A U.S. Bankruptcy Court did not have the authority to terminate United Airlines' pension plan for retired pilots, a judge from U.S. District Court in Chicago ruled late last week. United filed a motion Saturday requesting that U.S. District Judge John Darrah reconsider his ruling that the bankruptcy court was not within its jurisdiction when it ruled last year to permit termination of the pilots' pension plan. United requested a hearing to be scheduled for Thursday.
Roger Hall, a spokesman for United Retired Pilots Benefit Protection Association, said the association sees the ruling as a reversal of the bankruptcy court's decision to terminate the pension plan. As a result, the PBGC - which has absorbed some of United's pension debt - may not be able to reduce retired pilots' pension payments in March as planned.
A spokesman for the PBGC was not available for comment at press time. Neither Dave Kelly, a spokesman for the Air Line Pilots Association, nor United spokeswoman Jean Medina was available for comment.
United's parent, UAL Corp., Elk Grove Township, Ill., emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday after resolving its pension issues with groups representing currently employed United pilots, flight attendants, ground workers and customer service employees.