United Continental reports Q3 profit

United Airlines aircraftProfits at United Continental, created from the merger of United Airlines and Continental Airlines at the start of the month, have reflected a rebound in passenger demand.

Both airlines reported third quarter profits the day after rival American Airlines released its first quarterly profit in three years.

But Zane Rowe, United’s chief financial officer, predicted “the next couple of quarters will be more challenging” because of rising fuel prices.

President and chief executive Jeff Smisek noted headwinds from an uncertain economic outlook amid a slowing global recovery and high fuel costs.

“Macroeconomic economic trends remain uncertain and fuel prices have remained elevated,” he cautioned.

United achieved a net profit of $387 million in the quarter ending September 30, against a loss of $57 million for the same period last year. Revenue was up by 21.7% to 5.4 billion dollars.

Continental saw net profit increase to $354 million dollars against a loss of $18 million in same period in the 2009. Revenue was up by 19.2% to $3.9 billion.

The company said it would report combined financial results for the fourth quarter.

United and Continental continue to operate as separate carriers and expect to receive a single operating certificate next year.

The new airline will fly under the United Airlines name and will hold roughly 7% of global airline capacity.

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