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7JetSet7 Code: UAL
Status: Operational
Country: USA
Employees 78796
Web: ual.com
Telephone: +1 (847) 700-4000
Fax: +1 (847) 700-7345

Click below for data links:
UAL-2005-01 2004 STATS
UAL-2005-10 9 MTHS STATS
UAL-2009-12 3Q STATS
UAL-2010-08-WLD RPK-2009
UAL-2012-07 - 14 767-300ER WITH WINGLETS
UAL-2012-09 - 787-8 - 1ST DELIVERY-A
UAL-2012-09 - 787-8 1ST DELIVERY
UAL-2013-01 - 1ST 787 INTNL FLT
UAL-2013-01 - UPDATE-A
UAL-2013-01 - UPDATE-B
UAL-2013-06 - A350 XWB UPDATE
UAL-2014-04-787-9 ROLLOUT
UAL-2014-09 - 1ST 787-9
UAL-2014-12 - UPDATE-A
UAL-2014-12 - UPDATE-B
UAL-2014-12 - UPDATE-C
UAL-2014-12 - UPDATE-D
UAL-2014-12 - UPDATE-E
UAL-2014-12 - UPDATE-F
UAL-2014-12 - UPDATE-G
UAL-2014-12 - UPDATE-H
UAL-2014-12 - UPDATE-I
UAL-2014-12 - UPDATE-J
UAL-2015-04 - TOP 25 WORLD TRAFFIC.jpg
UAL-2015-05 - Chicago to Rome.jpg
UAL-2015-07 - Top 12 at SFO.jpg
UAL-2015-08 - BusinessFirst Lie-Flat Seats.jpg
UAL-2015-08 - In-Flight Entertainment.jpg
UAL-2016-05 - $787 SFO to Xian 787.jpg787
UAL-2016-05 - FC and CA to Xian.jpg
UAL-2016-07 - SFO to Hangzhou-A.jpg
UAL-2016-07 - SFO to Hangzhou-B.jpg
UAL-2017-06 - Lie Flat Business Seats.jpg
UAL-2017-10 - SIN to LAX.jpg
UAL-BUSINESS FLYER 787-A - 2013-08
UAL-BUSINESS FLYER 787-B - 2013-08
UAL-BUSINESS FLYER 787-C - 2013-08
UAL-BUSINESS FLYER 787-D - 2013-08
UAL-Cabin Attendant exercise 2017-08.jpg
UAL-Polaris Business Class - 2016-06-A.jpg
UAL-Polaris Business Class - 2016-06.jpg
UAL-Polaris Business Class - 2016-11.jpg
UAL-ROUTE MAP 787 - 2014-04
UAL-Route Map Domestic - 2016-02.jpg
UAL-Route Map International - 2016-03.jpg
UAL-View Yosemite National Park.jpg
UAL-Visit Hearst Castle, CA.jpg
UAL-Visit SFO.jpg
UAL-Washington Dulles Intnl Airport.jpg


PO BOX 66100
CHICAGO, IL 60666-0100, USA

USA (United States of America) was established in 1776, it covers an area of 9,363,123 sq km, its population is 280 million, its capital city is Washington DC, and its official language is English.

April 1926: Shortly after the historic Pasco, Washington - Boise, Idaho - Elko, Nevada flight of Varney Air Lines on April 6, 1926, this group posed before a Laird Swallow biplane at Boise. Shown (from left) are pilot (FC) Joe Taff; pilot (FC) Franklin Rose; Hal Bruntach; Mrs Walter T Varney; Walter T Varney;, his father Thomas Varney; Chief Pilot Leon Cuddeback; the senior Varney’s chauffeur, and a representative of the USA Post Office (SEE PHOTO - - "UAL-1926 - VARNEY AIR LINES."

This flight was the beginning of United Airlines (UAL). The historic flight in 1926 was the first contracted mail service of a private airline. Varney Air Lines was the only bidder of the government contract and began at Pasco, Washington with 207 lbs of mail. The Laird Swallow flew at a top speed of 90 mph and was supposed to make a stop in Boise on its way to Elko. But a storm forced a landing in Oregon. The mail finally arrived in Elko 3 days after takeoff.

Varney soon added Salt Lake City, Portland and Seattle to its route. By May 1934, it had merged with Pacific Air Transport, Boeing Air Transport and National Air Transport to become United Airlines (UAL).






JANUARY 1993: 1992 = -$356.2 MILLION (NET LOSS) (-$335.3 MILLION): +12.6% (RPM) TRAFFIC, +7.6% PASSENGERS (PAX), +8.8% (FTK) FREIGHT TRAFFIC. LAYS OFF 2,800 EMPLOYEES, GROUNDS 29 727'S, 11 737'S = -$400 MILLION SAVINGS.


NEW YORK TO BUENOS AIRES (767-300ER, 15F/38C/154Y).

APRIL 1993: 49 BOEING (TBC) ORDERS CHANGED TO OPTIONS, WITH DELIVERY DELAYS 1996 - 1999 FOR 31 737'S, 8 747-400'S, 2 757'S, AND 8 767-300ER'S.

TO SLOW DELIVERY OF 50 A320'S, AND RETIRE 5 DC-10-10'S, 4 747SP'S, & 19 727-200'S, BY THE END OF 1994.





2 ORDERS 747-400'S. 2 A320'S DELIVERIES.

JANUARY 1994: 1993 = -$50 MILLION (NET LOSS): +9.2% (RPM) TRAFFIC, +9.6% (ASM) CAPACITY, 67.2% LF LOAD FACTOR.

APRIL 1994: 1ST "D" MAINTENANCE CHECK ON 747-400 (1989 DELIVERY), 20,151 HOURS, 2,887 CYCLES. RETIRED 1 727-22, & 25 727-222'S.




JANUARY 1995: 1994 = +$51 MILLION (-$50 MILLION): +7% (RPM) TRAFFIC.


16TH A320 (V2527-A5) DELIVERY.


MAY 1995: 1ST 3 777'S (PW4084) DELIVERIES ($120 MILLION EACH), 12 FIRST (F) 2-2-2, 49 BUSINESS (C) 2-3-2, 231 ECONOMY (Y) 2-5-2. 17TH A320 DELIVERY.

$570 MILLION, +2 ORDERS 747-400'S, & 4 757-200'S (APRIL 1996).





DECEMBER 1995: NOW HAS 8 777'S. TO CONVERT 10 747'S TO 2 CLASS 42C, 408Y.



+2 ORDERS 747-400. 500TH A320 DELIVERY OF 687 ORDERS. 1ST 777-200, B MARKET, (WB053) (JANUARY 1997).




















UNITED AIRLINES (UAL) SHUTTLE, NOW HAS 23 737-300'S & 22 737-500'S.

AUGUST 1996: $3.5 BILLION, BOEING (TBC) ORDER: 19 747-400'S (PW4056), 6 757-200'S (PW2037), & 2 777'S (PW4090). 757 & 777 DELIVERIES. $900 MILLION, AIRBUS USA LAUNCH, OF 24 ORDERS (JUNE 1997) A319'S, 126 PASSENGERS (PAX), 8 FIRST (F), 118 ECONOMY (Y).






RETIRED 737'S (PG001 & PG068), AND 747'S (RA409 AND RA414). 92ND 757 DELIVERY. 16TH 777 DELIVERY (WA017).






MARCH 1997: 4 ORDERS (1999) A319'S (V2500), & 3 ORDERS A320-200'S.

1996 = 116,555 MILLION (RPM) (TRAFFIC) (1ST IN WORLD!).








1 747-400, 1 777-200 IGW (PW4090) AND 1 A320-200 DELIVERIES.



JULY 1997: +8 ORDERS (FEBRAUARY 1998) 767-300 FOR TOTAL 32 (24 ER'S). 1ST OF 28 A319 (IAE V2500).





SEPTEMBER 1997: 579 AIRPLANES 25%> STAGE 3, FEDERAL NOISE STANDARD BY THE END OF 1997. TO RETIRE 48 AIRPLANES, ACQUIRE 57 NEW BY THE END OF 1998 & INSTALL HUSHKITS ON 99 727'S BY THE END OF 1999. PLANS TO RETIRE 48 737-200'S/747-100'S/DC-10-10'S BY THE END OF 1998 AND TAKE DELIVERY OF 57 747-400'S/757'S/767-300'S/777-200'S/A319'S/A320'S INCLUDING HUSHKITS ON 75 727-200'S & 24 737-200'S BY THE END OF 1999.




OCTOBER 1997: 85,900 EMPLOYEES, 79,205 (3RD QUARTER). 92,000 (3RD QUARTER).












FEBRUARY 1998: CHICAGO (ORD) - OSAKA (JULY 1998) (747-400).




1 ORDER 747-400, 6 ORDERS 767-300'S, & 16 ORDERS 777-200'S (JANUARY 1999).












EMPLOYEES (K): 1 FED 94; 2 UAL 92; 3 AAL 86; 4 DAL 63; 5 DLH 58; 6 BAB 53; 7 NWA 48; 8 USA 42; 9 CAL; 10 AFA 36.

(RPK) (TRAFFIC) (BILLION): 1 UAL 195; 2 AAL 172; 3 DAL 160; 4 NWA 116; 5 BAB 106; 6 JAL 77; 7 CAL 77; 8 DLH 71; 9 AFA 70; 10 USA 67.

NET ($MILLION): 1 AMR 985 (1,016); 2 UAL 949 (533); 3 DAL 934 (248 4 BAB 754 (876); 5 SIA 670 (731); 6 NWA 597 (536); 7 FED 583 (371); 8 USA 494 (263); 9 DLH 482 (371); 10 CAL 385 (319).

PASSENGERS (PAX) (MILLION): 1 DAL 103; 2 UAL 84; 3 AAL 81; 4 USA 59; 5 NWA 55; 6 SWA 50; 7 ANA 41; 8 CAL 39; 9 DLH 35; 10 BAB 34.

FREIGHT TRAFFIC (FTK) (BILLION): 1 FED 9.3; 2 GRC 6.5; 3 KAL 5.7; 4 UPS 5.4; 5 AFA 5.0; 6 DIA 4.8; 7 JAL 4.2; 8 BAB 3.9; 9 KLM 3.9; 10 CAT 3.6; 11 NWA 3.3; 12 UAL 3.2; 13 CHI 2.8; 14 EVA 2.7; 15 DAL 2.5.













1 UAL 123.3; 2 AAL 108.3; 3 DAL 102.6; 4 NWA 67.6; 5 CAL 49.7; 6 USA 41.1; 7 SWA 29.7; 8 TWA 25.0; 9 AMW 16.2; 10 ASA 11.0.





FEBRUARY 1999: 747-422 (24382 "GARY GENDREAU - EMPLOYEE" AND 1 777-200 (191) DELIVERIES.








1 UAL 200 (195); 2 AAL 175 (172); 3 DAL 166 (160); 4 BAB 117 (106); 5 NWA 107 (116); 6 CAL 87 (77); 7 DLH 72 (71); 8 USA 66 (67); 9 SIA 58 (55); 10 KLM 57 (55).

MAY 1999: 88,097 EMPLOYEES.




1 UAL 124.54; 2 AAL 108.87; 3 DAL 103.24; 4 BAB 72.08; 5 NWA 66.71; 6 CAL 50.94; 7 JAL 48.97; 8 DLH 48.88; 9 AFA 46.35; 10 USA 41.25; 11 SIA 35.88.

JULY 1999: 737-222 (19062, N9024U) DONATED TO LEWIS UNIVERSITY. 737-222 (19948), SOLD TO AIR PHILIPPINES (PHP). SWITCHES ORDERS FOR 7 747-400'S (PW4056) TO 9 ORDERS 777-200'S IGW (PW4090) FOR TOTAL 44 747-400'S (42 IN OPERATION), 61 777'S (37 IN OPERATION). 2 DC-10-10'S (46614; 46634) SOLD TO FEDEX (FED)



747-122 (20105, N156UA) RETIRED AT LAS VEGAS. 50TH 767-300ER DELIVERY.

1 AAL 17.37 (14.1%); 2 UAL 9.91 (8.1%); 3 DAL 7.26 (5.9%); 4 NWA 6.91
(5.6%); 5 CAL 6.61 (5.4%); 6 BAB 6.31 (5.1%); 7 JAL 4.39 (3.6%); 8 ACN 4,13 (3.4%); 9 DLH 2.92 (2.4%); 10. VAA 2.65 (2.2%).






DECEMBER 1999: 767-322ER (30037, N672UA) AND 777-222ER (30215, N209UA) DELIVERIES. 2 DC-10-30F'S (47837; 48263) RETIRED AT LAS VEGAS.






1ST 777 OPERATIONS TO HAWAII, WITH SAN FRANCISCO (SFO) - MAUI (777, 36F, 312Y). DC-10-10 (46939 & 47966) RETIRED. +4 ORDERS A319'S (TOTAL 51) & +5 ORDERS A320'S (TOTAL 91). A320-232 (1163, N458UA) DELIVERY.




1 TLS 260 (+13.7%); 2 AAL 171 (-6.5%); 3 CHA 141 (-2%) 4 ARW 119 (+9.4%); 5 TMP 118 (+8.3%); 6 FNE 112 (-30%) 7 CKF 92 (-34.1%); 8 UPS 70 (+20.3%); 9 UAL 58 (-6.4%); 10 AMJ 44 (-46.5%).


CHANGES WEBSITE TO MORE INTUITIVE: (http://www.united.com).




IN APRIL 2001, CHICAGO (ORD) - SHANGHAI (747-400).


RECEIVES ITS 600TH AIRPLANE, 42ND 777-222, AND LAST 747-422 (44TH).







(RPK) (TRAFFIC) (BILLION): 1 UAL 201.9; 2 AAL 177.3; 3 DAL 168.6; 4 NWA 119.3; 5 BAB 117.5; 6 CAL 93.4; 7 AFA 83.7; 8 JAL 82.9; 9 DLH 81.4; 10 USA 66.9.

NET ($ MILLION): 1 DAL 1,285; 2 UAL 1,235; 3. AMR 985; 4 SIA 737; 5 DLH 633; 6 SWA 474; 7 CAL 455; 8 FED 442; 9 AFA 340; 10 KLM 324.

EMPLOYEES (K): 1 UPS 308; 2 FED 150; 3 UAL 96.7; 4 AAL 86.1; 5 DAL 72; 6 DLH 66.2 7 DHL 60; 8 AFA 55.2; 9 BAB 53.1; 10 NWA 51.8.

(FTK) (FREIGHT TRAFFIC) (B): 7 BAB 4.54; 8 JAL 4.42; 9 KLM 4.15; 10 CAT 3.77; 11 UAL 3.58; 12 CHI 3.38; 13 CLX 3.25; 14 EVA 3.15; 15 NWA 3.02.


88,097 EMPLOYEES. 96,675 EMPLOYEES (+4.8%).

1999 = +$1.235 BILLION (+$821 MILLION): 201.87 BILLION (RPK) (+.7%); 71% LF LOAD FACTOR; 3.58 BILLION (FTK) FREIGHT TRAFFIC (+4.7%); 86.58 MILLION PASSENGERS (PAX) (-.3%).

1 767-322ER (29243, N675UA), 3 777-222'S (30219, N30219; 30220, N30214; 30221, N30215) & 1 777-222ER (30550, N217UA). EXERCISES OPTIONS FOR 6 A319'S & 6 A320'S FOR TOTAL 164 ORDERS A320 FAMILY FOR LARGEST AIRBUS (EDS) OPERATOR IN NORTH AMERICA & 3RD IN WORLD.



1 SWA 877; 2 DAL 671; 3 UAL 505; 4 USA 450; 5 AAL 416; 6 CAL 408; 7 NWA 402; 8 AMW 223; 9 ASA 144; 10 TWA 118.



1 A319-131 (1321, N832UA) DELIVERY.








50TH 777-200 DELIVERY. 2 777-222ER'S (30222, N218UA; 30551, N219UA) DELIVERIES. 1 A319K131 (1401, N833UA) DELIVERY.

1 UAL 126.88; 2 AAL 116.51; 3 DAL 107.78; 4 NWA 79.10; 5 BAB 73.88; 6 CAL 63.31; 7 DLH 58.52; 8 AFA 57.04; 9 JAL 55.30; 10 USA 46.83; 11 SIA 43.99; 12 ACN 42.38.





MARCH 2001: 727-222 (21563; 21568; 21573), RETIRED. 1 747-238B (21054) RETURNED TO LESSOR. 2 DC-10-30F'S (47812; 47813), LEASED TO FEDEX (FED).





2 A319-131'S (1426, N835UA; 1460, N836UA) & 2 A320-232'S (1427, N470UA; 1432, N471UA) DELIVERIES. 767-300ER (N676UA) DELIVERY. 2 A319-131'S (1474, N837UA; 1477, N838UA) & 1 A320-232 (1435, N472UA). 2ND 747-SP21 (21548) SOLD TO (FAA).





