the value of the Companys stockholders interests. While these provisions have the effect of encouraging persons seeking to acquire control of the Company to negotiate
with the board of directors, they could enable the board of directors to prevent a transaction that some, or a majority, of its stockholders might believe to be in their best interests and, in that case, may prevent or discourage attempts to remove and replace incumbent directors.
The Companys common stock has a limited trading history and its market price may be volatile.
Because the Companys common stock began trading on the NASDAQ National Market on February 2, 2006, there is limited trading history. The market price of its common stock may fluctuate substantially due to a variety of factors, many of which are beyond the Companys control.
The issuance of additional shares of the Companys common stock, including upon conversion of its convertible preferred stock and its convertible notes, could cause dilution to the interests of its existing stockholders.
In connection with the Companys emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the Company issued 5,000,000 shares of 2% convertible preferred stock. This preferred stock may be converted into shares of the Companys common stock upon the earlier of February 1, 2008, or upon a fundamental change or change in control of the Company. Further, the preferred stock is mandatorily convertible 15 years from the issuance date. The Company also issued approximately $150 million in convertible 5% notes shortly after the Effective Date, and subsequently issued approximately $726 million in convertible 4.5% notes on July 25, 2006. Holders of these securities may convert them into shares of the Companys common stock according to their terms. If the holders of the convertible preferred stock or the holders of the convertible notes were to exercise their rights to convert their securities into common stock, it could cause substantial dilution to existing stockholders. For further information, see Note 1, Voluntary Reorganization Under Chapter 11Bankruptcy Considerations and Note 11Debt Obligations, in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
The Companys certificate of incorporation authorizes up to one billion shares of common stock. In certain circumstances, the Company can issue shares of common stock without stockholder approval. In addition, the board of directors is authorized to issue up to 250 million shares of preferred stock without any action on the part of the Companys stockholders. The board of directors also has the power, without stockholder approval, to set the terms of any series of shares of preferred stock that may be issued, including voting rights, conversion rights, dividend rights, preferences over the Companys common stock with respect to dividends or if the Company liquidates, dissolves or winds up its business and other terms. If the Company issues preferred stock in the future that has a preference over its common stock with respect to the payment of dividends or upon its liquidation, dissolution or winding up, or if the Company issues preferred stock with voting rights that dilute the voting power of its common stock, the rights of holders of its common stock or the market price of its common stock could be adversely affected. The Company is also authorized to issue, without stockholder approval, other securities convertible into either preferred stock or, in certain circumstances, common stock. In the future the Company may decide to raise capital through offerings of its common stock, securities convertible into its common stock, or rights to acquire these securities or its common stock. The issuance of additional shares of common stock or securities convertible into common stock could result in dilution of existing stockholders equity interests in the Company. Issuances of substantial amounts of its common stock, or the perception that such issuances could occur, may adversely affect prevailing market prices for the Companys common stock and the Company cannot predict the effect this dilution may have on the price of its common stock.
Details of UALs mainline operating fleet as of December 31, 2006 are provided in the following table:
As of December 31, 2006, all of the aircraft owned by UAL were encumbered under debt agreements. The amendment of the Credit Facility, creating the Amended Credit Facility on February 2, 2007, enabled the Company to remove 101 aircraft from the Amended Credit Facility collateral pool. For additional information on aircraft financings see Note 11, Debt Obligations and Note 16, Lease Obligations, in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
United has entered into various leases relating to its use of airport landing areas, gates, hangar sites, terminal buildings and other airport facilities in most of the municipalities it serves. These leases were subject to assumption or rejection under the Chapter 11 process. As of December 31, 2006, United had assumed major facility leases in Washington (Dulles and Reagan), Denver (terminal lease only), San Francisco, Newark (terminal lease only), Austin, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit (terminal lease only), Las Vegas, Oakland, Portland, Fort Meyers (fuel system lease only), Orange County and Tucson. Major facility leases expire at San Francisco in 2011 and 2013, Washington Dulles in 2014, Chicago OHare in 2018, Los Angeles in 2021 and Denver in 2025.
The Company owns a 66.5-acre complex in suburban Chicago consisting of more than 1 million square feet of office space for its former world headquarters, a computer facility and a training center. United also owns a flight training center, located in Denver, which accommodates 36 flight simulators and more than 90 computer-based training stations. The Company owns a limited number of other properties, including a reservations facility in Denver and a crew hotel in Honolulu. All of these facilities are mortgaged.
Beginning in March 2007, the Company will move approximately 350 management employees, including its senior management, to its new headquarters in downtown Chicago. The Companys new corporate headquarters will be located at 77 West Wacker Drive, where the Company leases approximately 137,000 square feet of office space. The Companys former world headquarters, located in suburban Elk Grove Township, will become the Operations Center. Consistent with the Companys goals of achieving additional cost savings and operational efficiencies, the Company will relocate employees from several of its other suburban Chicago facilities into the new Operations Center.
The Companys Maintenance Operation Center at San Francisco International Airport occupies 130 acres of land, 2.9 million square feet of floor space and 9 aircraft hangar bays under a lease expiring in 2013.
Uniteds off-airport leased properties historically included a number of ticketing, sales and general office facilities in the downtown and suburban areas of most of the larger cities within the United system. As part of the Companys restructuring and cost containment efforts, United closed, terminated or rejected all of its former domestic city ticket office leases. United continues to lease and operate a number of administrative, reservations, sales and other support facilities worldwide. United also continues to evaluate opportunities to reduce space requirements at its airports and off-airport locations.
In re: UAL Corporation, et. al.
As discussed above, on the Petition Date the Debtors filed voluntary petitions to reorganize their businesses under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. On October 20, 2005, the Debtors filed the Debtors First Amended Joint Plan of Reorganization Pursuant to Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code and the Disclosure Statement. The Bankruptcy Court approved the Disclosure Statement on October 21, 2005.
Commencing on October 27, 2005, the Disclosure Statement, ballots for voting to accept or reject the proposed plan of reorganization and other solicitation documents were distributed to all classes of creditors eligible to vote on the proposed plan of reorganization. After a hearing on confirmation, on January 20, 2006, the Bankruptcy Court confirmed the Plan of Reorganization. The Plan of Reorganization became effective and the Debtors emerged from bankruptcy protection on the Effective Date.
Numerous pre-petition claims still await resolution in the Bankruptcy Court due to the Companys objections to either the existence of liability or the amount of the claim. The process of determining whether liability exists and liquidating the amounts due is likely to continue through 2007. Additionally, certain significant matters remain to be resolved in the Bankruptcy Court. For details see Note 1, Voluntary Reorganization Under Chapter 11Bankruptcy Considerations, in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Air Cargo/Passenger Surcharge Investigations
In February 2006, the European Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice commenced an international investigation into what government officials describe as a possible price fixing conspiracy relating to certain surcharges included in tariffs for carrying air cargo. In June 2006, United received a subpoena from the U.S. Department of Justice requesting information related to certain passenger pricing practices and surcharges applicable to international passenger routes. The Company is cooperating fully. United is considered a source of information for the investigation, not a target. In addition to the federal grand jury investigation, United and other air cargo carriers have been named as defendants in over ninety class action lawsuits alleging civil damages as a result of the purported air cargo pricing conspiracy. Those lawsuits have been consolidated for pretrial activities in the United States Federal Court for the Eastern District of New York. United has entered into an agreement with the majority of the private plaintiffs to dismiss United from the class action lawsuits in return for an agreement to cooperate with the plaintiffs factual investigation. More than fifty additional putative class actions have also been filed alleging violations of the antitrust laws with respect to passenger pricing practices. Those lawsuits have been consolidated for pretrial activities in the United States Federal Court for the Northern District of California (Federal Court). United has entered a settlement agreement with a number of the plaintiffs in the passenger pricing cases to dismiss United from the class action lawsuits in return for an agreement to cooperate with the plaintiffs factual investigation. The settlement agreement is subject to review and approval by the Federal Court. Penalties for violating competition laws can be severe, involving both criminal and civil liability. The Company is cooperating with the grand jury investigations while carrying out its own internal review of its pricing practices, and is not in a position to evaluate the potential financial impact of this litigation at this time. However, a finding that the Company violated either U.S. antitrust laws or the competition laws of some other jurisdiction could have a material adverse impact on the Company.
Summers v. UAL Corporation ESOP, et. al.
Certain participants in the UAL Corporation Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) sued the ESOP, the ESOP Committee and State Street Bank and Trust Company (State Street) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (the District Court) in February 2003 seeking monetary damages in a purported class action that alleges that the ESOP Committee breached its fiduciary duty by not selling UAL stock held by the ESOP commencing as of July 19, 2001. The ESOP Committee appointed State Street in September 2002 to act as investment manager and fiduciary to manage the assets of the ESOP itself. In August 2005, a proposed settlement was reached between the plaintiffs and the ESOP Committee defendants. The agreed upon settlement amount is to be paid out of the $5.2 million in insurance proceeds remaining after deducting legal fees. State Street objected to the agreement during the required fairness hearing before the District Court. The Court nevertheless approved the settlement in October 2005, but also granted State Streets motion for summary judgment, dismissing the underlying claims. Both sides appealed from the District Courts decision, and as a result, no settlement funds have been disbursed pending a ruling on appeal. In June 2006, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Court of Appeals) affirmed the lower courts ruling dismissing the claims against State Street and in effect rendering State Streets challenge to the settlement agreement moot. Both parties requested the United States Supreme Court (Supreme Court) to review the decision of the Court of Appeals. On February 20, 2007, the Supreme Court declined both parties requests to review the Court of Appeals decision, bringing this dispute to a final conclusion and foreclosing any potential claim for indemnity against the Company.
Litigation Associated with September 11 Terrorism
Families of 94 victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks filed lawsuits asserting a variety of claims against the airline industry. United and American Airlines, as the two carriers whose flights were hijacked, are the central focus of the litigation, but a variety of additional parties have been sued on a number of legal theories ranging from collective responsibility for airport screening and security systems that allegedly failed to prevent the attacks to faulty design and construction of the World Trade Center towers. In excess of 97% of the families of the deceased victims received awards from the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund of 2001, which was established by the federal government, and consequently are now barred from making further claims against the airlines. World Trade Center Properties, Inc. and The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey have filed cross-claims in the wrongful death litigation against all of the aviation defendants as owners of the World Trade Center property for property damage sustained in the attacks. The insurers of various tenants at the World Trade Center have filed subrogation claims for damages as well. In the aggregate, September 11th claims are estimated to be well in excess of $10 billion. By statute, these matters were consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and airline exposure was capped at the limit of the liability coverage maintained by each carrier at the time of the attacks. In the personal injury and wrongful death matters, settlement discussions continue and the parties have reached settlements in several matters. The Company anticipates that any liability it may face arising from the events of September 11, 2001 could be significant, but will be subject to the statutory limitation to the amount of its insurance coverage.
In accordance with an order issued by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board in June 1999, United, along with most of the other tenants of the San Francisco International Airport, has been investigating potential environmental contamination at the airport (geographically including Uniteds San Francisco maintenance center) and conducting monitoring and/or remediation when needed. Uniteds projected costs associated with this order were significantly reduced in 2006; therefore, the Company does not consider this to be a material proceeding.
