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UPDATE 1-United Continental cuts 3rd-qtr passenger unit revenue forecast

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Sept 6 (Reuters) - United Continental Holdings Inc on Wednesday joined its larger rival Delta Air Lines Inc in cutting its current-quarter forecast for passenger unit revenue, citing lower average fares and higher fuel costs.

United Continental's shares were down 3.4 percent at $59.05 in premarket trading.

The company, which owns the No. 3 U.S. airline United Airlines, said it now expects the closely watched performance metric to fall about 3 percent to 5 percent in the third quarter ending September. (http://bit.ly/2gKfPwT)

United had previously forecast the passenger unit revenue - which compares sales to flight capacity - to be down 1 percent to up 1 percent.

The company also lowered its pre-tax margin forecast range, excluding special charges, to 8 percent to 10 percent, from 12.5 percent to 14.5 percent.

Delta Air on Tuesday cut its forecasts for passenger unit revenue and operating margin for the current quarter.

United Continental also said on Wednesday it had ordered 10 more Airbus A350 wide-body passenger jets. The company now has on order 45 A350-900 aircraft, replacing its previous order for 35 of the A350-1000 model.

The company also said it had deferred the deliveries of the aircraft to late 2022 through 2027. It was earlier expected to take deliveries of some A350 jets next year. (Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)