WILL ACCELERATE RETIREMENT OF 727'S WITH -25 IN 2001, AND ALL BY END OF 2003. TO REPLACE WITH 13 A319/A320'S. 747-222 (21140)


1 777-222ER (30223, N220UA) DELIVERY, +1 A319-131 (1507, N839UA) & 2 A320-232'S (1469, N473UA; 1475 N474UA) DELIVERIES.

JUNE 2001: +2 ORDERS A319'S & 1 ORDER A320.





TO ACCELERATE RETIREMENT OF 727'S WITH -65 IN 2002, AND REMAINING -10 IN 2003. 1 777-222ER (30552, N221UA), 1 A319-131 (1522, N840UA) & 1 A320-232 (1508, N475UA) DELIVERIES.


1 UAL 61.5 (19.1%); 2 AAL 55.9 (17.4%); 3 DAL 51.2 (15.9%); 4 NWA 38.7 (12.1%); 5 CAL 32.2 (10.0%); 6 USA 24.9 (7.7%); 7 SWA 22.5 (7.0%); 8 TWA 12.1 (3.8%); 9 AMW 10.1 (3.1%); 10 ASA 6.2 (1.9%).


2 747-238'S (21140, /75; 21237, /76) PARTED OUT. 1 777-222ER (30553, N222UA) DELIVERY. 2 DC-10-10'S (46968; 46969) SOLD TO (FED). 1 A319-131 (1545, N841UA) & 2 A320-232'S (1508, N476UA; 1514, N477UA) DELIVERIES.




1. CHICAGO (ORD) 16,029; 2. SAN FRANCISCO (SFO) 13,497; 3. DENVER (DEN) 12,098; 4. LOS ANGELES (LAX) 10,868; 5. DULLES 4,861; 6. SEATTLE (SEA) 4,161; 7. LAS VEGAS 3,142; 8. BOSTON 3,037; 9. SAN DIEGO 2,929; 10. PORTLAND 2,581.

News Item A-5: 1 777-222ER (30224, N223UA), 1 A319-131 (1569, N842UA) & 2 A320-232'S (1533, N478UA; 1538, N479UA) DELIVERIES.






2 727-222'S (21399; 21419) WITHDRAWN FROM USE (WFU) AT VICTORVILLE. A319-131 (1569, N842UA) & A320-232 (1555, N480UA) DELIVERIES.





1 UAL 149.50; 2 AAL 135.28; 3 DAL 123.87; 4 NWA 94.04; 5 BAB 82.06; 6 CAL 77.83; 7 AFA 66.52; 8 DLH 61.32; 9 USA 59.63; 10 JAL 55.73.




747-238B (21353) PARTED OUT. 767-322 (N677UA) DELIVERY. 4 A319-131'S (1581, N844UA; 1585, N845UA; 1600, N846UA; 1627, N847UA) & 2 A320-232'S (1584, N482UA; 1609, N484UA) DELIVERIES. PLANS TO DEFER >60% OF ALL AIRBUS AND BOEING DELIVERIES PREVIOUSLY SCHEDULED FOR THE NEXT 2 YEARS. WILL TAKE REMAINDER OF 43 DELIVERIES IN 2001, BUT FOR 2002 & 2003 WILL ONLY TAKE 24 (1/MONTH), DOWN FROM 67.






4 727-222'S (21413; 21423; 21557; 21559), & 2 737-291'S (21544; 22399), WFU AT VICTORVILLE. 3 747-422'S (24380; 24381; 25395) WFU AT VICTORVILLE. 2 777-222ER'S (375-30225, N224UA; 377-30554, N225UA) DELIVERIES. 4 A320-232'S (1559, N481UA; 1586, N483UA; 1617, N485UA; 1620, N486UA) DELIVERIES.




(UAL) CORP 2001 = -$2.11 BILLION (+$51.62 MILLION): 116.6 BILLION (RPM) (-8.1%); -6.1% (ASM); 70.8% LF (-1.5). 4TH QUARTER = -$308 MILLION (-$71 MILLION): MAINTENANCE COSTS = $466.04 MILLION (-8.5%).


1 UAL 116.60; 2 AAL 106.15; 3 DAL 97.60; 4 NWA 73.11; 5 BAB 64.24; 6 AFA 59.54; 7 CAL 58.76; 8 DLH 56.76; 9 JAL 50.77; 10 USA 45.93; 11 SWA 44.50; 12 SIA 42.76; 13 QAN 42.14; 14 ACN 41.49; 15 KLM 35.76; 16 ANA 33.16; 17 CAT 27.81; 18 TII 27.43; 19 IBE 25.64; 20 KAL 23.73; 21 ALI 22.45; 22 MAS 22.29; 23 AMW 19.06; 24 VAA 17.65; 25 VAR 16.02; 26 CHI 16.00; 27 EAD 14.37; 28 SAS 14.26; 29 ANZ 13.54; 30 SAA 12.70; 31 SVA 12.56; 32 BEJ 12.39; 33 ASA 12.23; 34 JAS 10.06; 35 THY 9.35; 36 AMX 8.51; 37 PAL 8.36; 38 GIA 8.15; 39 CMA 7.99; 40 ELA 7.79; 41 GUL 7.65; 42 PIA 7.24; 43 AIN 7.10; 44 TAP 6.43; 45 EGP 5.53; 46 OLY 5.24; 47 AUL 5.06; 48 FIN 4.93; 49 IND 4.52; 50 CQT 4.51.

2 777-222ER'S (380-30226, N226UA; 381-30555, N227UA), DELIVERIES. A319-131 (1647, N848UA) & A320-232 (1669, N487UA) DELIVERIES.











(TELEPHONE: +1 (847) 700 4000). (FAX: +1 (847) 700 7345).

PARENT UNITED AIRLINES (UAL) CORP 1ST Q = -$510 MILLION (-$313 MILLION): 39.75 BILLION RPK (-14.12%); -18.73% ASK; 72.2% LF; 15.33 MILLION PAX (-18.43%); 602.19 MILLION FTK (-17.63%).





June 2002: 2001 Top World Airlines by Traffic (RPK BILLION):
1 UAL 187.67; 2 AAL 170.88; 3 DAL 163.66; 4 NWA 117.66; 5 BAB 106.27; 6 CAL 98.37; 7 AFA 94.42; 8 DLH 86.70; 9 JAL 84.27; 10 USA 73.93; 11 SWA 71.59; 12 SIA 69.15; 13 QAN 67.89; 14 ACN 67.03; 15 KLM 57.85; 16 ANA 56.90; 17 CAT 44.79; 18 TII 44.04; 19 IBE 41.30; 20 KAL 38.45; 21 MAS 38.31; 22 ALI 36.52; 23 SWS 32.98; 24 TWA 31.85; 25 AMW 30.69.

2001 Top World Cargo Operators Billion (FTK):
1 FED 11.05; 2 LUB 7.08; 3 UPS 5.96; 4 SIA 5.88; 5 KAL 5.57; 6 AFA 5.12; 7 KLM 4.64; 8 JAL 4.19; 9 BAB 4.033; 10 CHI 4.030; 11 NCA 3.93; 12 CAT 3.89; 13 CLX 3.77; 14 EVA 3.28; 15 UAL 2.80; 16 NWA 2.79; 17 AAL 2.56; 18 MTH 2.40; 19 AAR 2.38; 20 DAL 2.31; 21 MAS 1.84; 22 SWS 1.79; 23 TII 1.67; 24 QAN 1.57; 25 AHK 1.55.

United Airlines (UAL) 2001 = (UAL CORP) -$2.145B (+$50 Million): 187.66B RPK (-8.1%); 70.8% LF (-1.5); 75.46M PAX (-10.7%); 2.80B FTK (-24.2%); 92,900 EMPLOYEES (-5.6%).

July 2002: Signs agreement for installing Trax Maintenance & Engineering software (http://www.traxsoftware.com). Trax will be used to monitor Engineering compliance, carry out planning and production functions for the complete fleet by end of 2003, with an initial implementation of one airplane type by end of 2002. Trax will be implemented across the (UAL) heavy maintenance bases in Oakland, San Francisco (SFO) and Indianapolis.

United Airlines (UAL) Group 2nd Q = -$341 Million (-$365 Million). Applies for $2 Billion in loans of which 90% would be guaranteed by the federal goverment. 6 months = 84.64 Billion RPK (-14.44%); -17.39% ASK; 73.4% LF (+2.5); 32.72M PAX (-18.3%); 1.32B FTK (-13.01%).

Marketing agreement with US Airways (USA) to code share, share airport lounges, and joint frequent flyer programs.

A320-232 (1821, N493UA) delivery.

August 2002: Peggy Dedo, VP Engineering, replaces Jim Keenan, who took a position with (P&W).

In 12/02 - 4/03, Washington Dulles (IAD) - Aruba (weekends). In 10/02, Washington Dulles (IAD) to Sau Paulo - Buenos Aires (767-300ER's).

As part of contract to National Footrball Leagues (NFL) teams, takes Washington Redskins nonstop 747-400 Washington Dulles (IAD) - Osaka, Japan for pre-season game with San Francisco 49ers. They will also carry the San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears, and the Washington Redskins to all their away games.

Will move 767 Fleet Engineering from Indianapolis Maintenance Center (where it has been since 1996) to Oakland.

United Airlines (UAL) has joined 6 other major airlines, that pay a 3rd party, to tap into airport surveillance radar data, to help pilots decide if they have enough fuel to wait out a delay. (UAL) Signed on with Megadata Corp, to use the Passur software suite, which is designed to help prevent, among other ills, unnecessary and costly diversions of inbound airplane. Passur gives airline dispatchers the same info, that the air traffic controllers see in the terminal environment. This allows them to gauge air traffic control delays, and provide pilots in holding patterns, with accurate assessments of when they'll be next in line to land. United (UAL) prevents up to 3 diversions/week, saving up to $29,000 per event, for a narrow body jet, and as much as $180,000 per event, for a wide body.

747-422 (1088-26892, N194UA) stored at Victorville.

September 2002: Glenn Tilton, Chairman, President & (CEO), 54, ex-ChevronTexaco.

Signs up for Boeing Portable Maintenance Aid (PMA) troubleshooting software.

In October 2002, Chicago (ORD) to Buenos Aires. In December 2002, Denver to Mexico City (Saturdays).

737-291 (569-21749) sold to Ram Air Sales. 2 747-422's (24380; 24381) returned to service. 3 747-422's (26878; 26879; 26880) WFU, stored at Victorville. 2 A320-232's (1845, N496UA; 1847, N497UA) deliveries.

October 2002: Airlines around the world are suffering losses and job cuts, while airport operators, including Japan's Narita airport, the world's costliest hub, are still raking in the profits (IATA) report). In the wake of the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks, airlines lost -$18 Billion in 2001, and expect to lose another -$12 Billion in 2002. Although shortly after in October 2001, airports in Singapore and Hong Kong cut landing rates by -10 to -15%, Narita was a stubborn holdout, charging a fee of 2,400 yen a tonne, or about $7,755 for each 747 airplane, 2.3 times the cost in Hong Kong, 3.9 times that in Singapore, and 14.9 times the cost at London's Heathrow (LHR).

1st 6 months Top World Airlines Traffic Billion (RPK)
1 AAL 95.18; 2 UAL 84.56; 3 DAL 74.53; 4 NWA 56.50; 5 BAB 49.30; 6 AFA 48.21; 7 CAL 47.49; 8 DLH 42.06; 9 JAL 39.44; 10 SWA 36.03; 11 SIA 36.00; 12 ACN 33.69; 13 USA 33.06; 14 KLM 27.54; 15 CAT 23.07; 16 IBE 19.53; 17 KAL 16.47; 18 CHI 15.70; 19 AMW 15.20; 20 ALI 14.21; 21 EAD 13.45; 22 VAR 12.68; 23 GUN 12.49; 24 SAS 12.01; 25 BEJ 10.32.

George Soros, the 23rd richest American (according to "Forbes" magazine, - worth about $6.9 Billion), buys 3.5% stock in (UAL) through its Soros Fund Management.

United Airlines (UAL) Corp 3rd Quarter = -$889 Million (-$1.2 Billion).

Will lay off -1,250 employees (-1.5%), of its approximately total 84,000 employees (including 8,767 Flight Crew (FC); 22,294 Cabin Attendants (CA), & 37,000 ground workers) and will close 3 reservation centers (656 jobs) in January 2003: San Francisco (SFO), Indianapolis, & Long Beach; and one (250 jobs) 757 maintenance line, at Indianapolis. In January 2003, it will close stations in Caracas (-69 employees); Santiago (-110); Milan (-46); & Dusseldorf (-4).

Currently, United Airlines (UAL) operates nearly 1,900 flights/day, on a route network that spans the globe.

In December 2002, Denver - Jackson Hole.

A320-232 (1865, N498UA) delivery. 727-222 (21909), & 737-291 (22741) parted out.

November 2002: According to a Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) filing, new United Airlines (UAL) (CEO), Glenn Tilton received a $3 Million signing bonus, and an annual salary of $950,000. His 5-year contract included potential target bonuses, equal to 3x his salary, 100,000 shares of restricted (UAL) stock, and $4.5 Million in a fully funded pension trust.

Pete McDonald, Executive VP Operations. Clay Satterlee, Director Engineering Regulatory Compliance, replaced Jim Takeuchi, who retired.

United Airlines (UAL) stock surged +30% after agreement with German lender, Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau, to restructure $500 Million in debt repayments, including $300 Million which was due. This move is expected to stave off the threat of bankruptcy.

In February 2003, Denver to Honolulu.

1st 9 months Top World Airlines Traffic (RPK) Billion:
1 AAL 148.39; 2 UAL 132.89; 3 DAL 123.75; 4 NWA 88.26; 5 BAB 76.23; 6 AFA 74.00; 7 CAL 73.12; 8 DLH 67.07; 9 SIA 55.60; 10 SWA 55.20; 11 JAL 54.81; 12 ACN 54.41; 13 USA 50.38; 14 KLM 48.87; 15 QAN 43.76; 16 CAT 36.14; 17 IBE 30.78; 18 KAL 28.06; 19 AMW 23.82; 20 TII 19.76; 21 ALI 19.68; 22 SAS 18.82; 23 CHI 18.23; 24 VAR 17.47; 25 GUN 17.21.

Will cut present workforce of 83,000, by furloughing -9,000 more jobs, to 74,000, by 2004. Will trim flights by -6% from 1,800/day, retire -49 airplanes, and delay scheduled deliveries of at least 25 more airplanes through 2005.

Despite United Airlines (UAL) stating it hoped to save $14.1 Billion through its financial recovery program over next 5.5 years, including $6.4 Billion from labor cost reductions, and $7.7 Billion from non-labor cost reductions/revenue enhancements, with Pilots (FC) agreeing to take a -18% pay cut, as well as other (UAL) employee work groups represented by the (IAM) including public contact, ramp, food service, security, voting to approve the plan, certain members of the (IAM)- the mechanics (MT) group - have rejected the agreement. This sent (UAL) stock tumbling and bankruptcy appears imminent.

727-222 (21398) parted out. 727-222 (21909), sold to Compass Aviation. 737-291 (871-22741) sold to East African Airways (EFZ).

December 2002: Air Transport Stabilization Board denied (UAL)'s $1.8 Billion loan guarantee, saying (UAL)'s business plan was "not financially sound, and had not shown how it could pay the money back."
United Airlines (UAL) is losing $22 Million a day and is running out of cash.

Without the loan guarantee, (UAL) files for Chapter 11, the largest USA airline bankruptcy ever. This action allows (UAL) to drastically reduce its costs by renegotiating labor contracts and terminating airplane-financing agreements, such as the $1.3 Billion it owes Boeing (TBC). (UAL) leases about 40% of its airplanes, leases it says it intends to renegotiate as it cuts capacity. Airplane values have fallen -15 to -40% since 09/11/01 attacks.

Has to pay Denver International Airport (DIA) $4.7 Million to clear part of its pre-bankruptcy debt. Also, owes (DIA) a further $4.8 Million in landing fees.

A founding member of the Star Alliance, (UAL) flies to 117 destinations in 26 countries, & 2 USA Trust Territories. Offers approximately 1,800 daily departures and flies >175,000 passengers/day.

2001 = 75.4 Million passengers. 1st 6 months = 32.8 Million passengers, and accounted for 53.1% traffic (RPM)s in San Francisco (SFO); 23.1% Los Angeles (LAX); 64.1% Denver (DEN); 49% Chicago (ORD); & 53.5% Washington Dulles (IAD).

(UAL) currently has 82,700 employees (who own 55% of the company), of which 23,000 are in California (responsible for 1 of every 6 air transportation jobs in the state) and flight departures in the state, account for >25% of its total schedule. At Los Angeles (LAX), occupies 17% of total gate space.