United recently completed negotiations with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District regarding notices of violations received at its San Francisco maintenance center and payment of associated penalties.
Internal Revenue Service Matter
In 1999, UAL Corporation entered into a restructuring of its risk management function for retiree medical benefits in an attempt to control the spiraling costs of medical care. As part of the redesign of this function, UAL partnered with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois-Health Care Service Corporation. Upon audit of UALs 1999 federal income tax return, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) took the position that this restructuring was the same as, or substantially similar to, a listed tax shelter transaction. The IRS proposed a penalty for gross valuation misstatement under Section 6662(h)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code in the amount of approximately $16 million. The settlement of the issue resulted in a penalty payment by UAL in 2006 in the amount of approximately $2 million.
Other Legal Proceedings
UAL and United are involved in various other claims and legal actions involving passengers, customers, suppliers, employees and government agencies arising in the ordinary course of business. Additionally, from time to time, the Company becomes aware of potential non-compliance with applicable environmental regulations, which have either been identified by the Company (through internal compliance programs such as its environmental compliance audits) or through notice from a governmental entity. In some instances, these matters could potentially become the subject of an administrative or judicial proceeding and could potentially involve monetary sanctions. After considering a number of factors, including (but not limited to) the views of legal counsel, the nature of contingencies to which the Company is subject and prior experience, management believes that the ultimate disposition of these contingencies will not materially affect its consolidated financial position or results of operations.
The executive officers of the Company and United are listed below, along with their ages as of December 31, 2006, tenure as officer, and business background for at least the last five years.
Jane Allen. Age 55. Ms. Allen has been Senior Vice PresidentHuman Resources of United (air transportation) since May 2006. From June 2003 to May 2006, Ms. Allen served as Senior Vice President of Onboard Services for United. Before joining United, Ms. Allen served as the head of American Airlines Flight Services (air transportation) from 1997 to 2003.
Graham W. Atkinson. Age 55. Mr. Atkinson has been Executive Vice PresidentChief Customer Officer for United since September 2006. From January 2004 to September 2006, Mr. Atkinson served as Senior Vice PresidentWorldwide Sales and Alliances for United. From June 2001 to January 2004, Mr. Atkinson served as Senior Vice PresidentInternational for United.
Frederic F. Brace. Age 49. Mr. Brace has been Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Company and United since August 2002. From September 2001 to August 2002, Mr. Brace served as the Company and Uniteds Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
Sara A. Fields. Age 63. Ms. Fields has been Senior Vice PresidentOffice of the Chairman of United since May 2006. From December 2002 to May 2006, Ms. Fields served as Senior Vice PresidentPeople of United. From January to December 2002, Ms. Fields served as Uniteds Senior Vice PresidentPeople Services and Engagement. From July 1994July 2002, Ms. Fields previously served as Senior Vice PresidentOnboard Service of United.
Gerald F. Kelly. Age 59. Mr. Kelly has been Senior Vice PresidentContinuous Improvement, Strategic Sourcing and Chief Information Officer (CIO) of United since November 2005. From 2002 to 2005, Mr. Kelly served as CIO and Senior Vice President for Procurement and Continuous Improvement at Sears, Roebuck & Co. (retailer), from which he retired in April 2005. From 2001 to 2002, Mr. Kelly served as Business Advisor to Williams-Sonoma (retailer).
Paul R. Lovejoy. Age 52. Mr. Lovejoy has been Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of the Company and United since June 2003. From September 1999 to June 2003, Mr. Lovejoy was a partner with Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP (law firm).
Peter D. McDonald. Age 55. Mr. McDonald has been Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Company and United since May 2004. From September 2002 to May 2004, Mr. McDonald served as Executive Vice PresidentOperations of the Company and United. From January to September 2002, Mr. McDonald served as Uniteds Senior Vice PresidentAirport Operations. From May 2001 to January 2002, Mr. McDonald served as Uniteds Senior Vice PresidentAirport Services.
Rosemary Moore. Age 56. Ms. Moore has been the Senior Vice PresidentCorporate and Government Affairs of United since December 2002. From November to December 2002, Ms. Moore was the Senior Vice PresidentCorporate Affairs of United. From October 2001 to October 2002, Ms. Moore was the Vice PresidentPublic and Government Affairs of ChevronTexaco Corporation (global energy).
John P. Tague. Age 44. Mr. Tague has been Executive Vice PresidentChief Revenue Officer of the Company and United since April 2006. From May 2004 to April 2006, he served as Executive Vice PresidentMarketing, Sales and Revenue of the Company and United. From May 2003 to May 2004, Mr. Tague was Executive Vice PresidentCustomer of the Company and United. From 1997 to August 2002, Mr. Tague was the President and Chief Executive Officer of ATA Holdings Corp. (air transportation).
Glenn F. Tilton. Age 58. Mr. Tilton has been Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company and United since September 2002. From October 2001 to August 2002, Mr. Tilton served as
Vice Chairman of ChevronTexaco Corporation (global energy). Previously, Mr. Tilton served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Texaco Inc. (global energy), a position he assumed in February 2001.
There are no family relationships among the executive officers or the directors of the Company. The executive officers are elected by the Board each year, and hold office until the organization meeting of the Board in the next subsequent year and until his or her successor is chosen or until his or her earlier death, resignation or removal.
Shares of UAL Common Stock issued and outstanding immediately before the Effective Date (the Old Common Stock) traded on the over-the-counter market (OTCBB) under the symbol UALAQ.OB from April 3, 2003 to February 1, 2006. On February 1, 2006, the Old Common Stock was canceled pursuant to the terms of the Plan of Reorganization and the Company has no continuing obligations under the Old Common Stock.
