United Airlines aims to refocus on Covid-19 recovery despite suffering a $1.8 billion third quarter loss as passenger revenue dropped 84%.

Year-on-year operating revenues were down by 78% for the summer three months as capacity was slashed by 70%.

The carrier has raised more than $22 billion including government aid and $6.8 billion in borrowings secured against its Mileage Plus loyalty scheme.

United reported available liquidity of $19.4 billion at the end of the third quarter.

The Chicago-based carrier is now shifting from surviving the Covid-19 crisis to positioning to lead the rebound after cutting operating costs by almost 48% over the same period in 2019.

Average daily cash burn was reduced to $21 million from $37 million in the second quarter.

The airline plans to operate about 40% of its schedule in October and plans to become the first US airline to resume service to China with flights from San Francisco to Shanghai.

Chief executive Scott Kirby said: “Having successfully executed our initial crisis strategy, we’re ready to turn the page on seven months that have been dedicated to developing and implementing extraordinary and often painful measures, like furloughing 13,000 team members, to survive the worst financial crisis in aviation history.

“Even though the negative impact of Covid-19 will persist in the near term, we are now focused on positioning the airline for a strong recovery that will allow United to bring our furloughed employees back to work and emerge as the global leader in aviation.”