To furlough -352 more pilots (FC) by February 2003. Will reduce the number of company officers from 44 to 36. The remaining officers will take -11% pay cut over the next five and a half years. In January 2003, To furlough -646 mechanics (MT) (including -275 at Indianapolis, -160 at San Francisco (SFO) & Oakland, & -211 Line Maintenance employees) and -30 other employees from its Maintenance division.

Los Angeles (LAX) to Phoenix (Sats). Denver to Montrose. In March 2003, will expand its code share with All Nippon (ANA) to Osaka - Honolulu (UAL) 777).

Plans to revive its low-fare, discount operation to capitalize on the "low-cost-carrier phenomenon."

3 737-291's (22089; 22383; 22384) and 1 DC-10-30 (47837) parted out.

January 2003: Will lay off 1,700 white-collar and ticketing employees (-2%), and shut down all of its US ticket offices as part of efforts to slash costs in bankruptcy. The decision to close down its remaining 32 city ticket offices was based on research showing that more customers are buying tickets online or calling United Airlines (UAL)'s reservation phone number. The bulk of the latest layoffs include nearly 1,500 management and salaried nonunion jobs. "These changes are part of the process of creating a new business that is competitive, customer-focused, and sustainable."

2002 = 109.39 Billion RPM (-6.2%); -9.8% ASM; 73.6% LF (+2.8).

Top Ten New Slogans For United Airlines on Dave Letterman Show:
10. "If You Liked 'Ocean's 11,' You'll Love Chapter 11!"
9. "Built On Tradition, Held Together With Duct Tape."
8. "Fly The Increasingly Disgruntled Skies."
7. "No Executive Fraud, Just Good Old-Fashioned Mismanagement."
6. "You Really Haven't Flown Until Your Plane Is Piloted By A Drunk Man About To Lose His Job."
5. "Don't Let The Billion Dollar Debt Scare You. We'll Win It Back In Vegas."
4. "Even Though We're Broke, We Don't Water Down Our Drinks Like The
Bastards At American (AAL)."
3. "At Least We Don't Make You Buy Two Seats If You're Fat."
2. "If You People Hadn't Kept Asking For Extra Peanuts, We Wouldn't Be In This Mess."
1. "Maybe We Shouldn't Have Been So Friendly."

Pilots' union, 8,500 pilots (FC), agree to a -29% interim pay reduction while (UAL) restructures its bankruptcy. 2 small unions representing dispatchers and meteorologists also ratified a -13% cut. The 18,000 strong, cabin attendants (CA) ratified a -9% pay cut. The (IAM) has been ordered to accept a temporary -13% wage cut by a federal bankruptcy judge.

Will furlough another -705 cabin attendants (CA) due to capacity cuts.

Started code sharing with US Airways (USA), providing access to 14 cities in the eastern and southeastern USA.

In March 2003, Miami - Sao Paulo - Rio de Janeiro. In April 2003, Denver - Charlotte (737, 2/day nonstop). In June 2003, San Francisco (SFO) - Seoul.

(UAL) Cargo, Northwest Airlines (NWA) Cargo, Air Canada (ACN) Cargo, and Unisys Corporation, announced that Cargo Portal Services (CPS), an internet-based portal, that allows users to book and manage shipments, is "live." (CPS) is available to freight forwarders, free of charge.

737-291 (575-21751) sold to Ram Air Sales. 747-238B (310-21352) returned to Pegasus (PSS), leased to Ariana Afghan (AFG). 5 747-422's (24322; 26474; 26881; 26899; 26901) & 767-222 (15-21871, N610UA), WFU at Victorville.

February 2003: 4th Q 2002 = -$1.47 Billion (-$308 Million). 2002 = -$3.21 Billion (-$2.14 Billion). This wasn't the industry's worst loss - American Airlines (AAL)'s parent, AMR Corp lost -$3.51 Billion!

Continues plans for low-fare subsidiary, to be staffed by current employees. Says it will ultimately shift about 30% of its domestic capacity to this new unit. Names Sean Donohue, VP Low Cost Carrier (LCC), to lead its development. Intends to use about 130 of its Airbus (EDS) airplanes for its proposed low-cost carrier (LCC), code-named "Starfish."

Tucson - Los Angeles (weekends). In March 2003, Honolulu - Osaka. Orange County - Los Angeles (1 way). Washington (IAD) - Sao Paulo - Rio de Janeiro.

5-year contract with Lockheed Martin for its Flight and Weather Information and Decision Support and System Performance Evaluation and Analysis Reporting products. Will use FltWinds system to evaluate weather data that can affect flight decisions, while the (SPEAR) system, maintains a status of airplanes, and helps managers to schedule flights and flight crews, more efficiently.

Thai Airways International (TII) confirms it will buy 9 747-422's from United Airlines (UAL) for $330 Million.

March 2003: Ron Utecht, Senior VP Maintenance & Engineering announces his plan to retire after his 60th birthday this month, concluding a 39 year career with (UAL). Ron has agreed to stay in his position until a replacement has been selected.

Is considering the sale of its Pacific operation, and may close its hubs at Washington (Dulles), Denver, or Los Angeles, as part of its reorganization.

Citing "lighter than planned passenger loads," United Airlines (UAL) will furlough -900 more flight attendants (CA) at end of month. Will lay off -66 pilots (FC) in April 2003, & -30 (FC) in May 2003 for total -1,402 (FC) on furlough, with -462 (FC) in 2003 so far. Since January 2003, total company -5,800 to approximately 72,700, including -1,500 salaried and management jobs.

(UAL)'s employee ownership fell below 20%, ending employee majority ownership and triggering important corporate governance changes. The mechanics and cleaners are being asked to vote on whether to drop the present Machinists (IAM) union and be represented by a rival union.

Despite bottom-line losses totaling -$382.1 Million in January 2003, & -$367 Million in February 2003, (UAL) Corp still meet the 1st critical requirement of its debtor-in-possession financing, by a "wide margin." It ended February 2003, with a cash balance of around $1.5 Billion, which was "better than previous company forecasts, owing to lower than expected airplane payments."

With war with Iraq, and "significant" dropoff in advance bookings, may have to cut capacity by up to -10% and cut pay by a further -9%, unless it receives wartime relief within the next 30 days. Liquidation is a "distinct possibility." Cuts its schedule temporarily by -8% and places -3,400 unionized employees on unpaid leave. In April 2003, will drop 104 domestic flights and 20 international flights, and ground 7 737's, 10 757's, and 4 777's. It will temporarily suspend heavy maintenance activities at its Maintenance Operations Center (MOC) 2, Indianapolis base, including -1,100 mechanics (MT) on "authorized no pay" (ANP) status. -2,300 flight attendants (CA) will also be put on (ANP).

A (UAL) 777-200 had a 177-minute, single engine diversion, landing at Kona, Hawaii, with 255 passengers, who had intended flying Auckland - Los Angeles, which was the longest in the 20-year history of the Extended-range Twin Operations (ETOPS) program. This prompted the (FAA) to re-assess at least one (ETOPS) requirement. When planning an (ETOPS) diversion, the cockpit crew projects the airplane operating in still air at one-engine speed. The (FAA)'s Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) several months ago recommended the (FAA) reconsider that requirement to mirror the actual operating conditions. The (UAL) crew after planning the diversion, encountered headwinds that extended the flight by several minutes before the airplane was landed at Kona. In its recommendations, the (ARAC) said planning for real-world conditions should apply at least to the 207-minutes (ETOPS) diversion time.

38 727-200's sold to LGH Aviation Management Services (34 are operational). 727-200 (19054) sold to Ram Air Sales for part out at Las Vegas. 727-200 (21405) parted out at Victorville. Has now delivered all 24 727-222's sold to Pan Am (CVL); 9 were parted out. 3 737-200's (22089; 22383; 22384) sold to Spectrum Aerospace, Lebanon, who sold them to Rym Airlines, Oran, Algeria for startup. Aerosky Texas, is performing pre-delivery "C" checks. 747-422 (24384) & 2 767-222;s (21863; 21872), withdrawn from use (WFU) at Victorville.

April 2003: Amid a hailstorm of Congressional criticism and negative publicity, Glenn Tilton, President & (CEO), agreed to take a -14% pay cut.

With impact on bookings due to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) worldwide virus alert and the Iraq war, will cut capacity a further -3.7% in May 2003 for total -12%, and reduce its workforce systemwide through additional voluntary and involuntary Authorized No Pay (ANP) cuts. Will result in -105 domestic flights and -24 international flights.

World Top 20 Airlines 1st Q Traffic (Billion) (RPK):
1 (AAL) 44.67; 2 (UAL) 39.66; 3 (DAL) 36.82; 4 (NWA) 26.65; 5 (BAB) 23.31; 6 (AFA) 23.27; 7 (CAL) 21.35; 8 (DLH) 20.62; 9 (SWA) 17.53; 10 (KLM) 14.04; 11 (USA) 13.28; 12 (SIA) 12.20*; 13 (ACN) 9.65*; 14 (CAT) 8.51*; 15 (AMW) 7.84; 16 (QAN)* 7.18; 17 (KAL)* 6.72; 18 (IBE) 6.17*; 19 (EAD) 5.69*; 20 (AAT) 5.42. * 2 months only.

727-322 (24360) returned to lessor. 727-322 (24362) & 757-222 (26650) stored at Goodyear. 737-200 (JT8D-17) (21981) parted out. 2 737-322's (24378; 24379) stored at Gooodyear. 2 747-422's (24383; 28716), WFU at Victorville. DC-10-30 (47837) parted out.

May 2003: United Airlines (UAL) Corp 1st Q = -$1.34 Billion (industry worst) (-$510 Million): cash burn rate was -$2 Million/day.

Hired John Tague, 40, ex-ATA Airlines (AAT) (CEO), as VP-Customer, with responsibilities for marketing, advertising, sales, reservations, and cargo. Gregory Hall, 42, Senior VP Maintenance & Engineering, ex-VP Heavy Maintenance, American (AAL), replaced Ron Utecht, who retired. Jane Allen, Senior VP Onboard Services, ex-(AAL).

In a further effort to cut costs, (UAL) will close its maintenance facilities at Indianapolis (-1,400 maintenance technicians (MT) and Oakland (-900 (MT). A new contract with its mechanics' union allows it to outsource its heavy maintenance work (estimated to reduce costs by -50%). Will consolidate its (MRO) activities at San Francisco (MOC) because it is an integrated facility that includes capabilities for engine and component maintenance. Also, as a major hub, it will not require any airplanes to be ferried in.

Decides to allow check-in via home computers, in an attempt to cut down on hassels in the terminal.

In June 2003, Denver - Jackson Hole.

747-422 (PW4056) (26906) sold to Dubai Air Wing (DAW) for $55M. 757-222 (469-26660, N560UA) removed from storage.

June 2003: Closes its flight attendant (CA) bases in Las Vegas and Philadelphia.

By end of 2003, United Airlines (UAL) will be the 1st USA commercial carrier to offer in-flight e-mail service on all its domestic flights. Will offer Verizon Airfone JetConnect service, including instant messaging, one-way messaging, updated weather, national, international & business news, sports & stock listings, games, >100 city guides and airline information. Tenzing is the e-mail service provider used by JetConnect. Customers access the service by plugging their laptops into jacks on the Verizon Airfone handsets. Standard JetConnect service costs $5.99/flight, while JetConnect with e-mail is priced at $15.98/flight, + $.10/Kb of data >2Kb.

(UAL) Corp stated it had met the requirements of its debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing for the 4th straight month. Jake Brace, (CFO) states (UAL) may emerge from bankruptcy in 4th Q 2003 or 1st Q 2004, but still faces significant challenges, including arranging exit financing.

2002 = -$3.21 Billion (-$2.15 Billion): 176.12 Billionj RPK (-6.2%); -9.8% ASK; 73.6% LF (+2.8); 68.5 Million PAX (-9.1%); 3.66B FTK (-4.9%); 79,000 EMPLOYEES (-15.1%).

1 (AAL) 195.81; 2 (UAL) 176.15; 3 (DAL) 152.66; 4 (NWA) 115.91; 5 (BAB) 99.71; 6 (AFA) 96.80; 7 (CAL) 95.51; 8 (DLH) Group 88.57; 9 (JAL) 83.54; 10 (QAN) 75.23; 11 (SWA) 73.05; 12 (SIA) 71.12; 13 (ACN) 69.42; 14 (USA) 69.42; 15 (KLM) 58.89; 16 (ANA) 52.97; 17 (CAT) 49.04; 18 (TII) 48.51; 19 (KAL) 41.80; 20 (IBE) 40.47; 21 (MAS) 36.90; 22 (AMW) 31.98; 23 (SAS) Group 30.91; 24 (EAD) 30.17; 25 (ALI) 29.84.

1 (FED) 13.20; 2 (LUB) 7.16; 3 (UPS) 6.62; 4 (KAL) 6.25; 5 (SIA) 6.08; 6 (AFA) 4.87; 7 (CAT) 4.85; 8 (CHI) 4.60; 9 (JAL) 4.39; 10 (CLX) 4.16; 11 (BAB) 4.12; 12 (KLM) 3.99; 13 (EVA) 3.28; 14 (NWA) 3.24; 15 (AAL) 2.93; 16 (UAL) 2.79; 17 (AAR) 2.75; 18 (NCA) 2.21; 19 (POA) 1.97; 20 (EAD) 1.96; 21 (MAS) 1.92; 22 (BEJ) 1.88; 23 (TII) 1.824; 24 (DAL) 1.823; 25 (ACN) 1.58.

6 727-222's (21403; 21415; 21568; 21570; 21573; 21897) sold to LJL Aviation Management. 3 757-222's (26650; 26654; 26657) removed from storage. 757-222 (556-26705) returned to lessor.

July 2003: New low-cost carrier (LCC) referred to as "Starfish" will have 40 airplanes and is expected to serve leisure travel stops such as Las Vegas.

3 737-322's (1776-24538, N369UA; 1778-24539, N370UA; 1782-24637, N372UA) removed from storage. 3 777-222ER's (8-26917, N766UA; 205-28714, N205UA; 254-30214, N208UA), (WFU) and stored at Goodyear (26917; 28714; returned to lessor). A320-232 (857, N450UA) stored at Goodyear.

August 2003: The Thai government OK's purchase by Thai International (TII) of 7 (5-year old) United Airlines (UAL) 747-400's.

September 2003: United Airlines (UAL) intends to launch its still-unnamed "low-cost carrier (LCC) operation" next February, with 4 A320's, 156 PAX economy plus seating, from Denver. Initial cities to be served are Las Vegas, New Orleans, Orlando, Ontario, Phoenix, and Tampa.

(UAL) entered into a multimillion-dollar guaranteed flying contract with Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) on flights between Hawaii and Denver, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Under terms of the deal, (UAL) will set aside blocks of seats for cruise-bound passengers on (NCL)'s 4 Hawaii-based ships. (UAL) will also be the primary carrier, when the cruise line sells an air, cruise and stay package.

October 2003: Chicago - Tucson.

In December, Washington Dulles (IAD) hub to San Juan (daily). Seasonal through April from Chicago to Grand Cayman (Saturdays). In February, Washington (IAD) - Cancun, and to San Jose, Costa Rica (757, 2 class).

(UAL) sells 4 transatlantic slots (2 landing, & 2 takeoff) valued at 12 Million P/$19.2 Million at London Heathrow (LHR) to British Airways (BAB). (BAB) now holds 41% of the slots at (LHR).

November 2003: Signs agreement with Boeing (TBC) subsidiary, Jeppesen, to convert United Airlines (UAL)'s full suite of navigational publications produced by Jeppesen, into electronic format and provide them to (UAL) using Jeppesen's electronic information gateway. Jeppesen said electronic charts will be used initially in ground-based portions of (UAL)'s operations. Ultimately, "the framework is being laid for deployment of electronic navigational charts throughout (UAL)'s operations, including airborne use."

Splits the name "UNITED" in half, and as "UNI" is already taken by an airline in Taiwan, it picks "TED" as its new name for its low-cost carrier (LCC) unit, set to take-off from its hub in Denver (DIA) in February. Will use A320 airplanes, 156 PAX, including 66 seats with extra leg room. Expects to have 45 airplanes in its fleet by end of 2004. Airplanes will be in blue and marigold-orange colors, will offer food for sale (a la carte) and possibly pay-per-view TV programming. Will fly to at least 8 leisure markets, including Las Vegas, Phoenix, & Fort Lauderdale. Destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean are under consideration. Sean Donohue, appointed as VP TED.

In December, Denver - Gunnison (weekends), Denver - Steamboat Springs (Hayden); & Denver - Jackson Hole.

December 2003: Denver - Montrose (weekends). Denver - Mexico City (weekends).