Pursuant to the Plan of Reorganization, the Company issued or reserved for issuance up to 125,000,000 shares of common stock (the New Common Stock) comprised of: (a) 115,000,000 shares to be distributed to unsecured creditors and employees in accordance with the terms of the Plan of Reorganization; (b) up to 9,825,000 shares and options (or other rights to acquire shares) pursuant to the terms of the MEIP; and (c) up to 175,000 shares and options (or other rights to acquire shares) pursuant to the terms of the DEIP. Beginning February 2, 2006, the New Common Stock has traded on a NASDAQ market under the symbol UAUA.
The following table sets forth the ranges of high and low sales prices per share of the Old Common Stock and New Common Stock during the last two completed fiscal years.
(a) The Old Common Stock was canceled pursuant to the terms of the Plan of Reorganization and no further trading occurred after February 1, 2006.
(b) The New Common Stock commenced trading on February 2, 2006.
The Company suspended the payment of cash dividends on the Old Common Stock in 2002 and does not currently anticipate paying dividends on the New Common Stock. Additionally, under the provisions of the Amended Credit Facility the Companys ability to pay dividends on or repurchase New Common Stock is restricted. See Note 11, Debt Obligations, in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for more information related to dividend restrictions under the Amended Credit Facility. Any future determination to pay dividends will be at the discretion of the board of directors, subject to applicable limitations under Delaware law.
Based on reports by the Companys transfer agent for the New Common Stock, there were approximately 1,200 record holders of its New Common Stock as of February 28, 2007.
The following graph shows the cumulative total shareholder return for the New Common Stock during the period from February 2, 2006 to December 31, 2006. Five year historical data is not presented as a result of the significant period the Company was in bankruptcy and since the financial results of the Successor Company are not comparable with the results of the Predecessor Company, as discussed in.
The graph also shows the cumulative returns of the S&P 500 Index and the AMEX Airline Index (AAI) of eleven investor-owned airlines. The comparison assumes $100 was invested on February 2, 2006 (the date UAUA began trading on NASDAQ) in New Common Stock and in each of the indices shown and assumes that all dividends paid were reinvested.
Note: The stock price performance shown in the graph above should not be considered indicative of potential future stock price performance.
Common stock repurchases in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2006 were as follows:
(a) Shares withheld from employees to satisfy certain tax obligations due upon the vesting of restricted stock.
(b) The MEIP provides for the withholding of shares to satisfy tax obligations due upon the vesting of restricted stock. The MEIP does not specify a maximum number of shares that may be repurchased.
In connection with its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the Company adopted fresh-start reporting in accordance with SOP 90-7 and in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (GAAP). As a result of the adoption of fresh-start reporting, the financial statements prior to February 1, 2006 are not comparable with the financial statements after February 1, 2006. References to Successor Company refer to UAL on or after February 1, 2006, after giving effect to the adoption of fresh-start reporting. References to Predecessor Company refer to UAL prior to February 1, 2006.
(a) Net income (loss) was significantly impacted in the Predecessor Company periods due to the reorganization items related to the Companys restructuring in bankruptcy.
(b) Mainline operations exclude the operations of independent regional carriers operating as United Express. Statistics included in the Successor period were calculated using the combined results of the Successor period from February 1 to December 31, 2006 and the Predecessor January 2006 period.
(c) Yield is mainline passenger revenue excluding industry and employee discounted fares per RPM.
(d) RASM is operating revenues excluding United Express passenger revenue per ASM.
(e) CASM is operating expenses excluding United Express operating expenses per ASM.
As discussed further in Item 1. Business, the Company derives virtually all of its revenues from airline related activities. The most significant source of airline revenues is passenger revenues; however, Mileage Plus, United Cargo, and United Services are also significant sources of operating revenues. The airline industry is highly competitive, and is characterized by intense price competition. Fare discounting by Uniteds competitors has historically had a negative effect on the Companys financial results because it is generally required to match competitors fares to maintain passenger traffic. Future competitive fare adjustments may negatively impact the Companys future financial results. The Companys most significant operating expense is jet fuel. Jet fuel prices are extremely volatile and are largely uncontrollable by the Company. UALs historical and future earnings have been and will continue to be significantly impacted by jet fuel prices. The impact of recent jet fuel price increases is discussed below. The Companys results in 2006 were significantly impacted by the adoption of fresh-start reporting upon its emergence from bankruptcy. See the Fresh-Start Reporting section below for a discussion of the of the significant fresh-start items that impacted the Companys earnings in 2006.
Bankruptcy Matters. On December 9, 2002, UAL, United and 26 direct and indirect wholly-owned subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions to reorganize its business under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Court. The Company emerged from bankruptcy on February 1, 2006, under a Plan of Reorganization that was approved by the Bankruptcy Court. In connection with its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the Company adopted fresh-start reporting, which resulted in significant changes in post-emergence financial statements, as compared to UALs historical financial statements, as is further discussed in the Financial Results section below. Also, see Note 1, Voluntary Reorganization Under Chapter 11Bankruptcy Considerations, in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements and Item 1. Business for further information regarding bankruptcy matters.
Recent Developments. The Company believes its restructuring has made the Company competitive with its network airline peers. The Companys financial performance has continued to improve despite significant increases in fuel prices, as noted below. Average mainline unit fuel expense has increased 68% from 2004 to 2006, which has negatively impacted the Companys operating margin. However, the Company has been able to overcome rising fuel costs through its restructuring accomplishments, improved revenues and other means, which have contributed to the generation of operating income of $447 million in calendar-year 2006, as compared to operating losses of $219 million and $854 million in 2005 and 2004, respectively.
