Aviation United to offer no-frills fare By Robert Silk / January 21, 2016 Share 1 -- United Airlines will offer its own version of a no-frills, basic economy fare beginning in the second half of 2016, the carrier said during its fourth-quarter earnings call on Thursday.“It will allow us to compete with ultra-low-cost carriers more effectively, which means more fare product for customers that are looking for price point,” CFO Jim Compton said. United executives had previously hinted that such a step was coming, but had not been explicit. The new fare class comes as ultra-low-cost carriers Spirit, Frontier and Allegiant are expanding operations. It will follow Delta’s 2012 rollout of Basic Economy. American has also announced that it will launch a low-cost fare class this year.United has yet to provide information on what its basic economy tickets will entail. Typically, such fares do not offer reserved seats and have stricter provisions on cancellations and changes than standard economy seats. United reported fourth-quarter net income of $823 million, up from $28 million a year earlier. It was a Q4 record for the airline. For the year, United reported $4.2 billion in pre-tax income, its highest ever. Accounting for tax benefits the airline claimed from previous losses, net income came to $7.3 billion, up from $1.1 billion in 2014. United’s net income in Q4 was bolstered by a 36%, or $922 million, savings in fuel costs compared to a year earlier. Revenue, hurt by the declining dollar and a 7.2% decrease in per-mile ticket prices, dipped 3%, to $9.03 billion.United's stock was up 13 cents, to $45.25, shortly before 12 p.m. Eastern time.The airline’s fourth-quarter earnings per share of $2.54 missed analyst expectations by 4 cents. Revenue for the fourth quarter missed the analysts’ projection by $40 million. The United earnings conference Thursday marked the public return of CEO Oscar Munoz, who is recovering from a heart transplant he received earlier this month. Speaking with a strong voice, Munoz said he will be back to work full time by the end of March.