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US airline giant United Airlines has reported record quarterly earnings in its Q2 report for 2023 thanks to a domestic return to pre-pandemic levels and an expanded international service. 

The company reported adjusted earnings of $5.03 per share and a pre-tax margin of 15.3% for an adjusted pre-tax income of $2.2bn amid a program of aircraft upgrades and an expanding global network known as United Next. 

The results also bring United’s balance sheet ahead of its 2023 recovery targets, trailing twelve months adjusted net debt to adjusted EBITDAR of 2.4x, compared to the 2023 target of less than 3x. 

CEO Scott Kirby said: “United’s financial performance in the second quarter and our outlook for the remainder of the year and beyond make it clear that United Next is working and is the right strategy at the right time.” 

A push towards international growth under the United Next plan saw the airline record a 27% increase in its international capacity compared to the Q2 last year, with another expansion coming soon thanks to new flights to Manila, Hong Kong, Taipei and Tokyo. 

Other highlights mentioned in the Q2 results include the airline flying its largest ever schedule across the Atlantic, 32% larger than its 2019 schedule, marking the most mainline flights in a quarter in its history with a daily average of 2,400 flights, and the launch of six new international trans-Atlantic routes. 

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Good results are also especially welcome for the airline after a difficult beginning to the month managing significant delays over the July Fourth weekend, thanks to weather issues at the company’s Newark, New Jersey hub. 

Kirby praised United’s staff, saying: “They are the best in the business and we’re focused on the important changes we can make, especially in Newark, to serve our customers even better.” 

Alongside growing its international business, United has also been investing in new technology in 2023 including working with eVTOL manufacturers such as Archer Aviation in Chicago and EVE in San Francisco. 

The company has also invested into Sustainable Aviation Fuels with a joint $100m fund known as the United Airlines Ventures Sustainable Flight Fund.