United Airlines Holdings, Inc.'s (UAL) Management Presents at Bank of America 29th Annual Transportation, Airlines and Industrials Conference 2022 - (Transcript)

May 17, 2022 12:18 PM ETUnited Airlines Holdings, Inc. (UAL)
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United Airlines Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:UAL) Bank of America 29th Annual Transportation, Airlines and Industrials Conference 2022 May 17, 2022 8:00 AM ET

Company Participants

Andrew Nocella - Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer

Conference Call Participants

Andrew Didora - BofA Securities

Andrew Didora

It is great to be back in Boston in person at this great venue after a two-year hiatus given the pandemic. We have a great line up of airlines today and I think everyone in attendance will be focused on a few things, one is the health of the consumer traveler and we’ll have United Airlines kicking things off in a little bit, they’ve put out an update last night that I think they’ll have some pretty good insight into the current trends here.

Second, pilot and labor issues, we have Mesa Air and others that have been impacted by some of the regional pilot issues and I think could be topical for folks. Also everyone wants to hear about capacity plans, especially given fuel continuing to move higher; and then lastly, we obviously have some special situations in the space that will be touched upon. So look forward to hearing from what everyone has to say today, we’ll pause for about five minutes, we’ll get United in here and we’ll kick things off momentarily. Thanks again, everyone.

Good morning and welcome again to the Bank of America Transportation, Airlines and Industrials Conference here in Boston. Great to be back in person after a two-year hiatus from this great venue here. To kick things off this morning, pleased to have United Airlines with us and the EVP and Chief Commercial Officer, Andrew Nocella. So, Andrew, welcome.

Andrew Nocella

Great to be here. Thanks for the invite.

Andrew Didora

Absolutely. So you put on a -- just we’ll start off with the 8-K from last night updated your 2Q revenue guidance, anything you want to say about that?

Andrew Nocella

Sure. We’re pretty pleased by where we are relative to what we thought just a few weeks ago, the recovery is just moving at a quicker clip across, I think, the entire globe at this point, maybe with the exception of one or two points in Asia. So everything is really strong and so we upped the guidance to between 23 and 25 on the total CASM line, which is a pretty amazing number. As we look at the charts, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that. And we often talk about this, is this the strongest environment we’ve ever seen? And absolutely, the bounce back is happening just as we thought it was and we’re glad to do that.

There is a little bit less capacity primarily related to the 777s, which are delayed back into service, but we’ve got good news on that last night and our CASM-ex is a little bit higher as a result of that.

Andrew Didora

Yes, yes. And do you want to touch upon the 777 I just heard a few minutes ago?

Andrew Nocella

So, the - late last night the FAA issued the final paperwork on our Pratt & Whitney-powered 777s, which we have 52 of, represents about 10% of our capacity as a business. So it’s really, really material. They’ve been on the ground for well over a year. You really can’t rush safety, but we made it through the process and we expect to start flying the aircraft again ad hoc, probably within the next week, officially in a schedule on May 26 and then we’ll be ramping up to probably about 30 to 35 aircraft by the time we get to July. So it’s a pretty significant step-up change in our capacity. And of course, that capacity, the negative capacity has been hurting CASM-ex, there is no doubt about that and getting the aircraft where you have pilots to fly and are ready to fly back in the air is going to be a, I think, real good tailwind.

Andrew Didora

Yes, absolutely. Yes, before the 8-K last night, when I had my question ready for today and all I was going to start off with just in terms of the demand question, right? I think your first quarter conference call was certainly one of the more bullish airlines calls that I’ve heard quite some time exactly, right, yes. But the 8-K kind of answers this, but how do you respond to there’s lot of fear out there in the equity markets, many are concerned about the -- really more of the ability of the leisure consumer to keep up kind of the current travel trends as we’ve been hearing a lot from investors, like are we in the middle of peak travel? How do you think about kind of that demand elasticity or the health of the consumer in kind of the demand recovery right now?

