- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 11, 2003

CHICAGO, March 11 (UPI) — United Airlines Tuesday asked a federal bankruptcy judge for an extra six months to file a reorganization plan.

In a court filing, United said it needs more time to evaluate strategic alternatives and work with creditors and other stakeholders. It had been expected to file a plan April 8.

The company has been floating the concept of a discount carrier, codenamed "Starfish," but its major unions have criticized the idea, saying it is unlikely that would be the whole answer to reversing the airline's financial woes.

United has lost more than $4 billion since 2000, $342 million in January alone. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Dec. 9 and is facing a Monday deadline for working out new labor agreements reducing costs significantly.

United was expected to ask U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Eugene Wedoff to abrogate the current contracts.

The International Association of Machinists is negotiating over such issues as outsourcing maintenance and layoffs in addition to wage concessions. The union also is fending off a challenge from the American Mechanics Fraternal Association, which is pushing for a representation election.

"Keep in mind," AIM has warned its membership, "that the president of AMFA's largest and most influential local has publicly stated that the key to fixing the airline industry lies in the demise of United Airlines and US Airways (which also is in bankruptcy).

"Since AMFA's membership at Northwest Airlines will be financing the raid on our United Airlines membership, you should be aware that AMFA's real motivation in filing a petition at this time is to benefit their Northwest members by completely destroying United Airlines."

The Air Line Pilots Association said Tuesday it is awaiting United's response to its counterproposal. The Association of Flight Attendants has proposed $1 billion in cuts for its membership, about half what United sought.

United Airlines operates slightly more than 1,700 flights a day, down from 2,400 at its peak.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide