The termination of United Airlines' flight attendants pension plan and its takeover by the PBGC complied with ERISA, according to a ruling today in U.S. District Court in Washington. The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA had filed suit to stop the plan's termination. For the AFA to attempt to stop the termination "in the hopes of improved financial projections flies in the face of the statutory purpose of minimizing PBGC's overall liability," Judge Ellen S. Huvelle ruled.
The United flight attendants' pension plan was one of the defined benefit plans that the airline was allowed to terminate as part of an agreement with the PBGC that was approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chicago as part of its plan for emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. At the time, the PBGC estimated the plan had $1.35 billion in assets and $3.39 billion in liabilities.