United’s Long Haul


As expected, United Air Lines company officials this week filed into Chicago’s bankruptcy court to ask for protection from its creditors. This move — the largest Chapter 11 filing in aviation history — came as nosurprise after the federal government denied United’s request for loan guarantees. Employees own 55 percent of United. The struggling airline continues to cut its costs wherever possible, including grounding dozens of aircraft and reducing its route schedule. Even some UAL managers are seeing their paychecks cut as well, and some analysts expect the bankruptcy court to rder more pay cuts and other reductions. The airline has promised to keep flying and will even honor customers’ frequent-flyer miles. “We’re going to be flying airplanes today, tomorrow, next week and next year,” pilot Herb Hunter said.

In an interview with Reuters in Chicago, United Chief Executive Glenn Tilton said it was possible that Lufthansa, United’s partner in the airline network Star Alliance, would take an equity stake in United. A Lufthansa spokesman so far said such words were speculative.