Successfully completes testing of a new landing procedure that has the potential to boost capacity at its San Francisco International airport (SFO) hub by up to +30% during overcast conditions that currently limit (SFO) to single-runway operations. The procedure, known as the Simultaneous Offset Instrument Approach (SOIA) "will significantly reduce travel delays, diversions, and cancellations." During good weather, San Francisco (SFO) can accept up to 60 to 65 airplanes/hour on its 2 runways. However, in low-visibility conditions, it is reduced to one runway, cutting arrival rates in half. (SOIA) restores the 2nd runway. Normally, parallel approach paths are flown at new angles that maintain separation distances and pilots (FC) then fly a visual parallel approach once they are below the cloud deck. No special crew training or additional instrumentatioon is required to take advantage of (SOIA). Its development was led by United Airlines (UAL) with support from the (FAA), the Air Line Pilot's Association, the airport and air traffic controller organizations.

January 2004: 4th Quarter = -$476 Million (-$1.47 Billion). 2003 = -$2.81 Billion (-$3.21 Billion): 167.97 Billion (RPK) (-4.6%); 76.4% LF; 66.1 Million PAX (-3.5%); 2.17 Billion (FTK) (-22.2%).

Sets June 30, 2004, as the date (UAL) expects to emerge from bankruptcy, according to court documents.

The Star (SAL) Alliance (United (UAL) is one of its 15 members) signed a 5-year Information Technology (IT) accord with (BEA) Systems Inc, San Jose, California, an application infrastructure software firm. The contract gives (SAL)'s 15 members "the opportunity to introduce (BEA)'s innovative application platform suite at a cost no single airline would be able to negotiate" said Michael Stagl, (SAL) (CIO). (UAL), Lufthansa (DLH), & Singapore (SIA), as well as the (SAL) alliance itself, have developed ticketing, baggage handling, and loyalty software applications on the (BEA) WebLogic platform in recent years. Under the new agreement, the (BEA) WebLogic Server and (BEA) WebLogic Integration become (SAL)'s preferred application server and integration software.

(UAL) will close its Miami flight attendant (CA) domicile in May, ending its long effort to build a viable base from which to serve Latin America in the face of American Airlines' (AAL) dominant presence there. Approximately 150 Miami-based personnel will be furloughed, including ground service, kitchen, human resources and training staff.

In June, Chicago - Osaka (777, daily nonstop), Chicago - Buenos Aires (767, daily nonstop) and Washington Dulles - Zurich (767, daily nonstop).

Febuary 2004: (TED)'s 1st flight, Denver (DEN) - Fort Lauderdale. By end of March, will have 52 daily flights from (DEN) to Reno, Las Vegas, Phoenix, New Orleans, Tampa, Orlando, Ontario (CA), & Fort Lauderdale. Also, service Las Vegas to Los Angeles & San Francisco, and San Francisco to Phoenix. In April, (TED) to operate from Washington Dulles (IAD). (IAD) - Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Orlando, Tampa. Expects to serve 12% of domestic market by late summer.

Washington Dulles (IAD) - San Jose (Costa Rica) (757, 2 class, daily nonstop). Code share with Asiana (AAR), Seoul - Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Code share with Thai Aiways International (TII), Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City & Hanoi. In May, Chicago - Bermuda (Saturdays). In June, San Francisco (SFO) - Beijing (daily nonstop). Chicago (ORD) - Honolulu (daily nonstop).

Unveils new livery designed to "extend a confident, bold new look." New tagline is "It's time to fly."

March 2004: In June, Denver to Cancun (Saturdays, nonstop).

(TED) reached 82% Load Factor (LF) in its 1st month of flying. By the end of March, will have 52 daily departures. (TED) is expanding service to Chicago O'Hare (ORD), (UAL)'s home market and largest hub. (TED), Ontario (California) - Denver (DEN) (4/day). (DEN) to Las Vegas, Reno, New Orleans, Orlando (4/day), Phoenix (8/day), & Fort Lauderdale. San Francisco (SFO) - Las Vegas. Los Angeles (LAX) - Las Vegas (7/day). Denver (DEN) - Tampa. Orlando - Phoenix. (SFO) - Phoenix. In April, Washington Dulles (IAD) to Las Vegas, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, & Orlando. In May, Chicago (ORD) to Tampa (5/day), Las Vegas (8/day), Orlando (7/day), Phoenix (6/day), and Fort Lauderdale (4/day). In June, Denver - Vail/Eagle (1 of 3 flights/day by 757-200, 2 class, with 2 by Dash 8).

(UAL)'s Maintenance Operations Center (MOC) in San Francisco is starting a small recall of mechanics (MT). There has been a recent increase in 3rd party work to support the military, air cargo carriers, and other airlines.

April 2004: United Services, San Francisco, is a cost-competitive, customer-focused (MRO) provider that delivers total maintenance, repair & overhaul (MRO) solutions to customer carriers around the world: (T: +1 (650) 634-4104). (http://www.unitedsvcs.com).

Extends its code share and frequent-flier partnership with Virgin Blue (VOZ) to cover Adelaide, Perth, Cairns, & Queensland's Gold Coast.

In June, Chicago - Anchorage. Plans San Francisco - Hong Kong - Ho Chi Minh City (daily).

May 2004: Denver - Jackson Hole (daily). In June, San Francisco - Anchorage. In July, Denver - Washington (DCA). In December, plans to boost its service to Mexico, the Caribbean, & Central America: to Cozumel, Cancun, San Jose del Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, & Ixtapa; to Montego Bay, Punta Cana, & St Maarten, including additional service to Grand Cayman; & from Chicago (ORD) to San Jose (Costa Rica).

(TED), Chicago O'Hare (ORD) - Tampa (5/day); - Las Vegas (8/day); - Orlando (7/day); - Phoenix (6/day); & Fort Lauderdale (4/day).

United Cargo 3-year business process outsourcing contract to (ACS) under which (ACS) will provide air cargo document and airwaybill processing.

June 2004: United Airlines (UAL)'s United Services and Korean Air (KAL) reached a reciprocal (MRO) agreement, wherby the two will work cooperatively to identify product lines where they can use their technology and expertise to "serve each other's (MRO) needs." United Services currently provides (MRO) service for (KAL)'s (PW4090) engines and the airline will send +3 additional engines for repair over the next 12 months. During the same period, (UAL) will use (KAL) for some overflow work, previously scheduled for an outside vendor, on its (PW4056)'s.

Chicago (ORD) - Osaka Kansai (777, daily nonstop). (ORD) - Shanghai (Pudong) (daily nonstop). In December, Chicago - Cozumel (3/week); - Punta Cana (3/week); - Grand Cayman, San Jose, St Maarten (Sats). Washington (IAD)- Grand Cayman (Sats). Chicago - Montego Bay (weekends). Denver - Los Cabos, Ixtapa (Sats). San Francisco - Cancun (Sats). Los Angeles - Ixtapa (Sats). In December, (TED), San Francisco - Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta (Sats).

USA and China have signed a landmark air services agreement that will more than double the number of USA airlines that may serve China and will permit a nearly 5-fold increase in weekly flights between the 2 countries over the next 6 years.

The agreement allows for +5 airlines from each country, the USA may name +1 additional all-cargo carrier, while China may name either a passenger or cargo carrier, to start service later in 2004. The other 4 new-entrant airlines may be either passenger or cargo carriers, with 1 new carrier entering the market in each of the years 2005, 2006, 2008, & 2010. (UAL), Northwest (NWA), FedEx (FED), & United Parcel Services (UPS) currently serve China.

The agreement allows +195 weekly flights for each side, +111 by all-cargo carriers, & +84 by passenger airlines, resulting in a total of +249 weekly flights at the end of a 6-year phase-in period. A total of +14 of these flights will be available for new passenger services later this 2004.

Each country's carriers are now allowed to serve any city in the other country. Currently, Chinese carriers are limited to 12 USA cities, and USA passenger carriers may fly to only 5 Chinese cities. The agreement allows unlimited code-sharing between US and Chinese carriers, thus expanding the current agreement which only allows code-sharing only to a limited number of cities.

The agreement also provides that when carriers establish cargo hubs in the other country, they will be afforded a high degree of operating flexibility, and expands charter opportunities beyond those provided by the existing agreement.

Trade between the countries has grown dramatically from $4.8 Billion in 1980 to >$170 Billion in 2003. The USA is China's largest export destination, and China is the USA's fastest-growing market.

Star (SAL) Alliance: Air Canada (ACN); Air New Zealand (ANZ); All Nippon Airways (ANA); Asiana (AAR); Austrian (AUL); Blue 1 (applicant); bmi (BMA); (LOT) Polish Airlines; Lufthansa (DLH); Scandinavian (SAS); Singapore Airlines (SIA); South African Airways (SAA) (applicant); Spanair (SPP); (TAP) Air Portugal (applicant); Thai Airways (TII); United Airlines (UAL); US Airways (USA); & Varig (VAR).

July 2004: Chicago - Shanghai (daily nonstop). Denver - Reagan Washington National Airport (daily nonstop). To introduce daily nonstop services in several markets from Chicago O'Hare (ORD) and Washington Dulles (IAD), including in October, (ORD) - Albuquerque & Tucson (737-500, 2/day); -Palm Springs (daily). Denver - Pittsburgh (737, 2 class, daily). In December, San Francisco - Ho Chi Minh City via Hong Kong (747-400, 2 class, daily).

Agreements with Alaska (ASA), Aloha (ALO), Continental (CAL), Delta (DAL), & Hawaiian (HWI), to offer interline electronic ticketing, which allows passengers to use one e-ticket when traveling on itineraries that include (UAL) and one of the cooperating airlines. It eliminates the need for the passenger to obtain a paper ticket to transfer from one airline to another, an important convenience in the event of irregular operations.

Secures $1 Billion in new bankruptcy financing with loan from 3 lenders split between: JP Morgan, Citigroup, & (GE) Commercial Engines (GEC).

August 2004: In October, will raise the service ante in the hotly competitive nonstop transcon markets while slicing capacity (ASM)'s by > a third. Will introduce a new 3-class product (branded "p.s." for "premium service"), using 757's between New York (JFK) - Los Angeles & - San Francisco (757-200, 6/day). Airplanes will feature lie-flat seats in first class (F) - - 68 inch pitch (60 inch), an upgraded business class (C) - - 54 inch pitch (40 inch), and an all-Economy Plus (Y) - - 34 inch (31 inch) main cabin, with laptop power connections installed throughout. These 757's 110 passenger configuration: 12F, 26C, & 72Y. New service will result in -40% (ASM)s transcon capacity. This brings the transcon level of comfort and distinguished service up to the level usually reserved for international flights.

In October and November, will recall 375 furloughed flight attendants (CA). These are in addition to 400 (CA) previously scheduled to return in October.

In November, to Cancun (Sats) & December (daily). In December, (TED) (TED), Denver to Puerto Vallarta (daily).

September 2004: Applies for operations starting March, San Francisco (SFO) - Guangzhou (Baiyun International), via Tokyo (777, daily, with 747-400 nonstop in 2006). In 11/04, Denver - Cancun (Sats, daily from 12/04). In June, (SFO) to the new Central Japan International Airport (opens February) outside Nagoya (777, daily nonstop).

All 4 USA airlines that fly 777's over the North Pacific ocean: American (AAL), Continental (CAL), Delta (DAL), & United (UAL), plus All Nippon (ANA), Singapore (SIA), & Korean (KAL) are flying 207-minute Extended Twin-engine OperationS (ETOPS). Boeing (TBC) twin-engine airplanes have dominated flights over the North Atlantic ocean and are now expected to dominate the Pacific. With the current trend of 390 Pacific (ETOPS) flights/day and rising, Pacific (ETOPS) flights will soon outnumber those over the Atlantic ocean.

Will recall 40 furloughed pilots (FC) in November (approximately 2,172 pilots (FC) are currently on furlough).

To use Enigma's 3C Platform as a Web-based solution to deliver real-time service and parts information for (UAL)'s entire fleet of airplanes to its 5,400 maintenance technicians (MT).

October 2004: (UAL) plans to redeploy its airplanes to more profitable routes and reduce the size of the mainline fleet. Will reallocate airplanes to expand and strengthen international routes, which will account for over 40% of (UAL)'s global capacity and 50% of mainline revenue when fully implemented. Some domestic routes will be transferred to United Express. It will reduce (UAL)'s mainline fleet to 455 airplanes, -68 fewer than what (UAL) flew last August and a reduction of -112 airplanes or nearly -20% of the fleet since 2002. These changes will result in international (ASM)'s (capacity) declining by -12% for a total system wide (ASM) decline of -3%. At the end of 2003, (UAL) had a mainline fleet of 532 airplanes: 149 737's, 33 747-400's, 96 757's, 47 767's, 55 777's, & 152 A319's/A320's.

Chicago - Buenos Aires (daily nonstop) with connecting service to Montevideo. Chicago - Shanghai (daily nonstop).

Officially launched its new "Premium Service, p.s." on a flight between Los Angeles International (LAX) and New York (JFK). The new product uses reconfigured 757's that feature lie-flat seats in first class (F), an upgraded business class (C), and an all-economy (Y) Plus main cabin, with laptop power connections installed throughout. Once fully implemented, the service will be available on 7 daily flights between Los Angeles (LAX) & New York (JFK), and 6 between (JFK) & San Francisco (SFO).

November 2004: Next month, (UAL) will launch joint e-ticketing with All Nippon Airways (ANA).

December 2004: To cut costs, will furlough -825 employees next month and is seeking to renegotiate contracts with its unions.

Code share with Air New Zealand (ANZ), Hong Kong to Ho Chi Minh City. (TED), Denver, San Francisco - Puerto Vallarta. San Francisco - Los Cabos.

Will permanently cut pay for its salaried employees by -4%, management by -6%, officers -8%, & Executive Council members -11%.

January 2005: 4th Quarter = -$664 Million (-$476 Million). 2004 = -$1.64 Billion (-$2.81 Billion): 114.53 Billion (RPM) traffic (+10.3%); +6.4% (ASM) capacity; 79.2% LF (+2.8).

Kathrytn Mikells, VP & Treasurer, (UAL) Corporation, replaces Jeff Kawalsky, who retired.

5 737-322's (23951; 23954; 24668; 24669; 24671), & 737-522 (25008) WFU stored at Goodyear. 757-222 (26660) WFU.

February 2005: In April, Taipei - Nagoya (777, 3 class, daily). In June, Munich - Chicago (767-300ER, daily). Chicago - Vail (seasonal daily nonstop). Chicago - Beijing (switches from 777 to 747).

Denis Carey, Senior VP Marketing, replaces Martin White.

March 2005: (TED) is planning to expand its fleet by +20% and incease its service from its Denver, Washington Dulles, & Chicago hubs to markets in Florida, Mexico, & the Caribbean in 2005. (TED), which was launched in 2004-02, operates an average of 208 daily flights to 16 destinations. (TED)'s A320's will grow from 47 to 56 by converting 9 mainline airplanes.

Selects AAR Aircraft Services-Indianapolis (ALC) as exclusive provider with 5-year heavy maintenance contract for all (UAL) 737's. AAR (ALC) will operate up to 4 maintenance lines at Indianapolis.

727-222 (21416) scrapped. 737-322 (23950) & 3 737-522's (25383; 25384; 25387) WFU in storege.

April 2005: Will close its Seattle call center in June and eliminate -400 jobs.

Code share with Jet Airways (JPL), on (JPL) flights Mumbai to London and on flights from Mumbai to other cities in India. (JPL) will code share on (UAL) flights from London to the USA.

2 727-222's (21425; 21564) sold to LJH Aviation Management.

May 2005: To meet increasing demand, TED (TED) will launch new services to destinations in the USA, the Caribbean, and Mexico. Will add +9 A320's. In September, San Francisco to Ontario, California (2/day), Denver to Miami (2/day), Washington Dulles to Miami (2/day); & Los Angeles to Phoenix (2/day). In October, Chicago O'Hare (ORD) to San Juan (daily), (ORD) to Miami (2/day). In November, Denver & Washington Dulles (IAD) to Cancun (daily); & (IAD) to San Juan (daily).

2 727-222's (21417; 21418), sold to LJH Aviation Management. 2 737-322's (23953; 23954) returned to lessor, 2 737-322's (24148; 24245), removed from storage, 2 737-522's (25383; 25387), sold to US Bank, & 3 767-322ER's (25285; 25393; 25394) returned to lessor.

June 2005: United Airlines (UAL) and Verizon Airfone received (FAA) certification to install the necessary cabin equipment to enable passengers and crew use of wireless technology devices to send and receive e-mail and surf the Internet onboard domestic commercial airplanes. The usage of 802.11 b/g wireless technology within the cabin does not affect the airplane's operation. Most laptop computers sold today are equpped to the wireless 802.11 b/g standard. The approval currently applies to the cabins of (UAL)'s 757-200's, as that type was used to test the technology. Its plan is to offer high-speed Internet access across its entire fleet. The wireless broadband system will require the addition of an avionics box, a wireless access point and a directional antenna.

The final decision on when (UAL) may offer the service rests with the USA Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The agency's air-to-ground spectrum auction is to be held in the coming months and service rights and range of frequencies will be awarded to one or more providers for passenger access to the Internet. Once a service provider is selected by the (FCC), (UAL) is positioned to act quickly to bring this service to its customers.