United seeks to continuously improve the delivery of its products and services to its customers, reduce unit costs, and increase unit revenues. Together with these initiatives, some of the Companys more significant recent developments are noted as follows:
· In February 2007, the Company prepaid $972 million of Credit Facility debt and amended certain terms of the Credit Facility. The Amended Credit Facility requires significantly less collateral as compared to the Credit Facility and is expected to provide net interest expense savings of approximately $70 million annually. This amount represents the net impact of reduced interest expense and interest income as a result of lower cash and debt balances, as well as a more favorable interest rate on the Amended Credit Facility. See the Liquidity and Capital Resources section, below, and Note 11, Debt Obligations, in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further information related to this new facility.
· In 2006, the Company announced a program to reduce then-projected 2007 expenses by $400 million. The Company has identified specific programs to realize these savings, and continues
to identify and evaluate other savings opportunities. For example, the Company expects to reduce costs by approximately $200 million through savings in such areas as telecommunications, airport services, catering, maintenance materials and aircraft ground handling. The Company also expects to reduce advertising and marketing costs by as much as $60 million. Increased operational efficiencies, through the implementation of such initiatives as a new flight planning system and reduced block times are expected to generate approximately $40 million in savings. In addition, the Company estimates it will achieve a $100 million reduction in general and administrative expenses, which includes a reduction of salaried and management positions. The Company realized approximately $135 million of the projected $400 million of 2007 cost reductions in 2006, and is on track to achieve $265 million of projected cost savings in 2007.
· In the second quarter of 2006, the General Services Administration (GSA) awarded its annual U.S. government employee travel contracts for its upcoming fiscal year beginning October 1, 2006. The GSA selected United to provide certain air transportation services for which the estimated annual revenue to United will be approximately $540 million, or 27.4% of the total estimated GSA employee travel award. This award level represents a 6.7 point increase over the prior contract year.
· Effective September 2006, United began charging travel agents within North America a $3.50 per passenger segment fee if low cost booking channels are not used. In 2006, United also renegotiated its agreements with four major GDS providers to allow access to low cost booking options for Uniteds appointed travel agencies. Increased use of low cost booking channels is expected to reduce Uniteds product distribution expenses.
· In the third quarter of 2006, United announced the addition of 22 new flights from Washington Dulles, which increased departures from Dulles by 14 percent in the fall of 2006 as compared to the fall of 2005. In early 2007, the DOT awarded United the route between Washington Dulles-Beijing and this nonstop service will commence on March 28, 2007. The Company plans to reallocate existing aircraft to serve this new route.
· The Company continues to identify and implement continuous improvement programs, and is actively training key employees in continuous improvement strategies and techniques. These include such initiatives as optimization of aircraft and airport facilities and selected outsourcing of activities to more cost-effective service providers. The Company expects that these programs, as well as the aforementioned expense reduction programs, will produce economic benefits which will be necessary to mitigate inflationary cost pressures in other categories of operating expenses, such as airport usage fees, aircraft maintenance, and employee healthcare benefits, among others.
Financial Results. Upon UALs emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the Company adopted fresh-start reporting in accordance with SOP 90-7. Thus, the consolidated financial statements before February 1, 2006 reflect results based upon the historical cost basis of the Company while the post-emergence consolidated financial statements reflect the new basis of accounting, which incorporates fair value adjustments recorded from the application of SOP 90-7. Therefore, financial statements for the post-emergence periods are not comparable to the pre-emergence period financial statements. The adoption of fresh-start reporting had a significantly negative impact on the Companys results of operations. The significant differences in accounting results are discussed under Fresh-Start Reporting, below.
For purposes of providing managements year-over-year discussions of UALs financial condition and results of operations, management has compared the combined 2006 annual results consisting of the Successor Companys results for the eleven months ended December 31, 2006 and the Predecessor Companys January 2006 results, to the Predecessor Companys annual 2005 and 2004 results. References to Successor Company refer to UAL on or after February 1, 2006, after giving effect to the adoption of fresh-start reporting. References to Predecessor Company refer to UAL before its exit from bankruptcy on February 1, 2006.
The table below presents a reconciliation of the Companys net income (loss) to net income (loss), excluding reorganization items for the three years ended December 31, 2006. Presentation of results for the combined twelve month period of 2006, as described in the preceding paragraph, and the presentation of net income excluding reorganization items, are non-GAAP measures. However, the Company believes that these year-over-year comparisons of the results of operations, as shown in the table below, provide management and investors a useful perspective of the Companys core business and on-going operational and financial performance and trends, since reorganization items pertain to accounting for the effects of the bankruptcy restructuring and are not recurring. In addition, the combined twelve month period of 2006 is presented to improve comparability with the full years of 2005 and 2004.
(a) The combined period includes the results for one month ended January 31, 2006 (Predecessor Company) and eleven months ended December 31, 2006 (Successor Company).
The Companys improved results of operations in 2006, as compared with 2005 and 2004, were influenced by a number of significant factors, including fresh-start reporting and other factors that are described below.
Under fresh-start reporting at the Effective Date, the Companys asset values were remeasured using fair value, and were allocated in conformity with Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 141, Business Combinations (SFAS 141). The excess of reorganization value over the net fair value of tangible and identifiable intangible assets and liabilities was recorded as goodwill. In addition, fresh-start accounting also requires that all assets and liabilities be stated at fair value or at the present values of the amounts to be paid using appropriate market interest rates, except for deferred taxes, which are accounted for in conformity with Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 109 Accounting for Income Taxes (SFAS 109). The Companys results in 2006 were significantly impacted by fresh-start reporting and other non-cash expenses; the most significant impacts are discussed below.