Andrew Nocella

We think it's really strong. So we believe that consumer savings are really high, and that there is a lot of pent-up demand. You've been stuck in your houses for two years without a lot of travel. Last summer Europe was not what we had hoped it to be. This summer, it will be. We are growing by about 25%. So we feel pretty bullish that this can continue for quite some time. It will be quite a while before the consumer balance sheets are back to where they were in 2019, based on everything we know about that. So we feel like the leisure part of this is really strong and will continue as far as the eye can see. But the great part is the business part, which is continuing to bounce back rapidly here in the United States and across the Atlantic.

I think the numbers are low single digits now for those two entities. Trans-Pacific is still way off, because China and Japan are -- well, Japan is up about, I think they are open up for business there. There is minimal business traffic going to and from Japan. That being said, they were filling our airplanes with lot of cargo going across the Pacific, and where cargo yields are right now, amazingly it offsets the mediocre load factors that we're seeing in the main path of this.

Andrew Didora

Yes, got it. Kind of sticking on the leisure consumer, I guess, I publish my bookings data each week. We have seen just in terms of domestic leisure volumes, kind of probably not as strong as maybe they were, call it, a month or two ago, but we're seeing a real uptick on the international side. Are you seeing like, I always thought like, maybe as we were going through kind of the leisure boom last summer, as we moved into the summer of 2020, as international opened up more, do you think there's maybe a little bit more of trade-off going on in terms of people that used to just -- would just fly domestic over the past couple of years, maybe now are looking more internationally?

Andrew Nocella

They are definitely looking more internationally. But I wouldn't read too much into that leisure data domestically. I think the revenue management systems, my guess across all the U.S. airlines are just beginning to tighten up, because we don't want to run out of supply for this summer. And it was just going, at least at United, it was coming too quickly and we made the appropriate changes to slow it down, so that we can meter in with the capacity that we had available. Otherwise, we just had a fear that we would be sold out, not only for leisure business, but for business this summer.

Andrew Didora

Interesting. Which - on the corporate side, things just - things seem to really be recovering at a nice clip here. On the call, I think business TRASM back above pre-2019 levels, I think, demand yes, at least, volumes sort of you're at 80% or so maybe in March, you talked about it being kind of obviously it's the first innings of the corporate recovery. How do you think kind of it plays out into the middle innings of this?

Andrew Nocella

Summer is not our busiest time period for business traffic, but it's continuing to recover, at least, relative to 2019 levels. I think where we see the next step up and maybe even go beyond 2019 levels, particularly for domestic Latin and Europe is in the fall. When the kids go back to school, hopefully, COVID is more securely behind us at least in most, if not all regions of the world, but most regions of the world. We're expecting another step-up then. So we're saving seats for the appropriate categories in the fall and beyond. So we were, again, we were really bullish on the call and we are bullish enough. And our biggest concern right now is selling out for the summer and again we’ve made the appropriate changes, so we don't do that.

Andrew Didora

Yes, yes, interesting. Yes, again, kind of sticking to the call, seems like things, you guys quickly went to seeing more of a structural change, as opposed to kind of waiting for the recovery to begin to play out. It seemed, your comments there seemed to switch pretty quickly. We'd known about the pilot issue for a while, or at least probably three to six months or so. I guess, what was the biggest change that the team saw in order to get so bullish on that structural call?

Andrew Nocella

Look, so going back actually pre-pandemic, when we were looking at pilots fly for our regional partners, we realized there was going to be a shortage. And I think during that time period, everybody thought it was just relative to those particular carriers flying little aircraft. And then the pandemic kind of changed everything that came after that.

So as we went through this, what we realized is that our training capabilities and hiring capabilities, and the current outlook for a pilot at United and maybe a few other carriers is just so far superior to the alternatives, that there is no shortage of pilots for United mainline. We have a robust resume pool, we’re hiring I think roughly 200 per month.

Last year, we probably hired two times what our nearest competitors did. We got started on this early, so we wouldn't have a backlog. And I think we have the appropriate training apparatus available to us to kind of make it work. And then what we saw is the pilot shortage is now going up to other larger carriers that fly mainline jets. And I think that was the part that maybe surprised us when it shouldn't have combined with irregular operations as a result of that shortage and looking really bad, combined with those things, causing costs to look really bad. And it's a really significant shift in the industry outlook.

