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United Airlines shares close lower on Friday, company delays return of some Boeing 777 jets to service until mid-May

United Airlines (UAL) said on Friday that it had put off the return of some grounded Boeing 777 jets with Pratt & Whitney 4000 engines until at least May 12th.

In February 2021, a United Airlines 777 jet’s engine failed shortly after takeoff from Denver, resulting in debris over nearby cities. Yet, there have been no reports of injuries and the jet safely returned to the airport.

United Air is the sole US carrier that operates Boeing 777 jets with the PW4000 engine, as it has a fleet of 52 such planes.

“We continue to work conscientiously with Boeing, Pratt & Whitney and the (Federal Aviation Administration) to safely return these aircraft to service soon, and our current plan will allow them to return in the second half of May,” Joshua Freed, a spokesperson for the air carrier, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

In March, the Federal Aviation Administration said it was completing three safety directives for the grounded 777 planes that will allow them to go back in the air.

United Air shares closed lower for a sixth consecutive trading session on NASDAQ on Friday. The stock went down 1.04% ($0.44) to $41.96, after touching an intraday low at $41.60 and an intraday high at $42.77 respectively.

Shares of United Airlines Holdings Inc have retreated 4.16% so far in 2022 compared with a 5.83% loss for the benchmark index, S&P 500 (SPX).

In 2021, United Air’s stock went up 1.23%, thus, it underperformed the S&P 500, which registered a 26.89% gain.

Analyst stock price forecast and recommendation

According to TipRanks, at least 5 out of 13 surveyed investment analysts had rated United Airlines Holdings Inc’s stock as “Hold”, while other 5 – as “Buy”. The median price target on the stock stands at $50.38.

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