· As part of fresh-start reporting the Company changed its accounting for Mileage Plus from the incremental cost model to the deferred revenue model. Under the incremental cost method, the estimated liability was based on incremental costs and adjustments were made to both operating revenues and advertising expense. Under the deferred revenue model a portion of ticket revenue from Mileage Plus members, and other qualifying mileage transactions, is allocated to deferred revenue at fair value to reflect the Companys obligation for future award redemptions. This change in accounting negatively impacted the Companys operating revenues by approximately $158 million in 2006 as compared to 2005. The negative revenue impact was partially offset by a reduction in advertising expense of approximately $27 million which the Company estimates would have been recorded if the incremental cost method had been continued. Mileage Plus accounting is discussed further in Critical Accounting Policies, below.
· The Company recorded non-cash share-based compensation expense of $159 million in 2006 in association with its MEIP and DEIP plans as approved under the Plan of Reorganization. This expense was not recognized in 2005 and 2004, because prior to 2006 the Company accounted for its share-based compensation plans under the intrinsic method prescribed by Accounting Principles Board Opinion No. 25, Accounting for Stock Issued to Employees.
· In 2006, the Company recognized non-cash depreciation and amortization charges of $74 million on assets that were recorded at fair value as part of fresh-start reporting, including definite-lived intangible assets that were recognized under fresh-start accounting. UAL did not recognize similar asset values or related amortization expense in the preceding annual periods.
· The adjustment of the Companys postretirement plan liabilities to fair value at fresh-start resulted in the elimination of unrecognized prior service credits and actuarial losses for its non-pension postretirement plan. The elimination of these unrecognized items negatively impacted the Companys 2006 expenses by approximately $51 million.
· Aircraft rent was negatively impacted by approximately $101 million. This included an unfavorable impact of $66 million related to deferred gains on pre-emergence sale-leaseback transactions that were eliminated as part of fresh-start reporting. Before fresh-start reporting, these deferred gains were being amortized into earnings over the lease terms as a reduction of the related aircraft rent expense. Also due to the restructuring of aircraft financings in bankruptcy, the Companys operating leases were at average rates below market value; therefore, a deferred charge was recorded to adjust these leases to fair value. Amortization of this deferred charge resulted in additional rent expense of approximately $35 million in 2006.
· The Company recognized additional non-cash interest expense of approximately $51 million for the amortization of debt and capital lease obligation discounts that were recorded upon its emergence from bankruptcy to adjust its debt and capital lease obligations to fair value.
· At UALs emergence from bankruptcy, there were certain unresolved matters which are considered to be preconfirmation contingencies. The Company initially recorded an obligation for its best estimate of the amounts it expected to pay to resolve these matters. Adjustments to these initial estimates are recorded in current results of operations. The most significant of these were classified as Special items in the Companys 2006 Statement of Consolidated Operations and include a net benefit of $12 million related to the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) municipal bond obligations and a benefit of $24 million related to the termination of certain of the Companys non-qualified pension plans. The Company adjusted its estimated liabilities for these preconfirmation contingencies during the eleven months ended December 31, 2006 to the amounts the Company now believes to be probable based on court rulings and other updated information. In addition to the special items previously noted, other accruals and accrual adjustments provided an additional net benefit of approximately $29 million to 2006 operating expenses. See Note 1, Voluntary Reorganization Under Chapter 11Claims Resolution Process, in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information related to these adjustments.
· Operating revenues increased $2.0 billion, or 11%, in 2006 as compared to 2005 and by $2.9 billion, or 18%, in 2006 as compared to 2004. Revenues increased in 2006 and 2005 largely due to passenger revenue growth from Uniteds improved worldwide airline network performance and a more healthy revenue environment for United and the airline industry, which was significantly aided by constrained industry capacity growth during these periods. However, Uniteds passenger revenue growth rate has slowed in the latter part of 2006, with the 2006 fourth quarter operating
revenues increasing 5% over the same quarter in 2005, as compared to a growth rate of 10% in the fourth quarter of 2005 over the same quarter in 2004. Fourth quarter revenues in 2006 were also negatively impacted by severe winter storms in Denver and Chicago, as discussed below. These revenues were also adversely affected by Mileage Plus accounting in 2006 as discussed above.
· United Express contributed $77 million to operating income in 2006 as compared to negative contributions to operating results of $317 million in 2005 and $494 million in 2004. This improvement is due to an improved regional operations cost structure resulting from the bankruptcy reorganization, network optimization similar to that achieved for the mainline operation, and the replacement of some 50-seat regional jets with 70-seat regional jets providing both first class and Economy Plus service, among other factors.
· Mainline fuel costs have significantly trended upward since 2004, increasing by $792 million between 2005 and 2006, and by $1.9 billion between 2004 and 2006. These increases are primarily due to significant increases in market prices for jet fuel. The Companys average cost per gallon for jet fuel, including taxes and hedge impacts, increased from approximately $1.25 in 2004, to $1.79 in 2005, and to $2.11 in 2006. Similar increases were experienced in the average cost per gallon of jet fuel for United Express between periods, which is classified as Regional affiliates expense in the Statements of Consolidated Operations.
· Aircraft maintenance materials and outside repairs expense increased $128 million, or 15%, in 2006 as compared to 2005, and by $262 million, or 35%, in 2006 as compared to 2004. As further discussed in the Results of Operations section below, these increases are due to several factors, including higher volumes of outsourced maintenance, increased rates under certain long-term maintenance contracts and aging engines within Uniteds fleet.
