The head of United Airlines' pilots union today vowed to use everything at the union's disposal to prevent the carrier from terminating the pilots' pension plan. The airline's 9,000 pilots "have already made huge concessions to provide United with over $6 billion in financial relief over the next five years," Mark Bathurst, chairman of the United Pilots Master Executive Council of the Air Line Pilots' Association, said in a statement.
The pilots union is asking United for accountability and for a business plan "that does not attempt to solve its problems on the backs of its employees," Mr. Bathurst said. United's maintenance and airport operations are considerably less efficient than those of its competitors, and its aircraft leases remain well above market value, Mr. Bathurst said. Also, United has an "unprofitable and unstable" relationship with United Express carriers, he said, and the airline "fails to manage revenue as well as American, Continental or Northwest."
Jenna Obluck, United spokeswoman, said the airline had no immediate response.
Parent UAL Corp. announced it will delay making $563 million in contributions to the airline's combined $6.96 billion pension plans until the carrier emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.