United’s earnings, business-travel bookings boost shares

United Airlines executives say business travelers are booking flights at a faster clip than a year ago.

The airline said Wednesday that business-travel bookings in the first week of January rose 11 percent from a year ago. On top of its quarterly earnings that beat expectations, the comments helped boost United’s stock almost 7 percent in afternoon trading.

CEO Oscar Munoz says the partial government shutdown isn’t having a major impact, but the airline is watching the situation closely.

Chicago-based United says occasional long security lines haven’t caused it to delay flights. Government security screeners, who aren’t getting paychecks, have been calling in sick at higher rates.

United reported Tuesday it earned $462 million in the fourth quarter, down 20 percent from a year earlier but better than analysts expected.

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