Airbus is teaming up with SITA to offer its own system, OnAir.

Introduced an ontime arrival guarantee for business class (C) travelers on all flights between Chicago O'Hare & 7 USA airports: Boston; Dallas/Fort Worth; Minneapolis/St Paul; Newark; New York LaGuardia; Philadelphia; & Reagan Washington National. Under the guarantee, any eligible businees class (C) passenger on the flights who does not arrive at the destination within 30 minutes of the scheduled arrival time for any reason, including weather and traffic delays, will receive a bonus of 500 frequent flier miles.

Chicago O'Hare to Munich (767, 3 class, daily nonstop).

Carried its 3,888,888th passenger from the USA to China. Currently operates daily services to China, flying between San Francisco & Chicago to Beijing & Shanghai.

Airline flight crews and officials of United Airlines (UAL), Air New Zealand (ANZ) & Qantas Airways (QAN) participated in a live test of e-passports that contain computer chips with biographic information at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Sydney Airport in Australia. They presented their new e-passports when arriving in the USA through (LAX) and arriving at Sydney. The e-passports contain the holder's biographic information and a biometric identifier, in this case a digital photograph, embedded in a contactless chip. The USA Department of Homeland Security and Department of State are working on the test in cooperation with the governments of Australia and New Zealand.

3 737-322's (24360; 24379; 24454; sold to Pemco World Air Services. 2 767-322ER's (25287; 25392), returned to lessor.

July 2005: Expects to emerge from Chapter 11 this fall.

Owing to higher-than-expected attrition, is recalling >1,400 cabin attendants (CA) with +600 in 8/05, and +851 in 11/05 from voluntary furlough.

Code share with Air New Zealand (ANZ), Noumea - Auckland - San Francisco - Paris (weekly).

$12 Million/year, 5-year heavy maintenance contract to Korean Air (KAL) for "C" & "D" checks in addition to parts overhaul services for (UAL)'s 27 747-400's to be carried out starting this month at (KAL)'s Gimhae Plant, Busan.

United Airlines (UAL) is the world's second largest airlines operating more than >2,330 daily flights on a route network that spans the globe, serving 139 destinations in 26 countries and two USA territories.

63,000 employees (including 9,400 Flight Crew (FC)).

(IATA) Code: UA - 016. (ICAO) Code: UAL (Callsign - UNITED).

Parent organization/shareholders: Publicly held (majority by employees) through (UAL) 100%.

Owns: Ted (TED) (100%); & United Express (100%).

Alliances: Star Alliance; Aeromar (AOO); Air China (BEJ); Air Japan (AJX); Air Midwest; Air Wisconsin; Aloha Airlines (ALO); BWIA West Indies Airways (TTA); Chautauqua Airlines; Great Lakes Aviation; Mesa Air Group; Republic Airways; SkyWest Airlines; (TAP) Portugal; & Virgin Blue (VOZ).

Main Base: Chicago O'Hare International airport (ORD).

Hubs: Washington Dulles International airport (IAD); San Francisco International airport (SFO); Los Angeles airport (LAX); & Denver International airport (DEN).

Domestic, scheduled destinations: Albany New York; Albuquerque; Anchorage; Atlanta; Austin; Baltimore; Billings; Boise; Boston; Buffalo; Burbank; Burlington Vermont; Charlotte; Chicago; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Colorado Springs; Columbus Ohio; Dallas/Fort Worth; Dayton; Denver; Des Moines; Detroit; Durango; Fort Myers; Grand Rapids; Greensboro/High Point; Gunnison; Harrisburg; Hartford; Honolulu; Houston; Indianapolis; Jackson Wyoming; Kahului; Kansas City; Kauai Island; Kona; Los Angeles; Manchester; Miami; Minneapolis/St Paul; Montrose; Nashville; New Orleans; New York; Oakland; Oklahoma City; Omaha; Orlando; Palm Springs; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Pittsburgh; Portland; Providence; Reno; Richmond; Rochester New York; Sacramento; Salt Lake City; San Antonio; San Diego; San Francisco; San Jose; Santa Ana; Seattle; Spokane; St Louis; Steamboat Springs; Tucson; Tulsa; Vail; Washington; West Palm Beach; & Wichita.

International, scheduled destinations: Amsterdam; Aruba; Bangkok; Beijing; Brussels; Buenos Aires; Calgary; Cancun; Copenhagen; Cozumel; Frankfurt; Guatemala City; Ho Chi Minh City; Hong Kong; Ixtapa/zihuatanejo; London; Melbourne; Mexico City; Montego Bay; Montevideo; Munich; Osaka; Paris; Punta Cana; Rio de Janeiro; San Jose; San Jose Cabo; San Juan; San Salvador; Sao Paulo; Seoul; Shanghai; St Maarten; St Thomas Island; Sydney; Taipei; Tokyo; Toronto; Vancouver; & Zurich.

Garth Peterson, Managing Director, Sales & Marketing, United Services, succeeds Gene House, who retired.

727-222's (21414; 21423) sold to LJH Aviation Management Services.
4 737-322's (23955; 23956; 24455; 24532), returned to lessor, leased to GOL (GOT). 737-322 (24662) returned to (TCI), leased to ATA (AAT). 737-322 (24672), returned, leased to Futura International (FUA). 2 737-522's (25255; 25382), parted out to Aeroturbine (AUB). 737-522 (26739), returned,leased to CanJet (CNJ). 2 767-222's (21871; 21872) sold to Transatlantic Aviation.

August 2005: Star Alliance partner (TAP) Portugal, transAtlantic flight code share including USA - Portugal, through Newark, London Heathrow, Frankfurt, Munich, Amsterdam, Brussels, & Zurich with access to Portugese cities: Lisbon, Faro, Porto, & Madeira, and in Africa: Sal, Dakar, & Maputo.

Now states United Airlines (UAL) is unlikely to exit bankruptcy until 2006.

61,000 employees (-3.2%).

(UAL) United Services, Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) division formed its first-of-a-kind strategic network with 4 fixed-base operators: Exective Air; JET Aircraft Maintenance; Jett Care; & Pegasus Aircraft Maintenance to expand its line maintenance capability from 31 airports currently, to >50 worldwide.

US airlines cancelled dozens of flights across the Gulf Coast region as Hurricane Katrina came ashore. Continental (CAL) said it had cancelled 111 flights at airports in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana. A spokesperson for American Airlines (AAL) said (AAL) had cancelled 36 flights. US Airways (USA) cancelled 40 flights over Sunday and Monday, a spokesperson said, while United Airlines (UAL) dropped 63. AirTran (CQT) cancelled 24 flights to New Orleans, Gulfport/Biloxi and Pensacola and all flights to New Orleans and Gulfport/Biloxi for Tuesday, a total of 18. Delta (DAL) suspended most or all service to nine cities in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.

2 727-222's (21399; 21412) & 1 737-2A1 (21598) sold to LJH Aviation Management Services. 2 737-322's (21598; 24664), returned to lessor, leased to ATA Airlines (AAT).

September 2005: United Airlines (UAL) was awarded a five-year contract covering all of its 777 heavy airframe maintenance to (AMECO) (BEJ) Beijing, the 60/40 joint venture between Air China (BEJ) and Lufthansa (DLH). More than >50 heavy maintenance visits are planned for the first three years, with as many as 80 over the contractual period. Work begins next month with five airplanes nose-to-tail, (AMECO) said. (UAL)'s 777 fleet numbers 53 airplanes of which 52 are in service.

As part of the transaction, (AMECO) will create an Information Technology (IT) interface with (UAL) for "e-documents, human resources (HR) data, invoicing processes and other real-time data services."

Amadeus was selected yesterday to provide the Common Information Technology (IT) Platform for passenger service systems for the Star Alliance (SAL). The multiyear selection process was managed and decided by Lufthansa (DLH) and United Airlines (UAL), the carriers that will be the first (SAL) members to migrate to Amadeus's next-generation Altea platform, which also has been chosen by a number of non-(SAL) airlines.

"When we say common platform, it actually is common to all the [Altea customer airlines] . . . but when we say (SAL) Common (IT) Platform, there will be a set of functionality and business rules and implementation that will be Star-oriented," Amadeus Airline Business Group VP, Peter von Moltke explained.

Altea will be provided in a "fully outsourced and hosted environment," he added. "That is one of the major advantages to it." (DLH) will begin its transition in the second half of 2006 and expects to complete the migration by the end of 2007. (UAL) is finalizing its own timeline. Other (SAL) members will not be required to adopt Altea, but von Moltke described the business case as compelling and noted that "a significant majority of Star airlines are looking at the platform now that the decision has been made."

According to a joint statement from (SAL) and Amadeus, savings will come from a variety of areas encompassing "initial development costs, running costs and costs for future enhancements. The automation of business processes will also lead to further cost savings. Additionally, the platform will enable the carriers to improve speed to market for the introduction of new products or functionalities."

Von Moltke noted that significant savings will arise merely from replacing a legacy mainframe environment with a modern system. Keeping the older systems running smoothly and current with new industry mandates or requirements "is a fairly significant task sometimes employing hundreds," he observed.

Commenting on the lengthy selection process, which took several years, he said, "In hindsight, the process probably took as long as it should have taken. . . It was a very complicated process, a complex commercial framework. It doesn't only encompass (DLH) and (UAL), it also talks about any future airlines that will join the (SAL) Common Platform and alliance." He described the pending changeover as "probably the largest airline [IT] migration in history."

United Airlines (UAL) and South African Airways (SAA) will begin code sharing this fall. Starting November1, (SAA) will place its code on (UAL) domestic flights from Washington Dulles to San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Subject to regulatory approval, the (UAL) code will appear on (SAA)'s Washington Dulles - Johannesburg service and its service within Africa and between South Africa and Europe. (SAA) will become a fully integrated Star Alliance member in early 2006.

The Italian government's refusal to allow American Airlines (AAL) and United Airlines (UAL) to add their codes to flights operated by their respective European Union (EU) partner airlines between Milan Linate and European gateway cities is drawing the ire of the two carriers, as seen in a letter to European Commission Director for Transport Daniel Calleja.

The Star Alliance (SAL) chose UK-based Zero Octa as the preferred vendor for revenue recovery and protection services. Ten member carriers - - Air Canada (ACN), Air New Zealand (ANZ), Asiana Airlines (AAR), bmi (BMA), (LOT) Polish Airlines, Singapore Airlines (SIA), Spanair (SPP), United Airlines (UAL), US Airways (USA) and Varig (VAR) - - will be using Zero Octa.

October 2005: The USA (FAA) gave the green light to the City of Chicago's massive O'Hare Airport (ORD) Modernization Program and Airport Layout Plan. The $7.5 billion project calls for realignment of the airport's runways to eliminate most intersecting runways. Currently, six of (ORD)'s seven runways cross another runway. In its Record of Decision, the (FAA) said the plan "is the best alternative to improve safety, increase capacity and reduce delays with the least environmental impact."

By 2018, (ORD) will be capable of handling an additional +300,000 operations annually, bringing its total flight capacity to 1.2 million flights a year.

All Nippon Airways (ANA) will move into the new South Wing of Narita Airport Terminal 1 in June 2006, along with fellow Star Alliance (SAL) members Air Canada (ACN), Asiana Airlines (AAR), Austrian Airlines (AUL), Lufthansa (DLH), Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), Singapore Airlines (SIA), Thai International (TII), United Airlines (UAL), and Varig (VAR).

(UAL) parent, the (UAL) Corporation will exit bankruptcy via a $3 billion, six-year, all-debt financing package, the company said.
"We are very pleased to have arranged financing on attractive terms from two outstanding global financial institutions," said Executive VP and CFO Jake Brace.

Swiss International Air Lines (CSR) and United Airlines (UAL) will start code share operations and frequent-flier agreement beginning November 1 from Zurich to Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington and domestically between Zurich and Geneva. Further cooperation routes will be provided from Kenya, Italy, Israel, France and southern Germany via Zurich. United (UAL)'s code will appear on Swiss (CSR)'s service between Zurich and Los Angeles, Zurich and Chicago O'Hare, and connecting beyond Zurich to Dubai and Muscat. Swiss (CSR)'s code will appear on United (UAL)'s Washington Dulles - Zurich service as well as between Los Angeles and Honolulu, with more routes to be announced pending regulatory approval.

(UAL) intends to recall approximately 300 pilots (FC) next year to meet an expected increase in flying. This is about 16% of the pilot (FC) population currently on furlough, or 5% of the airline's total pilot (FC) population. As of October 7, (UAL) had recalled 234 pilots in 2005 out of 2,172 on furlough.

Pratt & Whitney (P&W) will manage all parts inventory and logistics including new spare parts, used serviceable material and part repair under an exclusive contract with (UAL) covering 217 (PW4000) engines powering (UAL)'s 747s, 767s and 777s. The 10-year deal is the largest Materials Management Program agreement in (P&W) history and includes a renewal option, the company said. (P&W) said it will establish a material and logistics hub at San Francisco International Airport that is expected to be fully functional by year end. It also will manage the on-wing performance of the (PW4000) fleet using its Web-based Advanced Diagnostics and Engine Maintenance System.

November 2005: United (UAL) CFO Jake Brace said, "Our restructuring work has been effective and has equipped the company to manage through challenges the industry represents. We move steadily toward a February exit from bankruptcy."

(UAL) Corporation, parent of United Airlines (UAL), announced the appointment of William R Norman as senior VP-United Services, the company's maintenance and engineering division.

United Airlines (UAL) will hire new flight attendants (CA) for the first time since 2001. (UAL) began accepting applications for 2,000 positions to be based in Chicago and Washington and will begin training in January. The openings are a result of a decision not to return by approximately half of the 5,500 voluntarily furloughed flight attendants (CA). All of those who chose to return were back as of October 31. "We have essentially completed our restructuring and we are in a much better position to compete," Executive VP & COO, Pete McDonald said in a statement. New hires will earn approximately $17,000 in base pay, which could increase to $24,000 with overtime.

(UAL) received more than >7,500 applications to fill 2,000 flight attendant (CA) positions on the first day its recruitment website went live November 13, more than seven times the expected number, according to Senior VP Onboard Service, Jane Allen. (UAL) said it already has identified more than >2,600 people who meet its criteria. (UAL) announced last week its intent to hire attendants for the first time since 2001. This marks the first time it has used online recruiting tools.

(UAL) will close its Denver reservations office, eliminating -235 jobs, according to a Denver councilman Michael Hancock. (UAL) will offer severance packages and transfer opportunities to displaced employees.

Pelesys Learning Systems, a supplier of Web-based computer training solutions, was selected by (UAL) to produce and deliver the CBT portion of its Eclipse 500 training program.

747-422 (25379), sold to Corsair (COR). 767-322ER (25287, N650UA), returned to lessor.

December 2005: Austrian Airlines (AUL) introduced the United Airlines (UAL) Corporate Solutions system in North America for tracking and managing corporate sales and contract information and communication with customers. New Mexico-based Prism Group provides the technology for the system. Frontier Airlines (FRO) is deploying a similar system also using Prism technology.

United Airlines (UAL) Chairman & CEO, Glenn Tilton said (UAL) "disappointed" its customers "by not being prepared, as we should have been, for the extraordinary volume of passengers." The admission, contained in a taped message to employees, referred to a situation that developed at Chicago O'Hare on December 17, when thousands of United (UAL) customers were inconvenienced by long check-in lines and waits of up to 4 hourS or more. The terminal became so crowded that some passengers were forced to stand in lines that snaked outside, where they were exposed to subfreezing temperatures. The City of Chicago sent four buses to the airport to provide shelter, the "Associated Press" (AP) reported. "We will identify and we will resolve the cause of that problem as we will with all other issues that impact our performance and our consistency in execution," Tilton said. According to (AP), United (UAL) attributed the breakdown to a combination of factors including inadequate airport staffing levels given the holiday travel rush as well as the fact that the carrier had cancelled several flights on December 16 owing to bad weather in destination cities, stranding several hundred customers who returned on Saturday hoping to get out of Chicago.

The USA Department of Transportation approved $337 million in new federal funding last week for Chicago O'Hare (ORD)'s planned expansion. "O'Hare must expand to keep pace with the growing demand for air travel," Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said. "If it doesn't, our entire national aviation system will suffer." Most of the money will be paid out in $20 million annual installments for the next 15 years. A separate $37.2 million payment will be made to the City of Chicago over the next five years. The grants will cover about 10% of the first stage of the project, which will add two new runways and extend another and eventually allow (ORD) to handle an additional 482 daily flights. A new concourse, taxiways and navigational aids also are planned. The project cleared a significant hurdle last week when a USA District Court judge dismissed a lawsuit seeking to block O'Hare's purchase of local property.

United Airlines (UAL) and its United Services maintenance division signed a three-year, $180 million deal with Pratt & Whitney (P&W) for Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) on more than 200 F117 engines powering US Air Force C-17s. Work will take place at United (UAL)'s facilities in San Francisco and Charleston.

