United Airlines has announced that it expects to have total available liquidity of approximately US$17 billion at the end of Q3 2020. This calculation includes committed financing of US$5 billion to be secured by the airline’s MileagePlus loyalty programme, which allows the airline to continue to operate, evolve and grow the programme, as well as US$4.5 billion expected to be available to the airline through the USA’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) Loan Program.
United believes it has sufficient slots, gates and routes collateral available to meet the collateral coverage that may be required for the full US$4.5 billion available to the airline under the Loan Program. This US$9.5 billion of additional liquidity will provide more flexibility as the airline navigates the Covid-19 crisis.
Given the impact Covid-19 has had on travel demand, United says it has spent the past several months aggressively and proactively cutting costs. The airline has already reduced planned capital expenditures and operating and vendor expenditures, suspended pay raises and implemented an unpaid time off programme for management and administrative employees, put a freeze on hiring, introduced voluntary leave and separation programmes, reduced pay for all executives and cut its CEO and president’s base salaries by 100%, among other cost-saving measures. Through these measures, United expects an average cash burn of approximately US$40 million per day in the second quarter of 2020, and to reduce its average cash burn to approximately US$30 million per day in the third quarter of 2020.
Goldman Sachs Lending Partners LLC, Barclays Bank PLC and Morgan Stanley Senior Funding have committed to provide, and have agreed to arrange the syndication of, the MileagePlus financing through a term loan facility, which is expected to close, subject to standard conditions, by the end of July 2020. Goldman Sachs Lending Partners LLC will act as the sole structuring agent and lead left arranger for the transaction.