United Posts Profit, Stays in Chicago

Chicago's Mayor Daley must be thrillled.

United Airlines, Chicago's self-proclaimed Hometown Airline, announced this morning that, after an amazing six years (!) of losses, the company was finally posting a (preliminary) modest quarterly profit. The reason? Mostly higher ticket prices and strong demand, two factors that have helped push up black ink (or at least stem the flow of the red ink) industry-wide. After this morning's announcement, the company's shares jumped up to thirteen percent.

United also announced on Saturday that it plans to move its headquarters from Elk Grove Township, Illinois to downtown Chicago, defeating rumors and speculation that it would move to Denver or San Francisco. Of course, like any Big Company Moving to Chicago (think: Boeing in 2001), United certainly got its fair share of goodies: $5.25 million in tax financing and $1.35 million in job grants from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

These two announcements have to be good news for the company. The announcement of a profit, no matter how small, is the first in six years, and should help to ease the fears of shareholders, some of whom have seen their share prices fall from $43.00/share back in January to as little as $25.88/share last month.

And the announcement that United will stay in Chicago is good news for the company and the city; the company will get a bunch of benefits and the city will get the taxes.

And how could United be United if it wasn't based in Chicago?