United Continental Holdings (UAL) unites cities around the globe through its primary United Air Lines subsidiary. While United Air Lines is its main line, the company also has regional operations, which are operated under contract by United Express. Combined, the company handles an average of roughly 5,050 flights a day to more than 370 domestic and international destinations from hubs that include Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. 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.
UAL operates more than 1,257 aircraft, including aircraft operated by regional carriers on its behalf. It generates its revenues across four segments: passenger mainline (69% of total sales), passenger regional (18%), cargo (2%), and other (11%).
The company is a member of the Star Alliance network, which offers more than 18,000 daily flights to 193 countries worldwide and includes 27 member airlines.
UAL achieved unprecedented growth in 2014 as revenues climbed 2% from $38.3 billion in 2013 to peak at a record-setting $38.9 billion in 2014. Profits also skyrocketed by nearly 100% from $571 million to $1.1 billion during that same time period due to a decrease in expenses related to aircraft fuel in addition to reduced aircraft rents affected by lease expirations.
The historic growth for 2014 was attributed to an uptick in the average fare per passenger and an increase in capacity and traffics, causing an increase in passenger revenue. The fare increase for 2014 was due in part to a strong domestic demand environment and a number of new long-haul routes that generated higher fares than the system average. Cargo revenue also spiked 6% primarily due to higher freight volumes and an improvement in mail revenue.
UAL's operating cash flow increased 82% from $1.44 billion in 2013 to $2.63 billion in 2014, due to increased incomes, along with a surge in cash from advance ticket sales and receivables.
UAL has ordered a number of fuel-efficient Airbus and Boeing aircraft to replace the older fleet. In mid-2013, UAL 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.
In 2015 UAL plans to take delivery of 23 Boeing 737-900ER aircraft, 11 Boeing 787-9 aircraft, 11 Embraer E175 aircraft, and two used Boeing 737-700 aircraft.