United Pilots Feel Fuel Squeeze
If you've been flinching lately at fuel bills from your FBO or for your SUV, imagine how the airlines must feel, with that big fleet of thirsty gas-guzzlers and a big empty wallet. United Air Lines, which is struggling to emerge from bankruptcy, has started fuel-efficiency classes for its flight crew. Pilots -- all 7,200 of them -- and 300 dispatchers are required to attend a one-day class that shows how to cut back on refueling to lower the weight of the airplane, thereby burning less fuel. United spokesman Joseph Burns told the Billings Gazette that safety is the "No. 1 issue," so presumably they are not planning to coast in for landings. The program is expected to save the company $50 million a year. Fuel is the airline's second-highest cost after labor.