And from our perspective where we are right now, we think there's a gap of 11,000 to 12,000 pilots this year and it's caused by three categories. One is growth requirements, two is retirement requirements, and three is filling the -- getting the ratios back to where they should be. In other words, staffing is just too short to fly a reliable airline today, across the industry. I’m not talking about United. And so the industry has to get the staffing levels back to normal. It then has to cover the retirement and then has to cover the growth.

And what I don't think people realize is, retirement this year is about 1,800 pilots. Retirement in two years is going to accelerate to 3,000, and it's going to roughly stay at 3,000 through the end of the decade and so that's a pretty big shift. And so you wind up having a significant gap in staffing for the next two or three years that is really quite material.

Andrew Didora

Got it. For United with the 777 just cleared recently, are your pilots ready to go there? Do you just probably a little bit more final, any training or any bottlenecks there to think about [indiscernible]?

Andrew Nocella

They definitely are. I mean, with the pandemic, we made decisions on when to do heavy checks, and how many pilots to staff based on what we thought demand would be, and so on and so forth. And look, it's coming back probably even quicker than we thought. And we were very bullish on how it will come back. And so we pre-planned to fly roughly half the 777 this summer and we have the appropriate staff and the pilots to do that, so we will do that. And we're training up on the 777s, so by later this year, we can fly the full fleet.

Andrew Didora

Yes, got it. I have a whole list of questions here, but I know if there's anybody in the room that wants to ask a question at any point in time, just feel free to raise your hand and we'll get a mic over to you. I just wanted to throw that out there to folks we don’t have to wait to the very end. But maybe sticking with kind of pilots and labor, I know you’ve recently got across a new pilot deal I know the details of it are still kind of under lock and key. But anything you can just say there on the deal, because obviously it seems like it allows you to progress to the next phase of the growth plan that you outlined last year?

Andrew Nocella

Look we -- I think we have the best pilot relations in the business and we’re really proud of that. And we have a great working relationship with our pilots. We’ll leave it to the pilots to release the details on the appropriate timeline which is I think we’re writing contract language right now and then we’ll release it probably I think about a month after that. So we still have a number of weeks to go before we get it out there. But we work collaboratively and I think we found a middle ground that works.

We're -- I think there must be almost every contract open in the country today, which is unbelievable. So we're really proud to be able to have reached this agreement first and we look forward to getting it done. And it really is a milestone given how long the contracts have been open. And so we know our team wanted a new contract and we wanted to deliver one and we were able to do that.

Andrew Didora

Yes. I’d go back to maybe a little bit more on the corporate conversation. I think it was in your earnings release that you said that obviously, you were seeing business travel rapidly returning. I think you also said including Asia, like what are you seeing like - what are you seeing there?

Andrew Nocella

Yes. So Asia is the tale of a couple of different regions. And so you have China, which, unfortunately is still relatively shut down. We have four flights a week to China when we used to have I think 10 or 11 per day. So in China business traffic is almost nil unfortunately at this point. Japan is also very small, although they were quite optimistic that soon that Japan will open up and we're, later this summer, early this fall, yes, I think you'll see a lot more flights from United Airlines going to...

Andrew Didora

Okay.

Andrew Nocella

Excluding those two points, you have Korea, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore. Many of those markets are open for business and coming back really strongly. We lacked the sufficient capacity actually at a place like Singapore, we just didn’t plan that one right and we have three or four flights a week when we'd like to have two a day at this point. There are gaps, but we’re filling those gaps over the next three months.

Andrew Didora

Does the 777 help that?

Andrew Nocella

The 777 helps everything.

Andrew Didora

Yes.

Andrew Nocella

Okay, everything.

Andrew Didora

And we've been hearing from hotel earnings season kind of - was after all the airlines reported and we're hearing a little bit more about corporate travel out of the hotels. Some of the tidbits that I picked up on those earnings calls was that maybe the corporate traveler seems to be booking even closer in than what they were seeing on the hotel side kind of pre-pandemic. Any change in behavior that you're seeing from either the way corporates book, the way corporates travel in kind of this new world in which we live?