(UAL)'s bid to buy an unspecified portion of FLYi, parent company of bankrupt Independence Air (BLR). The bid was filed under seal in USA Bankruptcy Court, according to media reports. FLYi still is seeking damages from its former Washington Dulles partner but does not have precedence over other unsecured creditors. It will put its assets up for auction on January 3 unless an investor is located. Mesa Air Group also is reported to be a bidder.

January 2006: Full year 2005: Passenger traffic = 183.26 Billion (RPK) (4th highest in world).

United Airlines (UAL) and South African Airways (SAA), a future Star Alliance (SAL) member, announced a code share and booking agreement covering (SAA) flights from Washington Dulles to Johannesburg. (UAL) customers also will be able to connect from Johannesburg to other South African markets or onto (SAA) flights from London, Frankfurt and Paris to South Africa. (SAA) customers will be able to connect and book United (UAL) flights from Washington Dulles to Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle.

(UAL) Corporation, parent of United Airlines (UAL), said its reorganization plan was accepted by all classes of creditors in voting tabulated and submitted last week to the USA Bankruptcy Court.

United Airlines (UAL)'s budget for 2006 includes capital spending of $400 million that will be invested in new resources including more airport check-in kiosks, refurbishing airplane interiors, upgrading computer systems and new ground equipment. The information was contained in (UAL) Chairman and CEO Glenn Tilton's weekly telephone message to employees.

Analysts say United Airlines (UAL)'s parent, (UAL) Corporation, is perhaps just weeks from ending a three-year stay in bankruptcy and should emerge strong. But they also warn the hurdles are far from over for the carrier, including high fuel costs and a high debt load.

(UAL) parent, the (UAL) Corporation remains on course to leave bankruptcy in early February after the company announced the launch of its oversubscribed exit financing loan for up to $3 billion. The six-year loan consists of a $300 million revolving credit facility and an up-to-$2.7 billion term loan, both priced at LIBOR plus 450 basis points. It is secured by "substantially all available assets."

The amount of the term loan is based on 110 airplanes being included in the collateral package, according to Standard & Poor's, which gave a B+ rating to the facility. However, 14 of the airplanes currently are securing an EETC and if United (UAL) is unable to provide them as collateral then the term loan will be reduced to $2.35 billion. The financing also is secured by international route rights and licenses as well as airport slots and gates. JPMorgan and Citigroup are leading the financing and GE Capital will act as syndication agent.

S&P estimates United (UAL) will have about $3.1 billion in unrestricted cash when it leaves bankruptcy. This is equivalent to about 21% of the trailing 12 months' revenues, which compares favorably to situations at American (AAL) and Continental (CAL), each of which has cash equivalent to about 16% of the trailing 12 months' revenues.

S&P analyst Philip Baggaley noted that during the bankruptcy process, (UAL) reduced its exposure to the USA domestic market from about two-thirds of flying to slightly over half, narrowed "somewhat" its cost disadvantage to low-cost carriers and terminated its defined pension plans, thereby relieving it of a $7 billion deficit and reducing its total debt by about one-quarter.

United's (UAL) labor cost per (ASM) in 2006 is forecast to be about -42% lower than in 2002, Baggaley estimated, but "because of the sharp increase in fuel prices since late 2004 and the more limited opportunities to lower other expenses in bankruptcy, the decrease in total operating cost per ASM between 2002 and 2006 is expected to be much lower - - about 8%."

(UAL) will keep mainline capacity flat at 140.9 billion (ASM)s in each of the five years 2006 - 2010 inclusive. (RPM)s also are expected to be flat. (UAL) sees scheduled passenger (RASM) climbing from 9.32 cents per (ASM) to 10.26 cents over the forecast period. It provided the guidance in a filing with the USA Securities and Exchange Commission. It also sees nonfuel operating (CASM) for the mainline rising from 7.47 cents in 2005 to 8.29 cents in 2010.

According to the filing, 2005 will be United (UAL)'s last unprofitable year in this decade. For 2006, it expects to post an operating profit of $915 million on sales of $17.78 billion. Owing to adoption of fresh-start accounting upon exit from bankruptcy, it will show a special noncash gain of more than $11 billion, pushing the net figure to $11.6 billion. For 2007 it foresees revenues rising +3.4% to $18.4 billion while operating profit jumps +49% to $1.4 billion.

In the same document, (UAL) projected a -$311 million operating loss in 2005 on sales of $17.1 billion. Net loss was estimated at -$5.3 billion owing to bankruptcy-related items.

(UAL) Corporation's announcement of a -$16.9 billion fourth-quarter loss and a full-year loss of -$21.18 billion overshadowed significant operational improvements at United Airlines (UAL) as it approaches its exit from bankruptcy next month. And executives are confident the carrier is on the right course, as the staggering on-paper loss will be wiped out upon emergence as unsecured claims are settled "for a minor fraction of the amount of the claims recorded," leaving it expecting a "substantial gain" in the first quarter of 2006.

The -$16.9 billion loss compared to a -$741 million loss in the year-ago quarter, but the former figure includes a noncash reorganization charge of $16.6 billion compared with $222 million in the 2004 period. United (UAL) said the "best indicator" of its post-reorganization performance is the -43.3% reduction in its loss before reorganization items and special charges to -$297 million from -$524 million. Operating loss narrowed -68.1% to -$182 million from -$570 million on a +10% rise in revenue to $4.39 billion and a tiny +0.2% climb in expenses to $4.57 billion.

Fourth-quarter passenger traffic was flat (RPM) on a -3.5% drop in capacity (ASM), pushing load factor up +2.9 points to 80.1% LF. United (UAL) said it is benefiting from the early decision to shift capacity to more profitable international routes and from competitors' capacity cuts on domestic and Asian routes. It expects a +1% capacity increase in the current quarter. Operating (RASM) grew +10.6% to 10.51 cents and operating (CASM) climbed just +3.8% to 11.13 cents, or fell -7.2% to 7.45 cents excluding fuel and special items.

The company's full-year performance included a -$219 million operating loss, a -74.4% narrowing from an -$854 million loss in 2004. Revenues rose +6% to $17.38 billion, expenses climbed +2% to $17.6 billion and loss before reorganization items and special charges improved +48.1% to $579 million.

(UAL) will leave bankruptcy with $3 billion in all-debt exit financing, having achieved cost reductions expected to result in -$7 billion in annual savings by 2010.

American Airlines (AAL) and (UAL) are objecting to British Airport Authority (BAA)'s handling of the ongoing fuel shortage situation at London Heathrow caused by the Buncefield oil depot fire last month. The carriers state that (BAA)'s rationing policy is "blatantly discriminatory" because "so-called 'base' carriers at Heathrow, including British Airways (BAB) and Virgin Atlantic (VAA)," are provided with 82% of their fuel requirements for long-haul services, while "so-called 'visiting' carriers," including American (AAL) and United (UAL), receive only 70% of their requirements. As a result, (AAL) and (UAL) have to tanker fuel, resulting in additional expenses of approximately $20,000 per day for American (AAL) and $15,000 per day for United (UAL). Each gallon of fuel tankered across the Atlantic requires about one-third gallons in extra fuel burn. The policy violates the Bermuda 2 bilateral between the USA and UK, the carriers allege, and they have asked the USA Department of Transportation (DOT) to withhold action on an application by Scotland-based Globespan Airways (dba Flyglobespan) (FGC) to operate between the USA and UK until (BAA) changes its policy.

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) will begin limited testing of e-passports that include biometric information in an embedded chip. The test will apply to passengers who are citizens of Australia or New Zealand, Singapore Airlines (SIA) crewmembers and USA diplomatic officials holding e-passports and traveling to (SFO), Singapore Changi or Sydney. The testing, which will run through April 15, will measure the operational impact of new equipment and software used to verify the embedded information.

(UAL)'s reorganization plan could be approved by the bankruptcy court very soon, putting the carrier on course to meet its timetable to complete Chapter 11 restructuring in early February. The USA Bankruptcy Court Judge Eugene Wedoff declined union requests to challenge the Equity Incentive Plan that will set aside 8% of United (UAL)'s stock for 400 managers. The company previously proposed rewarding the executives with 15% of its stock, but this was criticized by the unsecured creditors, who will receive only 4 - 7 cents on the dollar in stock in settlement of their claims. (UAL) subsequently trimmed the stock payout to 11%, and then down to 8%.

According to "The Wall Street Journal," Wedoff said the USA Bankruptcy code does not expressly call for a review of management compensation.

(UAL) Corporation, parent of United Airlines (UAL), received from the USA Bankruptcy Court in Chicago the expected approval of its reorganization plan, positioning the company to emerge from more than three years of Chapter 11 protection early next month.

United Services Flight Training, a division of United Airlines (UAL), became the first foreign provider to receive (CAAC) certification to train Chinese airline pilots. It said it expects to train pilots from two carriers on 757s and A320s at its Denver Flight Training Center.

EDS and United Airlines (UAL) signed a 10-year Information Technology (IT) services deal providing desktop, helpdesk, managed services and an upgrade of the carrier's computing and communications environments.

Flyi, the parent company of now defunct Independence Air (BLR) said in a court filing that United Airlines (UAL) had submitted the best bid for some of the bankrupt carrier’s assets at Washington Dulles International Airport. The $4.3 million deal struck with Independence (BLR), in which United (UAL) would take control of 35 Dulles gates, is subject to approval by the USA Bankruptcy court. UAL Corporation said this week that it plans to make United (UAL)'s East Coast hub at Dulles a major gateway to Europe, Latin America and South Africa.

United Airlines (UAL) said it aims to shave average turn times by 8 minutes, freeing up "at least 10 airplanes in 2006." It plans to "reduce and reallocate block time" and said it already has achieved "more than a one-minute reduction in taxi-out time."

February 2006: (UAL) Corporation named Cindy Szadokierski VP-Chicago O'Hare operations. Ajay Singh will replace her as VP-corporate real estate.

United Airlines (UAL) formally, and finally, exited bankruptcy after 1,150 days during which it cut annual costs by approximately $7 billion including more than $3 billion in concessions from labor unions, reduced and reconfigured its fleet to fly more profitable international routes and launched its low-cost subsidiary Ted (TED). "Today, we have the business platform we need to compete with the strongest carriers and a clear strategy of offering the right service to the right customer at the right price," Chairman, President and CEO Glenn Tilton said in a statement. "As we move ahead, United (UAL) is committed to continuous improvement in costs, revenue and operations to optimize our resources and sustain competitive margins."

According to media reports, the USA Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation hired Deutsche Bank AG to sell a 10% stake in (UAL).

United Airlines (UAL) flight attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFW) - (CWA), granted their "last concession" and ratified a pension replacement plan with an approval rating of 79%. The new defined contribution plan, effective from Jan 1, 2006, is "significantly better than what United Airlines (UAL) was originally willing to provide as a replacement to our terminated defined benefit pension plan," according to the union. It includes company direct and matching contributions starting at 5% and escalating to 6% of employee earnings within two years. "This vote does not endorse the course of events that led to the termination. Now is the time to move forward and turn our attention to the opportunities and challenges that will surely demand our attention in the future," union leaders said in a letter on the (AFA) website.

(UAL) Corporation, the holding company whose primary subsidiary is United Airlines (UAL), began trading on NASDAQ under the symbol UAUA, one day after formally emerging from bankruptcy.

Glenn Tilton, United (UAL)'s chairman, president and CEO, opened the NASDAQ stock market remotely from United's Terminal One at O'Hare International Airport (ORD) in Chicago, United (UAL)'s largest hub.

"Today marks a new chapter for United (UAL), and it starts from a renewed position of strength," Tilton said. From this position of strength we will continue growing stronger, better and more innovative each day."

Although United Airlines (UAL) cut its annual budget by $7 billion through its three-year Chapter 11 reorganization, its unit costs do not appear to be significantly lower than those of its network competitors with the exception of Northwest Airlines (NWA). Furthermore, on a stage-length-adjusted basis excluding fuel, (UAL) still has among the highest unit costs in the industry. This information is contained in an 8K filed yesterday with the USA Securities and Exchange Commission in which a presentation to the JP Morgan High Yield Conference is included. According to the presentation, United (UAL)'s (CASM) for the four quarters ended Dec 31, 2005, excluding fuel and special items, was 7.46 cents. This compares to 7.48 cents for American Airlines (AAL), 7.42 cents for Continental Airlines (CAL), and 6.37 cents for Southwest Airlines (SWA). Because Northwest (NWA), Delta Air Lines (DAL), and US Airways Group (AMW)/(USA) have yet to report fourth-quarter figures, (UAL) compared their results for the 12 months through last Sept 30. For that period, Northwest (NWA) had the highest (CASM) at 8.29 cents, US Airways (AMW)/(USA) had a (CASM) of 7.45 cents and Delta (DAL)'s was 7.44 cents. However, when (CASM) is adjusted to industry average stage length (1,000 mi), United (UAL) trails all its competitors save Continental (CAL) and is at a 4-cent disadvantage versus Southwest (SWA), 8.89 cents to 4.81 cents. But the same data show that United (UAL) enjoys a stage-length-adjusted unit revenue premium to all of those carriers although it is in the middle of the pack on a non-stage-length-adjusted basis.

United Airlines (UAL) is adding ramp and customer service employees at its Chicago O'Hare (ORD) hub as well as better Information Technology (IT) tools to improve operational performance at the airport, according to Senior VP-Airport Operations Larry DeShon, who spoke to employees in a weekly taped message.

United (UAL) has allocated close to $1 million for radios, scanners, new computers for the Station Operations Control center and other tools. It also is expanding training on the ramp so more guidance people are available to receive and dispatch airplanes. It is reducing the span of control of supervisors from 10 - 11 gates currently to 5 - 6 gates.

On February 2, (ORD) achieved its best mainline ontime performance since September, with 72.8% of flights leaving ontime, according to DeShon. Other metrics also are showing improvement. At the international terminal, United (UAL) reduced missed bags from an average of more than 900 per day to only 88 in the first week of February.

United Airlines (UAL) and TACA International Airlines (TAC) reached a codeshare agreement giving (UAL) passengers access to TACA (TAC)'s entire network and TACA (TAC) customers the opportunity to connect to destinations through "several" (UAL) hubs including Washington Dulles, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Regulatory approvals are expected by the second quarter.

March 2006: United Airlines (UAL) and Shanghai Airlines (SHA) announced a code share agreement covering 11 flights from May 15. (UAL) flights included are Shanghai to Chicago O'Hare and San Francisco (SFO), (SFO) to Los Angeles, Newark and New York (JFK), and O'Hare to Newark and New York LaGuardia. Shanghai Airlines (SHA) will operate codeshare flights from Shanghai Pudong to Shenyang, Chengdu, Dalian and Qingdao.

(UAL) announced a $165 million commitment to upgrade its international first (F) and business class (C) seats through a deal with B/E Aerospace. The arrangement is part of (UAL)'s revamp of its entire international widebody fleet expected to take "roughly two to three years." It will begin introducing the new seats in 2007. "This program supports (UAL)'s strategic business emphasis on international and premium services," B/E Chairman & CEO, Amin Khoury said.

(UAL) is outsourcing around 100 jobs from its Sydney and Melbourne ground handling and reservations units, according to Australian press reports citing (UAL) Australasian General Manager Stephen Pearce.

United Airlines (UAL) expanded the role of CIO, Garry Kelly to include oversight for enterprise-wide strategic sourcing and continuous improvement. He is replacing Rick Poulton, who is leaving the company.

United Airlines (UAL) has an agreement with Airbus (EDS) to defer until 2011 the delivery of 23 A319-111's & 19 A320-200's.

April 2006: United Airlines (UAL) launched San Francisco - Seoul service on April 2. The airline now operates a daily flight using a 777-200.

The tentative pilot (FC) contract at Delta Air Lines (DAL), if ratified by its (ALPA) membership, will drop the carrier from having the third-highest-paid narrow body captains (FC) to the middle of the pack, while Northwest Airlines (NWA), if its pilots (FC) ratify their agreement, will fall even further, from having the second-highest-paid work group to the No 8 position, just above JetBlue (JBL).

Interestingly, the (NWA) and (DAL) pilot (FC) ratification voting periods overlap. This sets up a scenario in which the (NWA) pilots may develop a case of "Delta (DAL) envy" because the terms of the (DAL) (TA) "appear significantly richer than those at Northwest," according to a report from JP Morgan.

The analysis, which cited as sources JP Morgan research, Atlanta-based AIR, Inc, and union contracts, shows that a 12-year Northwest (NWA) A320 captain currently earns $180 per hour, which falls to $137 under the (TA). By comparison, a 12-year Delta (DAL) 737 captain's hourly pay will fall from $173 to $149. Prior to their November 2004 concessionary agreement, Delta (DAL) captains were the highest-paid in the industry, earning $202 per hour.

