UPDATE 1-United Continental posts bigger loss as revenue falls
* Adjusted loss 58 cents/shr vs estimate of loss 61 cents
* Quarterly revenue down 2.5 pct but costs rise 3 pct
Jan 24 (Reuters) - United Continental Holdings Inc posted a bigger fourth-quarter loss on Thursday, hobbled by higher costs, lower revenue and charges.
The airline has been working to win back customers who turned to rival carriers after technology changes it made to unify operations following its 2010 merger hurt service last year.
"While we didn't meet our revenue goals in 2012, we have addressed the integration issues that drove our underperformance," Jim Compton, vice chairman and chief revenue officer, said in a statement.
The world's largest carrier said its quarterly net loss widened to $620 million, or $1.87 a share, from $138 million, or 42 cents a share, a year earlier.
It took charges of $430 million in the quarter, with much of that tied to paying off pension debt and costs for systems integration and training and severance.
Excluding items, United said the 2012 quarterly loss was 58 cents a share, compared with a 61-cent loss expected by analysts on average, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue fell 2.5 percent to $8.7 billion. Passenger revenue per available seat mile, a measure of pricing power and how full planes are, rose 0.6 percent in the quarter.
Operating costs rose 3.2 percent. Although fuel costs edged down 0.3 percent, expenses for salaries and maintenance materials were 4 percent and 9.2 percent higher, respectively.
Superstorm Sandy, which barreled through the U.S. Northeast in late October, reduced revenue by about $140 million and profit by about $85 million in the fourth quarter. The storm caused shutdowns at major New York area airports, including New Jersey's Newark Liberty International where United operates a major hub.
United is the only U.S. carrier operating Boeing 787 planes, which were grounded on Jan. 16 after a series of safety incidents including battery fires. United has six 787s.