Andrew Nocella

No, there’s a lot of conversations about this. But from our perspective, the booking curve is normal at this point. And we're, I’ve told our, we think everything is virtually normal. It's a little different, right? And the purposes of travel, and the excitement about travel [Technical Difficulty] from our perspective, the volumes are still a little bit below, [Technical Difficulty] the yields are decent, and domestic and Atlantic are kind of leading the way.

Andrew Didora

Got it. Kind of leads into my next question, just with regards to kind of the network restoration. Obviously, everyone knows about the domestic entity, that sort of kind of pretty close to being back, the growth plan with the narrowbodies is that you start getting, I guess, closer to kind of mid into this year and into 2023. Just maybe walk through maybe on a geographical basis the way you're thinking about kind of growth within the different regions? And particularly, how are you thinking about, when does Asia, when you get back to your pre-pandemic levels of flying in Asia if they or do you think you'll get back to those levels?

Andrew Nocella

I think in Asia we have to look at different things. I'm not sure when we get back, yes. But that doesn't mean we won't have other opportunities. We see a lot of opportunity, for example, in other countries. In Asia we didn't fly to, so we'll be looking at those things and that may offset other countries that don't come fully back. But first of all, what I would say is we, particularly domestically, we don't use the word growth. I know that's the word everybody talks about as they measure ASMs and so on and so…

Andrew Didora

I know what word you're going to use.

Andrew Nocella

We're going to use the word gay. And we are correcting a massive gauge imbalance that our competitors did long ago. And we were flying little aircraft without premium seating in premium markets and we're just going to stop doing that. And as a result, we just -- we feel strongly that the RASM abilities of a mainline jet in a mainline market replacing an RJ are incredibly strong. And, in fact, I'd go on to say, given what we've seen with this pilot situation and RJs we're probably tilting more towards more mainline jets and less RJs going forward. But I expect our fleet will show that we can just do it better and more often with mainline jets more profitably than we can with RJs. RJs will still have a role. I don't want to say they're going to go away. The next few years are going to be a little tough from a pilot perspective, for sure. But RJs will serve a role in these really smaller communities that can’t support mainline jets. Around the world again, Asia is a tale of different markets here in the United States. San Francisco is finally coming back.

Andrew Didora

Okay, yes.

Andrew Nocella

New York is coming back. I think it's -- with a few exceptions, it’s really strong just about everywhere across the globe. And Europe is going to, if you are planning to go to Europe this summer, buy your ticket now.

Andrew Didora

I'm planning 2020, when should I buy my ticket for 2023?

Andrew Nocella

A little far out, but soon. It's an amazing environment. We -- look I think we got it exactly right. We grew the Atlantic by 25%. We didn't retire the widebodies. If the 777 had been available to us a little bit sooner, we would have grown it by more and that was in fact our intention. And so intention. It's just that plan is working as designed.

Andrew Didora

Got it, interesting. I know folks in the industry met with -- met a couple of weeks ago, I believe with the FAA about air traffic control issues throughout the country, particularly in the Florida market. Were you at that meeting or what [indiscernible]?

Andrew Nocella

I wasn't personally at that meeting, but I believe we were in attendance. There’s definitely some staffing issues in Florida in the Jacksonville ATC Center that need to be resolved. The bigger you're in Florida, I think clearly, the more it hurt your operation. Yes, it definitely hurt our operation. But we are -- there are definitely signs of constraints at busy airports around the nation. Newark would be another really good example of an airport that is running near full capacity, if not full capacity for most of the day right now. And these are things that we as an industry and the FAA are going to have to figure out how to how to fix or build more supply or whatever the right answer is.

Andrew Didora

Yes. Kind of off the cuff question, but it came to mind thinking about FAA and regulations. Earlier this year everyone's worried about the 5G issue. I think there's a deadline coming up. Is there anything to worry about with that?

Andrew Nocella

You know, if you'd asked me that, and [technical difficulty] I said no, and I would be really, really wrong. So, I think you understand the importance of this, but it’s complicated and there’s no simple answers here. And so we are aware of it, we're watching it very carefully. And we don't take for granted that we need to stay on top of it.

