United Continental Holdings unites cities around the globe through subsidiaries United Air Lines and Continental, titans among passenger and cargo air carriers. While United Air Lines and Continental are its main lines, the company also has regional operations, which are operated under contract by United Express, Continental Express, and Continental Connection. Combined, the company handles an average of 5,340 flights a day to more than 360 domestic and international destinations from hubs that include Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.
United Continental Holdings' hubs reside in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.
United Air Lines and Continental operate more than 600 aircraft each, including aircraft operated by regional carriers on their behalf. United Continental Holdings generates its revenues across four segments: passenger mainline (69% of total sales), passenger regional (18%), cargo (3%), and other (10%).
Sales and Marketing
Like most airlines, the company sells the majority of its seat inventory through travel agencies and global distribution systems in addition to its main website.
After enjoying two straight years of sizable growth, United Continental Holdings saw its revenues remain static in 2012, hovering at around 37% billion. It also suffered a net loss of $723 million in 2012 after two years of profitability.
The company suffered from a 13% decrease in cargo revenues for 2012 due to excess industry capacity and weaker demand. Fuel prices, its single largest operating expense, were up by 5% in 2012 and the company also experienced a 7% rise in operating expenses, and a 20% spike in other operating expenses.
United Continental Holdings has ordered a number of fuel-efficient Airbus and Boeing aircraft to replace the older fleet. In mid-2013 United Air Lines was one of the first North American carriers to take delivery and fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. It has 50 Dreamliners scheduled for delivery between 2013 and 2020. The 787, anticipated to be "a game changer" for the company and for the airline industry, will allow both United Air Lines and Continental to enter new long-haul markets and to replace older, less efficient widebody aircraft.
T. Rowe Price Associates owns 14% of United Continental Holdings.
A subsidiary of UAL Corporation merged with and into Continental in October 2010, with Continental surviving as a wholly-owned subsidiary of UAL. Upon closing of the merger, UAL became the parent company of both Continental and United Air Lines and UAL Corporation's name was changed to United Continental Holdings. The transaction created the world's largest airline.