The boss of United Continental Holdings described third quarter profits as “unsatisfactory”.

Net profit for the three months to September 30 came in at $379 million against $6 million a year earlier.

The figure would have come in at $590 million without $211 million of merger related charges, highlighting the difficulties involved with combining United and Continental Airlines almost three years after they came together to create the world’s biggest airline.

Chief executive Jeff Smisek said: “We are not satisfied with our financial performance, and are taking prompt actions to increase our revenue and operate more efficiently across the company.”

Total revenue rose by just 3.2% year-on-year to $10.2 billion.

Vice chairman and chief revenue officer Jim Compton said: “We are disappointed by the pace of our revenue improvements, and we are taking numerous actions to improve our performance to more swiftly realise our full revenue potential.”

Details of the action to be taken were not given but chief financial officer John Rainey said: “We are committed to operating more efficiently across all aspects of our business.”