Andrew Didora

Yes, okay. So that's maybe looking kind of a little bit further out than can do, and I know, a lot of things have been focused about the here and now on kind of corporate leisure, network restoration and things like that. But it does seem like at least the domestic market seems to be a bit stronger than even what you guys had thought about six to 12 months ago, certainly at your Investor Day last year. I think Scott always spoke about how he thought international margins would be higher than domestic margins, kind of in the recovery process with the strength of domestic, do you think that still holds true?

Andrew Nocella

Oh, he, I think we need a little bit of TV. It's a good TV. Right? You know, the -- we're bullish about the international environment. And by the way, the International margins have been in excess to domestic margins through the pandemic, and definitely over the last nine months as I said. And so now we face this interesting -- we thought domestic was going to be the laggard for a bunch of different reasons. So whether it's equal to or ahead of international, I don't know for sure. But what I do know for sure is that it's an incredible setup over the next few years for us meeting or beating our plans. We think we have the right plan, we have the right aircraft on order. There's a lot of things we need to do. But we feel incredibly bullish about meeting the targets we set out when we talked about this in New York about a year ago.

Andrew Didora

Yes, I guess, obviously, the world and Montreal it’s very volatile. We don't know what's coming in the next three to six months. I don't know what would be some of the things maybe that you have planned for that might alter the way you kind of roll out the United Next plan over the course of the next few years? What could derail that? What would make you maybe take growth aircraft and make them replacement aircraft or anything along those lines? I guess the biggest quite like one of the questions that I often get on United specifically is, what would make them curtail their growth plan or their gauge plan?

Andrew Nocella

Yes, I don't think there's anything that would have us curtail the gauge plan, right?

Andrew Didora

And I don't associate, I know gauge and growth come together to everybody to do some math, and I feel like, I hear that.

Andrew Nocella

But us changing the gauge profile of the company is really my highest priority. And that comes before the number of ASMs we produce. And so the only other thing I'll say, because I get this question a lot is like capacity maybe you're too bullish. And we always do the right thing when it comes to capacity. And you just look at our numbers over the last 18 to 24 months. I think they just prove it out. We think we led in TRASM and all the one quarter through the entire pandemic, because we set supply and demand to a point that made sense for us. And it wasn't about market share. It was about, at least early in the pandemic, it was about cash burn and later in the pandemic, it was about getting the airline back up and running.

I think we did it very well and we're very proud of it. And we think we think we did it better than anybody else, quite frankly. And so we will continue to do the right thing to hit the targets. And so that's our gold star as we look out there is how are we going to hit the strike targets, particularly as we head towards 2026. I think everybody thinks that's a long time away and airline plan and given the aircraft and so on and so forth and pilot training issues that we are well on our way and planning for it. And again, we'll adjust as needed, like we have in the past and we will in the future.

Andrew Didora

I guess on the CASMs in terms of long-term CASM plans, 777s back, you got the pilot deal. There's probably a bit more inflation out there than you would have anticipated when you would originally put the plan in place, but do you see any other headwinds from that regard?

Andrew Nocella

Clear, I mean and Gerry in the last conference call made it pretty clear that there's a couple points of inflation. Look, we think revenue is covering it. So we're not at all worried about that. So we still believe in our 23 and 26 outlooks firmly. And there’s always something in our business. And of course it's up to the management teams at each airlines to adapt to be agile to this and that's what we're doing. And I think we're pretty darn good at it

Andrew Didora

Yes. Are there any questions in the audience before I, I don’t want to leave anyone, leave anyone out? And in the back, there's no clock up here, so I don't know when I'll need to stop if you can put that on. Just need some…

Andrew Nocella

Indefinite time.

Andrew Didora

Exactly. Yes, so a little bit of inflation in the model. Revenues are covering it. Given the level of yes, with domestic now probably performing seems a bit better than you would have thought 12 months ago. And given the level of profits that domestic generates for you any way in the way that any change in the way you're thinking about potentially deleveraging the company? Right, I know, at -- Gerry has been out there saying probably not a lot of debt paid down over the next several years, given the capex plan. But if you meet and exceed kind of your current plan, the way, it seems like you have pretty good confidence in that, how do you think about the balance sheet in that respect?

