Financial picture brightening for United, executive says

Financial picture brightening for United, executive says

United Airlines has "turned the corner" in its battle to boost revenues and stanch losses, a top executive said.

"The revenue turnaround has begun," said John Tague, executive vice president for customers. "We're seeing the company's financial situation gain a great deal of stability."

Tague, in Denver Wednesday for a sales meeting, declined to predict when the airline would return to profitability. It aims to come out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy in mid-spring.

He said cash flow has improved dramatically and United has no near-term concerns about meeting covenants of the loans that keep it in business while under bankruptcy court protection.

United is the dominant airline at Denver International Airport and employs about 6,000 in the Denver area.

The carrier lost $623 million in the second quarter as revenues dropped 18 percent. Analysts predict a loss of more than $300 million in the quarter ending Sept. 30, even as the industry shows signs of improvement.

United still must line up billions of dollars in exit financing, potentially rebid for a government-guaranteed loan, address a massive pension shortfall and develop a detailed business plan, Ash said.

The airline and government officials have held informal talks about United's application for a $1.8 billion federal loan guarantee, the focus of the airline's plans for exit financing, Tague said.