· Interest expense increased $288 million in 2006 as compared to 2005, and by $321 million as compared to 2004, primarily due to increased debt outstanding of approximately $1.4 billion as a result of the Companys new capital structure resulting from its emergence from bankruptcy on February 1, 2006 and the fresh-start reporting adjustments discussed above. The increased interest expense was partially offset by increased interest income of $211 million in 2006, as compared to 2005. The Predecessor Company included $6 million and $60 million of interest income in reorganization items, net in accordance with SOP 90-7, for January 2006 and calendar-year 2005, respectively.
· The January 2006 reorganization income of approximately $22.9 billion primarily relates to the discharge of liabilities and other fresh-start adjustments recorded in connection with the Companys implementation of the Plan of Reorganization preparatory to its emergence from bankruptcy. In 2005, the reorganization charges of approximately $20.6 billion were primarily for pension, employee-related, and aircraft claim charges of $8.9 billion, $6.5 billion and $3.0 billion, respectively. For additional information, see Note 1, Voluntary Reorganization Under Chapter 11Financial Statement Presentation, in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Liquidity. As of December 31, 2006, the Company had total cash, including restricted cash and short-term investments, of $5.0 billion. The Companys strong cash position resulted from its recapitalization upon emergence from bankruptcy, together with strong operating cash flows of $1.6 billion in 2006, as compared to $1.1 billion in 2005 and $0.1 billion in 2004.
As noted above, in February 2007, the Company reduced its cash by approximately $1.0 billion to a level that it believes is more optimal for its capital structure. The cash was used to prepay a portion of the Companys Credit Facility, which accordingly reduced debt by $972 million. As part of this transaction, the Company entered into the Amended Credit Facility consisting of an amended and restated revolving credit, term loan and guaranty agreement of $2.1 billion.
The Company has significant contractual cash payment obligations associated with debt, aircraft leases and aircraft purchase commitments, among others. See the Liquidity and Capital Resources section, below, for further information related to the Amended Credit Facility and the Companys contractual obligations.
Contingencies. During the course of its Chapter 11 proceedings, the Company successfully reached settlements with most of its creditors and resolved most pending claims against the Debtors. The following discussion provides a summary of the material matters yet to be resolved in the Bankruptcy Court, as well as other contingencies. For further information on these matters, see Note 1, Voluntary Reorganization Under Chapter 11 - Bankruptcy Considerations and Note 15, Commitments, Contingent Liabilities and Uncertainties, in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Municipal Bond Obligations. The Company is a party to numerous long-term agreements to lease certain airport and maintenance facilities that are financed through tax-exempt municipal bonds issued by various local municipalities to build or improve airport and maintenance facilities. As a result of the Companys bankruptcy filing, United was not permitted to make payments on unsecured pre-petition debt. The Company had been advised that these municipal bonds may have been unsecured (or in certain instances, partially secured) pre-petition debt. Therefore, through the bankruptcy process, the Company either settled or rejected certain pre-petition debt associated with the municipal bonds. In 2006, certain of the Companys municipal bond obligations relating to JFK, LAX and SFO have been conclusively adjudicated through the Bankruptcy Court as financings and not true leases, while the bonds relating to Denver International Airport (DEN) have been conclusively adjudicated as a true lease. The Company has guaranteed $261 million of the DEN bonds as discussed in Capital Commitments and Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements below. There remains pending litigation to determine the value of the security interests, if any, that the bondholders at LAX and SFO have in the underlying UAL leaseholds.
Pension Benefit Terminations. In June 2006, the District Court entered an order approving the termination of the United Airlines Pilot Defined Benefit Pension Plan (Pilot Plan). ALPA, United Retired Pilots Benefit Protection Association (URPBPA) and the PBGC each filed appeals with the Court of Appeals. On October 25, 2006, the Court of Appeals affirmed the District Courts order approving the termination of the Pilot Plan effective December 30, 2004. Both ALPA and URPBPA have filed petitions for writ of certiorari from the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has yet to rule on either petition. If the termination order is ultimately reversed by the Supreme Court and it results in the reversal of the termination of one or more of the Companys previously defined benefit pension plans, it could have a materially adverse effect on the Companys results of operations and financial condition.
There is also a dispute with respect to the continuing obligation of United to pay non-qualified pension benefits to retired pilots pending settlement of the involuntary termination proceeding. On October 6, 2005, the Bankruptcy Court ruled that the Company was obligated to make payment of all non-qualified pension benefits for October 2005. During the first quarter of 2006, the District Court dismissed the Companys appeal of the Bankruptcy Courts October 6, 2005 order in light of its earlier decision reversing the Bankruptcy Courts termination order. On October 25, 2006, the Court of Appeals reversed the District Courts order dismissing for lack of ripeness the Companys appeal of the Bankruptcy Courts October 6, 2005 order and remanded the case with instructions to reverse the Bankruptcy Courts order compelling payment of non-qualified benefits for October 2005. On November 6, 2006, ALPA filed a petition for rehearing on the Court of Appeals reversal of the October 6, 2005 order. Both ALPA and URPBPA filed petitions for writ of certiorari from the Supreme Court on this issue. The Supreme Court has yet to rule on either petition.