Andrew Nocella

Look, we recognize the need to get back to where we were, if not even better than that. What we thought about balance sheets a few years ago is a little bit different than we think today. And so we're, I think this quarter the turning point where [indiscernible] is really material. And as Gerry said over and over again, we're going to focus on paying down debt, and we're on our way, but we're - it’s just going to take a few years, it's a big number. But the certainty and bullishness we have in terms of our ability to meet the United Next financial targets allows us to deliver the company and we talk about it all the time, it is for most of thought.

Andrew Didora

Yes, yes. 10 minutes.

Andrew Nocella

Okay, very technical solution.

Andrew Didora

Exactly, yes, I’ll keep that in the back of my mind. Keep that in the back of my head. Anybody one more throughout the audience, anybody? No? But just, as you were, when I think about kind of the industry over the over the next 12 months, it does seem like pilots are the biggest kind of bottleneck in terms of kind of getting the industry back to like kind of more normalized earnings.

Andrew Nocella

Well, good. Pilots are not a bottleneck for United mainline.

Andrew Didora

No, I'm thinking that's right, I'm speaking more industry in entirely, certainly not for United.

Andrew Nocella

But what I’d tell you as I -- we’ve gone through these numbers and everybody is going to have their own set of numbers in relation to pilot supply. We think the next three years are going to be a challenge for pilot supply. And you just look at 11,000 to 12,000 pilots this year I think are in the demand set, only 6000 something are available. And I want to say instead of, you know, the number goes down to maybe 8500 next year. There’s a lot of growth planes needed. So there are airplanes in this industry that are simply including RJs but right now just it’s just mainline nets. That from an industry perspective, are not going to be fully employed for quite a while. And that is something new, and how each of us deal with that is going to be different. And what I can tell you is, we have a massive trading center in Denver, we started hiring pilots first. And we feel like we have this under control.

So we're anxious to see how everybody else does. But the idea of running these in an industry’s completion factor is just not very good. And I do expect that we as an industry need to do better. And that means certain limitations on what we can and can't do as an industry. Again, I don't feel like United, our training situation is complex, just like everybody else’s but we have a really strong big team that kind of manages this for us very, very carefully. And I think we're doing a great job at it.

Andrew Didora

I think you hit it just in terms of like the industry as a completion factor problem obviously a lot of operational issues. Do you think it reaches a point that I don't know if the FAA ever step in? I know there's really no precedent for this, but do they step in? Do they loosen the 1500 hours laws, there is something that they would - could, you know, you think they could or would do in order to help alleviate that? Because that's the one thing with this industry, everything becomes front page news. So anything to kind of ease that consumer burden from an operational perspective? Do you think if there's anything that could happen?

Andrew Nocella

Well, you know, there's definitely headlines and people are talking about it. And but what I can tell you is, particularly from a DC point of view, it's a safety debate, or it's a safety issue. And that has to be thought about incredibly carefully over my guess, that’s a long period of time. So I think after -- it wouldn't shock me if we're past the worst of this, before that debate is even completed.

Andrew Didora

You're talking a number of years, in my opinion, to even have that debate whether it goes on one side or the other is a TBD? But I just don't, I don't sense that there's any significant change here.

Andrew Nocella

And even if there were, it just takes time to get, pilots through the cycle through the training schools, and so you just cannot snap your fingers there. I don't, I can't imagine a solution for this year or next year. Yes, at this point, it's just too late. Yes. And nor can I imagine getting a common agreement on what the solution is, or even how to measure the problem. Everybody is going to have a different opinion on the supply and demand of pilots and where they are and why they aren't here or why they are here.

The great news is that joining United Airlines is a career. We have over 200 widebody jets. The pay rates for those aircraft are dramatically higher than the narrowbody jets, as we all know. And so as a pilot looks in terms of what are their earnings potential for the entire career, airlines that do not operate widebody jets are just going to be in a more of a deficit through this cycle, which is many, many years. It is, I think, really material. And you know, it's structurally we just, we landed on third base, right? When it comes to this.

Andrew Didora

No, but you are in a great position there. Given the audience is being quiet, oh we have a question over here. Wait, one second, for the mic.

