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United shares jump after airline says domestic leisure fares topped 2019 levels

A United Airlines Holdings Inc. employee helps a traveler at a ticket counter for Hawaii at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Summer vacations are getting more and more expensive as travelers return from the long pandemic slump.

United Airlines said Tuesday that yields on domestic leisure tickets purchased this month topped 2019 levels and said the trend would continue through summer, echoing similar comments from Southwest Airlines last week.

Shares of United were up 5% in morning trading, leading the S&P 500 higher.

United said total revenue per available seat mile, a gauge of how much revenue airlines are bringing in compared with its capacity, would be down 12% for the second quarter from previous guidance of about a 20% decline. Weak business travel demand is weighing on yields overall, though those are close to 2019 levels, United said.

United expects to get to post positive adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in the third quarter and narrower losses for the second quarter.

U.S. airport screenings have returned to pre-pandemic volumes but are still low for this time of year. On Monday, the Transportation Security Administration said it screened 1.86 million people compared with 2.1 million on the same date in 2019 and just 267,451 last year.

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