In March 2006, the Bankruptcy Court ruled that the Company was obligated to make payment of all pilot non-qualified pension benefits for the months of November and December 2005 and January 2006. The Bankruptcy Court also ruled that the Companys obligation to pay pilot non-qualified pension benefits ceased as of January 31, 2006. The Company filed a notice of appeal of the Bankruptcy Courts ruling to the District Court. URPBPA and ALPA also filed notices of appeal with respect to the Bankruptcy Courts order, which were subsequently consolidated with the Companys appeal. United agreed with URPBPA and ALPA to pay into an escrow account the disputed non-qualified pension benefits for the months of November and December 2005 and January 2006, an aggregate amount totaling approximately $17 million. The District Court affirmed the Bankruptcy Courts ruling in September 2006. The Company filed a notice of appeal of the District Courts ruling to the Court of Appeals. URPBPA and ALPA also appealed the District Courts decision. The Company subsequently filed a motion to consolidate its appeal from the Bankruptcy Courts October 2005 non-qualified benefits order with the three appeals from the Bankruptcy Courts March 2006 non-qualified benefits order. The Court of Appeals denied the Companys motion, but issued an order staying briefing on the March 2006 non-qualified benefits order until further order of the Court of Appeals. In light of the Court of Appeals October 25, 2006 decision described above, the Company is reasonably optimistic of a successful outcome of its appeal in this matter, although there can be no assurances that the ultimate outcome of this appeal will be favorable to the Company.
Legal and Environmental. UAL has certain contingencies resulting from litigation and claims (including environmental issues) incident to the ordinary course of business. Management believes, after considering a number of factors, including (but not limited to) the views of legal counsel, the nature of contingencies to which the Company is subject and prior experience, that the ultimate disposition of these contingencies will not materially affect the Companys consolidated financial position or results of operations. When appropriate, the Company accrues for these matters based on its assessments of the likely outcomes of their eventual disposition. The amounts of these liabilities could increase or decrease in the near term, based on revisions to estimates relating to the various claims.
New regulations surrounding the emission of greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide) are being considered for promulgation both internationally and within the United States. The Company will be carefully evaluating the potential impact of such proposed regulations.
The Company anticipates that if ultimately found liable, its damages from claims arising from the events of September 11, 2001, could be significant; however, the Company believes that, under the Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act of 2001, its liability will be limited to its insurance coverage.
As described in the Overview section above, presentation of the combined twelve month period of 2006 is a non-GAAP measure; however, management believes it is useful for comparison with the full years of 2005 and 2004.
The air travel business is subject to seasonal fluctuations. The Companys operations can be adversely impacted by severe weather and its first and fourth quarter results normally reflect lower travel demand. Historically, because of these seasonal factors, results of operations are better in the second and third quarters.
Earnings from operations increased $666 million to $447 million in 2006 as compared to a loss from operations of $219 million in 2005. Excluding reorganization items, the net loss was $58 million in 2006 which represents an improvement of $517 million over the net loss in 2005 of $575 million. These improvements are due to the net impact of the items discussed below, among other factors. See Note 1, Voluntary Reorganization Under Chapter 11Financial Statement Presentation, in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further information on reorganization items.
2006 Compared to 2005
The following table illustrates the year-over-year dollar and percentage changes in major categories of operating revenues.
(a) The combined 2006 period includes the results for one month ended January 31, 2006 (Predecessor Company) and eleven months ended December 31, 2006 (Successor Company).
Strong demand, industry capacity restraint, yield improvements, Uniteds resource optimization initiatives, and ongoing airline network optimization all contributed to a $2.0 billion increase in total operating revenue to $19.3 billion in 2006. The 11% mainline passenger revenue increase was due to both increased traffic and higher average ticket prices; United reported a 3% increase in mainline traffic on a 2% increase in capacity and an 8% increase in yield. Severe winter storms in December 2006 at the Chicago and Denver hubs, which resulted in the cancellation of approximately 3,900 United and United Express flights at these locations, had the estimated impact of reducing revenue by $40 million and reducing total expenses by $11 million. As discussed in Critical Accounting Policies, below, the Company changed the accounting for its frequent flyer obligation to a deferred revenue model upon its emergence from bankruptcy which negatively impacted revenues by $158 million. This resulted in increased deferred revenue due to a net increase in miles earned by Mileage Plus customers that will be redeemed in future years.
The 19% increase in regional affiliate revenues was also due to traffic and yield improvements as indicated in the table below.
The increase in cargo revenue was primarily due to improved yield, which was partially due to higher fuel surcharges between periods.
The table below presents selected passenger revenues and operating data by geographic region and the Companys mainline and United Express segments expressed as period-to-period changes:
(a) The combined 2006 period includes the results for one month ended January 31, 2006 (Predecessor Company) and eleven months ended December 31, 2006 (Successor Company).
(b) Yields exclude charter revenue and revenue passenger miles.
2005 Compared to 2004
The following table illustrates the year-over-year dollar and percentage changes in major categories of operating revenues.
The table below presents selected passenger revenues and operating data by geographic region and the Companys mainline and United Express segments expressed as period-to-period changes:
(a) Yields exclude charter revenue and revenue passenger miles.
Consolidated operating revenues increased $988 million, or 6%, in 2005 as compared to 2004 and mainline RASM increased 7% from 9.95 cents to 10.66 cents. Mainline passenger revenues increased $372 million, or 3%, due to a 4% increase in yield slightly offset by a decline in RPMs of 1%. ASMs decreased 3%; however, passenger load factor increased 2.2 points to 81.4%.
Passenger revenuesRegional Affiliates increased $498 million, or 26%, in 2005 as compared to 2004 mainly due to increased volume of United Express regional carrier flying. Cargo revenues increased $25 million, or 4%, in 2005 as compared to 2004 due to a 1% increase in cargo ton miles combined with a 2% increase in cargo yield. Other operating revenues increased $93 million, or 8%, primarily due to increases in third-party maintenance revenues and ULS revenues, partially offset by a decrease in United Airlines Fuel Corporation (UAFC) fuel sales to third parties.
2006 Compared to 2005
The table below includes the year-over-year dollar and percentage changes in operating expenses. Significant fluctuations are discussed below.