United Airlines forecasts 85 percent plunge in passenger revenue

United Airlines on Wednesday forecast a bigger drop in third-quarter passenger revenue than its own expectations and said it would look to cancel more flights until it sees a recovery in air travel.

United said it now expects an 85 percent drop in passenger revenue, a closely watched performance measure in the airline industry, down from its previous estimate of 83 percent year-over-year.

The No. 3 US airline also expects third-quarter capacity to decrease about 70 percent year-over-year, compared with its prior forecast of 65 percent, despite seeing a moderate improvement in bookings for leisure travel in the United States and certain short-haul destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean in the two ended Sept. 7.

US airlines have collectively been bleeding about $5 billion a month as 30 percent of the planes remain parked amid the coronavirus pandemic that prompted passengers to cancel their flights and seek refunds rather than book new travel.

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