In addition, Delta (DAL) pilots will receive a $2.1 billion unsecured claim and management has agreed that if the pilot pension plan is rejected - - as appears likely - - they will get cash and securities worth $650 million. Furthermore, the Delta (DAL) contact runs through 2009, versus 2011 for (NWA). Voting on the (NWA) contract began April 6 and ends May 3. Pilots (FC) can recast their votes up until polls close at 10 am on May 3.

The overall salary leader among USA passenger carriers is Southwest Airlines (SWA), whose 12-year 737 captains earn $186 per hour, according to JP Morgan. Among legacy network carriers, the leader is American Airlines (AAL) at $161. At the bottom is US Airways (USA) at $125, followed by United (UAL) at $131 and America West (AMW) at $134. US Airways (USA) and America West (AMW) pilots are in discussions about merging seniority lists.

May 2006: United Airlines (UAL) last month began implementing its "Star Fix" program through which flight attendants (CA) may use the airplane phone to dial directly into maintenance for help resolving customers' issues with cabin equipment, VP Customer Experience, Sean Donahue said in a taped message to employees. "In many cases, [customer's] experience is defined by how well their seats work, if they can use the power jack or if they're able to read on an overnight flight," Donahue said. "With Star Fix, the flight attendants and maintenance technician can work together to identify many cabin issues that will enable a quicker repair or fix."

USA airlines reported an ontime performance rate for March of 76.1%, down -0.8 point from the year-ago month, but up +0.8 point from February, according to the USA Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Hawaiian Airlines (HWI) had the highest March ontime rate at 90% among the 19 airlines reporting, while United Airlines (UAL) was lowest at 69.3%.

June 2006: United Airlines (UAL) is planning to inaugurate nonstop service from Washington's Dulles International Airport to Kuwait at the end of October 2006. (UAL) will operate 3 flights a week, departing Washington on Tuesdays, Thursdays, & Saturdays and Kuwait on Mondays, Thursdays, & Saturdays and operated with a 777-200.

United Airlines (UAL) will lay off at least -1,000 salaried workers by year end, (CEO), Glenn Tilton said. The figure represents approximately 11% of (UAL)'s salaried employees. Overall, the airline is targeting savings of -$400 million in 2007. Tilton said the layoffs will be part of a -$100 million reduction in general and administrative costs that will accompany a -$200 million cut in purchased services and a -$60 million reduction in advertising and marketing expenses.

(UAL) lost its contract to carry mail for the USA Postal Service effective June 30, because of poor ontime performance, according to press reports. It will continue to carry international mail, which constitutes most of its mail business. (UAL) generated nearly $150 million in revenue carrying mail in 2005, according to Form 41 data filed with the USA Department of Transportation.

(UAL) said it will move its headquarters and 350 management employees to downtown Chicago from its current facility near O'Hare (ORD). It also will consolidate several suburban facilities into an Operations Center at its Elk Grove campus.

August 2006: UK officials raised the number of arrests in the airline terror bombing conspiracy to 24 from 21 reported early in the day. Official statements remained sketchy amid reports that the plotters intended to blow up as many as 10 USA commercial airplanes en route from the UK to the USA. Authorities added that all those arrested were UK citizens and said most were of South Asian descent and several of the suspects reportedly traveled to Pakistan recently. Airplanes operated by American Airlines (AAL), (UAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL) are believed to have been targeted.

(UAL) is halfway to its goal of cutting -1,000 salaried and amangement jobs by year's end to help overall spending.

United Airlines (UAL) will close its Washington Dulles (IAD) reservations facility by mid-October, resulting in the loss of -504 jobs. (UAL) issued a release saying its fall schedule at (IAD) included a +13% increase in departures over the year-ago period.

TACA (TAC) and (UAL) expanded their code share agreement to include Lacsa (LAC)-operated flights to Los Angeles, New York (JFK) and Miami, effective August 15. United Airlines (UAL) has applied to operate nonstop service from Washington's Dulles to Beijing. If approved, the airline intends to operate daily 747-400 flights from March 07. USA and Kuwait announced the signing of an "open skies" agreement. Kuwait Airways (KUW) has served the USA since 1978, and (UAL) is planning to launch a thrice-weekly Washington Dulles - Kuwait City (KWI) service later this year.

September 2006: Swissport International renewed its deal with United Airlines (UAL) for an additional five years and now will provide cargo services for the carrier at an eighth USA airport, New York (JFK).

November 2006: United (UAL) inaugurated nonstop service from Washington's Dulles International Airport to Kuwait City and now operates 3 flights a week, departing Washington on Tuesdays, Thursdays, & Saturdays, and Kuwait on Mondays, Thursdays & Saturdays, using a 777-200. (UAL) will increase San Francisco - Frankfurt frequency to twice-daily beginning April 25, using 777-200ERs.

United Airlines (UAL) said it will switch from a 777 to a 747 on its daily Chicago - Shanghai service from March 25, boosting capacity on the route by 658 seats weekly. It also will add a second daily flight on its San Francisco - Frankfurt route from April 25 aboard a 777-200.

INCDT: Pilots Able To Return For Safe Landing!
The pilots of a United Airlines (UAL) 737 had a decidedly grisly emergency situation on takeoff from Denver on Sunday. As the plane powered down the runway . . . a coyote strayed into the jet's path, and then into the airliner's number two engine. Needless to say, that was the final end of a bad day for the coyote . . . but according to the (FAA) preliminary report, no one on board the jet was injured. There were some tense moments, though. The pilots (FC) completed the takeoff, and returned to the airport for a successful emergency landing. Animal strikes are fairly common at many airports . . . especially those surrounded by wilderness areas or unincorporated countryside, like Denver International. The relatively low-hanging engines of the 737 may have also contributed to the incident. We do not envy the mechanics (MT) who now have to return the engine to service. And no word if any roadrunners were involved.

Registration: 921UA. Make/Model: 737.
Date: 11/26/2006. Time: 0048.
Event Type: Incident. Highest Injury: None. Mid Air: No. Missing: No. Damage: Unknown.
LOCATION: City: DENVER. State: CO. Country: USA.

December 2006: Starting April 1st, (UAL) will fly Washington Dulles (IAD) - Rome (FCO), daily, using 777-200s.

(UAL) unveiled the initial details of its new United (UAL) First Suite, the signature element of a $165 million upgrade to its international wide body fleet. It said that the "new suite was designed to be the optimal space to work, sleep or relax while enjoying the latest entertainment and exclusive amenities." It is nearly 3 inches wider than the existing (UAL) First Suite and reclines to multiple angles or serves as a fully flat bed. Each suite features a 15.4 inches widescreen flat panel monitor, with an on-demand digital video and music system that offers multiple selections of movies, TV programs and video games. (UAL) will begin introducing the luxury suites in the 2007 fourth quarter and eventually will upgrade its entire wide body international fleet of 97 767s, 777s and 747s.

January 2007: Citing the "potential to benefit the greatest number of passengers," the USA Department of Transportation (DOT) awarded United Airlines (UAL) the tentative right to operate a new daily service between Washington Dulles and Beijing as early as March 25, thus ending months of lobbying by the four legacy carriers hoping to fly nonstop to the world's fastest-growing large aviation market.

(UAL) said 68,000 of the Washington area's more than >8 million residents traveled to China in 2005. American Airlines (AAL) proposed to operate the service from Dallas/Fort Worth to Beijing, via Chicago O'Hare, Continental Airlines (CAL) from Newark to Shanghai, and Northwest Airlines (NWA) from Detroit to Shanghai.

(UAL) and (NWA) are the only USA carriers flying the 747-400 and (UAL) intends to use it on the route. Airplanes will be configured in three classes and seat 347 passengers. Code share agreements with future Star Alliance partners Air China (BEJ) and Shanghai Airlines (SHA) will make 16 connections available from Beijing, while US Airways (AMW)/(USA) will code share on the transpacific flight.

Starting April 24th, (UAL) resumes daily Denver - Raleigh Durham, using 737-500s. Starting April 25th, San Francisco - Frankfurt increased to 2/day using 777-200s.

February 2007: Lockheed Martin will supply United Airlines (UAL) with flight planning technologies through Flugwerkzuege Aviation Software. (UAL) will use Flugwerkzuege's Flight-planning System and the OPUS Notices to Airmen system.

The USA Department of Transportation finalized last month's tentative decision to award United Airlines (UAL) the right to operate daily Washington Dulles (IAD) - Beijing service. (UAL) recently launched daily service from (IAD) to Tokyo Narita and Kuwait City aboard 777s.

Snow, ice and freezing rain covered much of the USA Midwest and Northeast, forcing many hundreds of flight cancellations and delays. (FAA)'s Flight Delay Information website indicated that flights to Chicago O'Hare (ORD), Cincinnati and Philadelphia were being delayed or cancelled at their point of origin. The Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority said "many flights" were cancelled at both National and Dulles (IAD). United Airlines (UAL), which has hubs at both (ORD) and (IAD), was hit hard, reportedly shutting down all traffic headed into Washington and Baltimore and canceling half its schedule at (ORD). American Airlines (AAL) had cancelled half its (ORD) schedule by mid-morning, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

(UAL) named former Disney executive, Barbara Higgins, VP Customer Experience.

The USA Senate Commerce and Transportation Committee approved legislation to require the screening of all cargo in the bellies of passenger airplanes within three years. The Transportation Security Administration last May approved a rule that did not include such a strict requirement. "The steps proposed in this bill will both improve our existing security system and give the Transportation Security Administration the flexibility to combat new and emerging threats," committee Chairman, Daniel Inouye (Democrat-Hawaii) said in a statement. It was not clear what types of screening will be acceptable. Passenger airlines have strongly opposed 100% screening of belly cargo on grounds that it is impractical and will slow airfreight flow greatly. While yesterday's legislative action was a first step toward possible passage, the proposed bill still is a long way from becoming law, which requires passage by the full Senate and House as well as President Bush's signature.

Continental Airlines (CAL) became the eighth carrier to have its cargo booking system go live on the Unisys-operated Cargo Portal Services (CPS), a Web-based booking tool used by more than 2,500 freight forwarders. "Our customers want choice and convenience. (CPS) fills this need because of its rapid adoption by forwarders, its multicarrier model and its capability to handle virtually all types of cargo products," (CAL) VP Cargo, Jack Boisen said. (CAL) joins American Airlines (AAL), Air Canada (ACN), Air France (AFA)/(KLM), Austrian Airlines (AUL), Northwest Airlines (NWA), Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), and United Airlines (UAL) on (CPS).

Avitas, Senior VP, Adam Pilarski projected that the airline industry's return to profitability in 2006, excluding the results of bankrupt USA carriers, will continue for two to three years barring unforeseen events. He rejected the notion that consolidation is necessary. "Did United (UAL) go into Chapter 11 because it was too small?" he asked. "What we really need is restructuring instead of consolidation . . . I don't see the benefits of a [merger] among equals at all." He dismissed the idea, put forward most recently by US Airways (AMW)/(USA) in its failed takeover attempt of Delta Air Lines (DAL), that joining two large airlines produces synergies leading to cost savings. "At the end of this kind of analysis, we'd only have one airline in the world . . . Restructuring is already happening. There's no need for fewer players and no need for mergers."

March 2007: USA legacy airlines do not plan to ramp up capacity this year despite posting their best full-year financial results since 2000. "I think you'll continue to see very modest capacity growth, particularly domestically," Continental Airlines (CAL) Chairman & CEO, Larry Kellner told the JP Morgan Aviation and Transportation Conference, which was made available via webcast. The 11 largest USA carriers (including America West Airlines (AMW), part of US Airways (USA)Group) reported a -1% decrease in domestic capacity in 2006. American Airlines (AAL), Chairman & CEO, Gerard Arpey agreed that capacity growth again will be minimal, revealing that (AAL) plans a -1% domestic capacity reduction in 2007. "We're filling a greater number of seats than ever before and we're doing it without giving away the store," he said, noting (AAL)'s 80% LF load factor. "We've reached some hard truths about what customers are willing to pay for."
United Airlines (UAL) Executive VP & CFO, Jake Brace told the conference that there has been "what we would describe as a softening in demand" in the first quarter, a trend that argues for continued checks on (ASM) capacity growth. "We don't think it makes sense to add capacity in the domestic market," he said. Added US Airways (AMW)/(USA) President, Scott Kirby: "Right now capacity remains pretty benign and . . . that pretty benign capacity environment I think remains in place for the rest of the year."

United Airlines (UAL) launched its daily, Washington Dulles - Beijing service aboard a 347-seat 747-400. On April 29th, will discontinue Tokyo (NRT) - Hong Kong.

United Airlines (UAL) and United Express will start service from Denver to Dayton (daily from April 24 aboard GoJet Airlines CRJ-700s), Raleigh/Durham (from April 24) and Kalispell, Montana (twice-daily from June 7) aboard SkyWest Airlines 50-seat CRJs.

Although unable to slow the momentum toward unanimous passage of the recently negotiated "open skies" agreement between the (EU) and USA, UK Transport Secretary, Douglas Alexander nevertheless salvaged a couple of concessions during the vote by the (EU)'s Transport, Telecommunications & Energy Council that established open skies and opened London Heathrow (LHR) to competition. Taking care to indicate that the new accord constitutes just the "first stage" of a "comprehensive air services agreement," the Council announced that the pact will take effect on March 30, 2008, rather than October 28 of this year, thus coinciding with the planned opening of (LHR)'s Terminal 5. "The Commission was asked to secure agreement of the USA to confirm their agreement to reflect this," the Council said. In addition, the Council established that if a Stage 2 open skies accord, likely addressing foreign control of USA airlines and cabotage, is not reached by 2010, then any (EU) state "may notify to the Commission which traffic rights in relation to its own territory it wishes to suspend" subject to certain conditions. (EC), VP Transport, Jacques Barrot warned that the (EU) had the leverage required to force further negotiations.

The USA Dept of Transportation (DOT) did not comment on the new provisions but issued a statement from Secretary, Mary Peters, who called the Council's vote "historic" and said, "Tearing down regulatory barriers . . . gives our airline industry more opportunities to compete, innovate and thrive" and the USA "look[s] forward to the positive effects this agreement will bring . . . for years to come." Barrot offered subtle thanks to the (UK), saying he was "delighted to have piloted this agreement to its destination with all passengers still on board." He said the (EU) will enter the "next phase of negotiations with the USA in a strong position" and that a second stage will "deliver greater freedom for investors in aviation, even closer cooperation between the two sides and a healthier air transport industry in general." The agreement is scheduled to be signed at an (EU)-USA summit in Washington on April 30.

The USA and European airlines largely hailed the (EU) transport ministers' approval of the "open skies" agreement, though British Airways (BAB) and Virgin Atlantic Airways (VAA) led a chorus on the European side cautioning that the deal is just a "first step" toward creation of a truly open transatlantic air market by 2010. (IATA) Director General, Giovanni Bisignani called the agreement "a step in the right direction," but added that "it's time to set aggressive targets to create even more opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic." The Assn of European Airlines (AEA) Secretary General, Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus said it "establishes a framework which includes, but goes beyond, market opportunities . . . but it is only a first step towards the ultimate goal." Air Transport Assn President & CEO, James May said the deal has the "potential to provide enormous benefits to our respective customers and economies."
Much attention is being focused on London Heathrow (LHR), where transatlantic operations currently are limited to (BAB), Virgin (VAA), American Airlines (AAL), and United Airlines (UAL). "Access to Heathrow (LHR) for USA airlines is at the heart" of the deal, (BAB) CEO, Willie Walsh said. He encouraged the UK government to "stand by its right of automatic termination of traffic rights" and employ that power "if America doesn't play ball" by negotiating further liberalization. (LHR) was the (EU)'s "most valuable negotiating asset," Walsh insisted. With that chip "given away," it is "naive" to think the USA will pursue greater freedoms, including more USA market access for (EU) carriers by 2010, he added. According to the Official Airline Guide (OAG), (BAB) operated 44% of transatlantic flights in and out of (LHR) March 1 to 19, with (AAL) at 16%, Virgin (VAA) at 14%, and United (UAL) at 11%. (AAL) and (UAL) have said they support open skies even though it may hurt them in the short term in London. Continental Airlines (CAL) already has applied to the USA Dept of Transportation (DOT) for permission to launch service from Houston Intercontinental to (LHR) before summer 2008. Bmi (BMA) CEO, Nigel Turner called the agreement's approval "a brave move in the face of stiff opposition from the two UK airlines that have for years enjoyed a protected transatlantic market from Heathrow."

The International Air Carriers Assn (IACA) Director General, Sylviane Lust said the agreement is imbalanced in the USA carriers' favor: "The [EU's] shopping list for the second phase negotiations remains substantial while the USA side has obtained everything it wanted in the first phase."

April 2007: United Airlines (UAL) has 663 pilots (FC) on furlough status.

Claiming it has "no other option," United Airlines (UAL) will add a +$10 surcharge to tickets for flights originating from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) with immediate effect owing to a rent increase.

