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United pilots: Fuel hedge losses further proof of misdirection of airline

Written by editor

CHICAGO – United Airlines’ announced $779 million loss for the third quarter, $519 million attributable to poor fuel hedges, is yet another example of incompetence and lack of fiscal responsibility by

CHICAGO – United Airlines’ announced $779 million loss for the third quarter, $519 million attributable to poor fuel hedges, is yet another example of incompetence and lack of fiscal responsibility by its CEO and his executives, according to the pilots of United Airlines.

United CEO Glenn Tilton, who, ironically, came to United from ChevronTexaco, one of the nation’s largest oil companies, ought to perform better.

“How is it that an oil man such as Glenn Tilton can’t figure out how to stem losses from hedging jet fuel?” asked Captain Steve Wallach, chairman of the United Chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association. “United’s shortcomings under Mr. Tilton’s direction are well chronicled, but this latest reported loss is a real head-scratcher. It took him too long to realize the value of hedging, and then he entered the market too late.

“It is the hope of the pilots I represent that this oil man’s inability to properly hedge fuel at an airline doesn’t translate into additional charges being passed along to our passengers as a way to compensate for his failings.”
United recently announced it was doubling the fee it charges passengers for checking a second bag. The pilots say this increase essentially raises taxes on passengers at a time when a stimulus is needed. In the meantime, incoming CFO Kathryn Mikells will be paid $525,000 per year plus bonuses and stock options. United’s executive compensation far exceeds their performance, and it starts at the top with CEO Tilton.

“It’s time this airline’s Board of Directors takes a real hard, close look as to why United Airlines continues to bleed money and overpay incompetent executives,” added Captain Wallach. “We are at the point where the tired, old excuses from Mr. Tilton and his executives no longer resonate with the pilots, employees and passengers of this airline. It’s time for real leadership; leadership from someone with the vision, experience and know-how necessary to run a world class airline.”

The United pilots have set up a petition on its website for United passengers to demand the removal of the added fees to the second bag, to restore the service passengers once expected from United Airlines, and to contact United’s Board of Directors.