Unidentified Analyst

Thank you. Just given the challenges to deal in sort of Boeing, Airbus, I mean, seems like there's going to be an impending shortage of jets, particularly in narrowbody. I guess, be interested to hear your thoughts on that and specifically, how you guys are positioned and how are you going to deal with that?

Andrew Nocella

Sure. I think if you were trying to make a large order for narrowbody aircraft today, that were to be delivered between now and 2026, you're going to find there's not a lot of aircraft. So airlines that don't have options available or firm aircraft and order are not going to have a lot of options available to them, other than maybe go into the leasing market. There are aircraft in the leasing market, but they're very expensive, at least relative to U.S. carrier standards in my opinion.

Secondarily, I do think there are supply chain problems at the OEMs. And so, I think Boeing's troubles are all over the headlines unfortunately every day, which is incredibly frustrating to us. They are ramping back up. Could they miss their plans next year for United? They could, we're making sure they don't right in the appropriate ways that we do that. But we do think at least from our own point of view is on the edges, right? The few airplanes are late here and there, it really doesn't deviate on our United Next plan. But to your original point, if we didn't order the aircraft when we did last year, they would not be available to us and we would have, I think, a significant problem trying to either grow or replace older aircraft that need to be retired. And so ordering those aircraft last year, I think was just, again, it's going to give us a structural advantage over the next few years, because we have the aircraft on order, and we have pilots available to fly them. And I'm not sure everybody is going to be able to say that.

Andrew Didora

Either, either those two points. I know we have just a couple of minutes left. I guess may be kind of last question for you Andrew, but kind of moving back to the corporate demand profile, because I think it is going to be very important as we move past peak leisure, summer and summer travel, when we think about the drivers of your corporate business in terms of industries, obviously you have the San Francisco presence and probably in tech, beginning to get people kind of asking the question about tech stocks are down a lot. People worry about profitability of those companies. That means if people are laid off, that hurts corporate travel in that vertical. Can you may be speak to kind of the biggest verticals in terms of your kind of corporate contracts and then kind of your thoughts around kind of the health of those industries?

Andrew Nocella

Well putting tech aside for a second and I think tech is very healthy. They just have, their stock price isn’t clearly coming through incredible cash. Yes and the last one, so I just don't think I'm overly concerned about that. That being said, look, energy is looking really good. Right? Houston Hub has it’s hedge to it that's different than many other airlines. And so I think you see, energy looking good.

Consultants and financial services I think are also looking good. The New York to London market is one of the key ones for financial services and we've boosted our schedule up to seven flights per day. We’re going to be a real player in this market where years ago we were not. And leasing the right aircraft and I think we’ve got a, we have a great, great plan for this. And so, across the board, industrials are very big at United, particularly the Chicago Hub and that looks okay, too.

So they're all a little bit different on different rates of recovery. And clearly, the tech recovery related to San Francisco had been slower. And I don't have the numbers where there's the tech business exactly today that's causing San Francisco to rebound. But I can tell you our performance at San Francisco over the last four or five weeks has been incredible. And so that's got to be in relation to tech coming back, as well as strong leisure demand, so that's looking good.

So we don't really have any significant worries about the health of any one of our strong verticals in terms of right, who supports us. And, you know, our product is being transformed with the United Next plan. You know, we just, you know, we launched our first brand campaign in like a decade, yesterday afternoon in New York, Good Leads The Way, and we're going to make sure people understand that this is a different United Airlines than it was five or 10 years ago. You know, we are focused on sustainability. We're focused on DEI. We have 500 new aircraft come in. Our employees are excited and engaged to welcome you on board and it's going to make a difference, it really is going to make a difference.

Our NPS scores are doing really well and that's going to translate. Other airlines have done this right? This is going to translate into RASM and TRASM and the margins, and so we feel really excited about the future. We were bullish a few weeks ago on the call and we're more bullish than that today obviously, given the 8-K this morning.

Andrew Didora

Well, great way to end it. Thank you. Thank you very much. I Appreciate it.

Andrew Nocella

I appreciate it.

Question-and-Answer Session

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