United Posts $306M Loss After Exiting Chapter 11

United Airlines parent UAL Corp. said Monday that its first-quarter loss before unusual items widened slightly, reflecting the impact of record fuel prices in its first quarter since emerging from a 38-month bankruptcy restructuring.

The company reported a loss of $306 million excluding reorganization items for the first three months of the year compared with a loss of $302 million a year earlier. It did not provide a per-share figure.

Officially, the Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based company reported a $23 billion profit for the quarter. But that total reflected the reversal of on-paper losses recorded last year, when unsecured claims that would be settled for a fraction of the charges upon exit from bankruptcy resulted in a $21 billion loss for 2005. The parent of the nation's second biggest carrier emerged from bankruptcy protection in February.

Results combined periods before and after emerging from bankruptcy.

Revenue rose 14 percent to $4.47 billion from $3.92 billion last year.

Record fuel costs continued to weigh on the company's bottom line, as with other carriers, costing United $314 million more than in the first quarter a year ago.

But the carrier added flights and its planes were 1 percent fuller and it benefited from having raised fares. Its first-quarter operating loss was $171 million, a $79 million improvement over the same quarter last year.

"The $23 billion gain is a reflection of the magnitude and effectiveness of our restructuring," said Glenn Tilton, UAL's chairman, president and CEO. "We are now applying the same rigor and discipline to improving our operating and financial performance."

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