"We have a great interest in (LAX) developing into a world-class airport, supported by a long-term modernization plan, but we have no interest in paying higher fees without greater benefit for our customers," (UAL) Senior VP Planning, Kevin Knight stated.

(UAL) said the rent increase will cost it $10 million and is in "clear violation" of its lease. The largest carrier at (LAX), it has joined several other airlines in filing a lawsuit against Los Angeles World Airports.

Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) blasted United Airlines (UAL) for its plan to levy a $10 surcharge on passengers flying from (LAX), saying the increase "wildly exceeds" (UAL)'s share of a "justified increase in its maintenance and operation costs." (LAWA) said (UAL) enplaned 4.9 million passengers at (LAX) last year. Assuming the same level of traffic in 2007, it would collect nearly five times the $10 million rent increase it blamed for the new policy. It said the carrier was "exploiting" the rent hike "in order to dramatically increase profits" on its (LAX) operation. (UAL) did not issue a response. (LAWA) said it "has the right to pass along increases in its costs of operating the terminals," adding that it has "largely shouldered the increased security-related costs" since 2001. "The subsidization of these costs on behalf of the air carriers has become onerous and unfair," the airport operator concluded. According to press reports, US Airways (AMW)/(USA) followed United (UAL) and applied the same $10 surcharge. Northwest Airlines (NWA) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) were considering it, while Southwest Airlines (SWA) and Continental Airlines (CAL) reportedly opted not to follow suit.

United Airlines (UAL) signed a contract with the USA Postal Service to carry domestic mail from April 28 through September 30, 2011. The deal is worth up to $400 million, (UAL) said.

Flight attendants (CA) from American Airlines (AAL), United Airlines (UAL), and Southwest Airlines (SWA) are joining forces to protest executive compensation they consider unfair, when measured against the benefits and wages lost by front-line employees over the past few years. While the pay packages of airline CEOs have made headlines, employee groups are coming forward to ask Congress to bring more transparency to executive compensation, according to James Little, international president of the Transport Workers Union (TWU). Representative Barney Frank (Democrat Massachussetts) has proposed legislation that would require public companies to include in their annual proxies, a nonbinding advisory shareholder vote on executive pay plans. "It would put some transparency in the process, give shareholders a voice in executive compensation," Little explained. "We don't begrudge what they obtain for a salary based on what they are doing. But it's not fair and equitable for other employees who work for them." In written testimony sent to the House Judiciary subcommittee on commercial and administrative law, United Airlines (UAL) flight attendant (CA) Antoinette Muoneke said, "I cannot escape the conclusion that executives used the bankruptcy laws to enrich themselves at the expense of workers like me." Meanwhile, (AAL) cabin staff will carry out informational picketing at 18 airports to protest executive bonuses and stock awards. "In 2003, all American (AAL) employees stepped up to the plate and wouldn't take bankruptcy for an answer," Assn of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) President, Tommie Hutto-Blake said. "Now we are asking our company to make good on their promise to share the rewards of our labor that flight attendants (CA) and all employees have worked so hard to gain." According to (APFA), a group of some 874 "elite executives" at (AAL) parent AMR Corp received an estimated $200 million in stock awards. (SWA) flight attendants, represented by the (TWU), support the (AAL) position and will sign an online petition protesting executive pay. "Our members are stunned and angered by the size of the stock giveaways to American (AAL)'s executives," (TWU) Local 556 President, Thom McDaniel said.

Tokyo Narita (NRT) - Hong Kong, discontinued. On June 2nd, Los Angeles - Cancun, discontinued. On June 7th, Taipei - Nagoya, discontinued. On October 1st, Honolulu - Osaka (KIX), discontinued.

May 2007: Aloha Airlines (ALO) has found a powerful partner in its effort to survive the inter-island fare war launched last year by Mesa Air Group's "go!," agreeing to transfer a minority equity stake to United Airlines (UAL) as part of an expanded partnership. The size of the stake was not announced, but the companies did say that it "could expand over time." (UAL), which did not pay cash for the stake, also will take a seat on the nine-member Aloha (ALO) board, the Chairman of which is former Continental Airlines (CAL), Chairman & CEO, Gordon Bethune.

According to the airlines and a number of analysts and press reports, the deal includes a broader codeshare arrangement under which Aloha (ALO) will place its code on all (UAL) flights between the USA mainland and Hawaii, as well as its daily Honolulu - Tokyo Narita service. Coordinating marketing, leveraged purchasing power, facility sharing and potential fleet enhancement are among other perks of the deal, which should be a boon to an airline whose inter-island market share has fallen -2.5 points to 38.7% since "go!" launched last summer. Through the first nine months of 2006, privately held Aloha (ALO) had lost -$33 million. "The beauty of this for Aloha (ALO) is that we will benefit from the financial and worldwide marketing strength of one of the world's largest airlines," President & CEO, David Banmiller said. For (UAL), supporting Aloha (ALO) during a difficult period, will enable it to maintain feed for its transpacific flights.

United Airlines (UAL) announced an expansion of its long-haul network with new flights to Hong Kong (HKG) and Brazil starting in October. New services are Los Angeles - (HKG) aboard three-class 747s, and seasonal Washington Dulles - Rio de Janeiro Galeao aboard three-class 767s. Starting October 28th, Los Angeles - Hong Kong, using 747-400s, Washington (IAD) - Rio de Janeiro, using 767-300s.

TAM (TPR) and United Airlines (UAL) signed a Memo of Understanding (MOU) to "develop an agreement that enables the airlines to offer codeshare flights." The proposed agreement will include reciprocal frequent-flier programs. TAM (TPR) President, Marco Antonio Bologna said the accord will give TAM (TPR) passengers access to (UAL)'s USA network, adding, "We anticipate that this partnership will result in more traffic and more revenue for TAM (TPR)." (UAL) Executive VP & Chief Revenue Officer, John Tague said, "Our complementary route networks will deliver many codeshare and frequent-flier benefits to our customers. The agreement will enable us to improve our service to customers while supporting our strategy of international growth." Implementation of the (MOU) will require execution of formal agreements and is dependent upon approval from relevant government agencies in Brazil and the USA. TAM (TPR) earlier this month announced a codeshare agreement with (LAN) on flights within South America.

Citing the domestic market's "slow revenue growth and excess capacity," United Airlines (UAL) announced it will reduce 2007 domestic mainline (ASM) capacity growth by around -2% from previously planned levels. "We believe removing marginal capacity is an appropriate response" to the sluggish domestic trends, Executive VP & Chief Revenue Officer, John Tague commented.

Mainline domestic (ASMs) will fall -3% to -3.5% in the second quarter compared to the year-ago period, -4% to -5% for the third quarter and for the full year, are expected to be down -2% to -3%. This will be offset partially by an increase in international capacity of approximately +0.5% over previous plans. Full-year international (ASM)s will be up +3% to +4% and mainline system capacity will be flat to down -1% compared to last year. On a consolidated basis, including regional operations, system capacity will be nearly flat with 2006.

As a result of the change, (UAL) said mainline operating cost per (ASM) excluding fuel, severance and special items will increase by about +1% for the second quarter and for the full year 2007, will rise by +1.5% to +-2%, versus the comparable periods in 2006.

A little more than one year removed from bankruptcy and fresh from a -$152 million first-quarter loss, United Airlines (UAL) is focusing on repairing its balance sheet and improving its product rather than fleet renewal, Senior VP Alliances, International & Regulatory Affairs, Michael Whitaker said. Speaking in Copenhagen at the Star Alliance (SAL) anniversary event, Whitaker defended the carrier's performance, calling the first-quarter result "a dramatic improvement year-over-year." (UAL) narrowed its operating loss to -$92 million from -$171 million in the first three months of 2006. Responding to a joint statement from (UAL) unions decrying "failure by management," Whitaker said the airline's relationship with its employees "is very important" and "we're plowing through on that front." He said the loss hinged on "capacity in the first quarter being a little higher than the market would bear." Commenting on the current domestic outlook, he said, "It's a very competitive market, but bookings are good and we're optimistic." Shoring up financial and operational issues remain at the forefront, he said, when confronted with questions about (UAL)'s long-term fleet plan. He said that the fleet is "relatively young" and so investment "is focused on the product and improving the customer experience." In addition, (UAL) reduced its on- and off-balance-sheet debt by -$1.4 billion in the first quarter. It used cash to pay down $986 million of its original $3 billion exit facility, refinancing the remaining $2 billion. Outstanding debt was lowered by an additional -$331 million, through payments of other scheduled debt maturities. Whitaker said debt reduction, combined with a strong position, would better position the company to place an airplane order down the road.

He also said that (UAL) has not yet acquired a stake in Aloha Airlines (ALO) as a result of the expanded partnership announced this month. "We don't have it now, but that would be part of the deal. What we have now is an intention to negotiate and that's underway," he said. He confirmed that (UAL) will not pay for the stake, which Aloha (ALO) will transfer "in exchange for bringing them into the frequent-flier program, co-branding on the credit card, enhanced codesharing and cooperation, which will bring revenue benefits to Aloha (ALO) and lower their costs."

June 2007: Austrian Airlines (AUL) announced it is moving to the Star Alliance (SAL) Common Information Technology (IT) Platform (CITP) for its inventory and check-in systems. The (CITP) is hosted by Amadeus for participating Star member (SAL) carriers and is based on the Altea customer solutions suite. Austrian (AUL) joins Lufthansa (DLH) and United (UAL), as well as regional member carriers Adria Airways (ADH) and Croatia Airlines (CRH) in choosing to migrate to the new platform, expected to occur by mid-2009.

July 2007: United Airlines (UAL) announced new 180-degree lie-flat seats for its international business class (C) cabins, which it said make it "the only USA carrier to have . . . a truly lie-flat business class (C)." The 6-foot 4-inches bed is up to 23.5 inches wide. Provided by B/E Aerospace, the new seats will be installed on all of (UAL)'s 767s, 747s and 777s by late 2009. In total, 97 airplanes will be fitted with the seats, which will feature 15.4-inches video screens. (UAL) said premium passengers make up fewer than <10% of its customers, but generate one-third of its revenue.

(UAL) announced expansion of its Middle East service. Washington Dulles - Kuwait City flights will increase to daily from thrice-weekly on January 2. In addition, a code share pact with Qatar Airways (QTA) will give (UAL) passengers access to five new countries on (QTA) flights to Doha, Colombo, Kuala Lumpur, Male and Peshawar.

(UAL) also reached a code share agreement with Star Alliance (SAL) partner Croatia Airlines (CRH). (UAL) said that subject to USA government approval, it "will begin offering code share flights" to Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik, while Croatia (CRH) customers will have access to Washington Dulles, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago O'Hare.

(UAL) said it will accept applications for approximately 100 new pilot (FC) positions expected to be filled this year - - the first such additions since 2001. "We're investing in our business, and our expansion in international markets enables us to add to our team," VP Flight Operations, Hank Krakowski said. New hires will begin training at (UAL)'s Denver training center as early as October and are scheduled to be flying by year end.

(UAL), which won the USA Dept of Transportation's 2007 competition, and launched daily Washington Dulles - Beijing service in March, said it will file an application to operate daily San Francisco - Guangzhou flights in 2008 - - the first nonstop service from the USA to that Chinese city - - aboard a 253-seat 777, and a daily Los Angeles - Shanghai service, the following year aboard a 347-seat 747. (UAL) said Los Angeles (LAX) is the largest USA city without nonstop Chinese service by a USA carrier. "Our East meets West proposal is simple. Add capacity to those urban areas with the least service and most pressing demand," Senior VP, Michael Whitaker said.

The USA General Services Administration awarded one-year contracts worth a combined $2.02 billion to 14 domestic carriers effective October 1. Contracts cover federal travelers on official business and went to United Airlines (UAL) ($661.1 million), American Airlines (AAL) ($389.7 million), Delta Air Lines (DAL) ($370.5 million), US Airways (AMW)/(USA) ($314.7 million), Alaska Airlines (ASA) ($54.5 million), Northwest Airlines (NWA) ($35.8 million), AirTran Airways (CQT) ($36.5 million), Frontier Airlines (FRO) ($17.4 million), ExpressJet Airlines (Continental Airlines (CAL) subsidiary) ($8.8 million), Midwest Airlines (MWX) ($4.1 million), JetBlue Airways (JBL) ($2.9 million), Mesa Air Group ($2.5 million), ATA Airlines (AAT) ($756,486), and North American Airlines (NNA) ($223,205).

The Carlyle Group, a private equity firm, reached a definitive agreement to acquire (ARINC) from its current shareholders, which include more than a dozen major airlines and Boeing (TBC). (ARINC), which generates more than >$900 million in annual revenue, specializes in transportation communications technology, and its Air Traffic Control (ATC) support systems are used by carriers and airports throughout the world. Primary shareholders in the 77-year-old company based in Annapolis, include American Airlines (AAL), United Airlines (UAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL), Continental Airlines (CAL), Northwest Airlines (NWA), US Airways (AMW)/(USA), Air Canada (ACN), Air France (AFA)/(KLM), Lufthansa (DLH), British Airways (BAB), Mexicana (CMA), Swiss International Air Lines (CSR), TACA (TAC), FedEx (FED), Hawaiian Airlines (HWI), and Philippine Airlines (PAL). (AAL) said it would receive $194 million from the sale of its stake and (UAL) expects $125 million.

Qatar Airways (QTA) launched daily service to Washington Dulles (IAD) and also announced a new code share agreement with (UAL), that will strengthen (QTA)'s presence in the USA market. (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said the code share will offer access to 50 USA destinations, while giving (UAL) "a foothold in the Middle East." (UAL) Senior VP International & Regulatory Affairs, Bill Whitaker said that the cooperation "should be up and running by mid-August." Dulles (IAD) service will be flown with a 270-seat, three-class A340-600.

Pratt & Whitney (P&W) announced that its Global Material Solutions (GMS) subsidiary earned (PMA) certification from the USA (FAA) for the (CFM56-3) high-pressure turbine shroud, marking the first certification for the 48 life-limited and gas-path replacement parts, it plans to produce for the engine. UK Low Cost Carrier (LCC) Jet2.com (JT2) and an unidentified Chinese carrier, joined launch customer United Airlines (UAL) as a (GMS) customer at the Paris Air Show.

August 2007: United Airlines (UAL) 2006 Results: (UAL) is world #3 airline by passenger operations ranked by traffic: 188.65 billion (RPK) (+2.9%); 229.73 billion (ASK) capacity (+2.1%); 82.1% LF (+0.7); 69.3 million passengers (+3.8%); 55,000 employees (-3.5%); 2.99 billion (RTK) (+1.4%) cargo traffic; 401 airplanes (see link to world airline (RPK) comparison chart).

(UAL) said it received more than >1,000 applications for 100 open pilot (FC) positions over a 10-day period. It is hiring new pilots (FC) for the first time since 2001.

(UAL) said the first flight by an airplane equipped with its new premium cabin upgrade, will be 767 service from Washington Dulles (IAD) to Frankfurt (FRA) on October 29. (UAL) said it will be the first USA airline to offer 180-degree lie-flat business class (C) beds on long-haul flights. The airplane will operate between (IAD), (FRA), and Zurich, and will be the first of 97 planes outfitted with the new product. The first 747 will begin flying in mid-December and the first 777 in early February, (UAL) said. One reconfigured airplane will join the fleet each week, through the fall of 2009. In addition to the new seats, (UAL) will add on-demand In-Flight Entertainment (IFE), new premium cabin restrooms, new seat cushions in coach and new carpet.

September 2007: United Airlines (UAL) will launch daily, Los Angeles - Frankfurt flights aboard 777s from December 15. (UAL) currently flies to Frankfurt twice-daily from both San Francisco and Chicago O'Hare and thrice-daily from Washington Dulles.

The USA Department of Transportation (DOT) awarded coveted new China route authorities to all six USA legacy carriers. Two of the route awards, going to Delta Air Lines (DAL) and United Airlines (UAL) for service that can begin on March 30, are "final decisions," (DOT) said. (UAL) was cleared to start San Francisco - Guangzhou service in 2008. "By bringing China and the USA one step closer, we increase our ability to compete, boost our success in the global marketplace, and make international travel for all passengers easier and more affordable," Transportation Secretary, Mary Peters said. The new routes are possible owing to an expanded aviation agreement signed by the two nations in July, that doubles the number of daily flights allowed between the USA and China over the next five years.

(UAL) Chairman, President & CEO, Glenn Tilton said (UAL) is "honored to be selected as the first USA carrier to provide nonstop service between San Francisco and Guangzhou, important cities in the world economy." (UAL) noted that one-third of all USA travelers to China are from California, and that the state accounts for 57% of all USA traffic to Guangzhou.

USA Secretary of Transportation, Mary Peters named (UAL) VP Flight Operations, Henry Krakowski as Chief Operating Officer of the (FAA)'s Air Traffic Organization (ATO), effective October 1. Krakowski will lead the (ATO)'s 35,000 controllers, technicians, engineers and support personnel, overseeing the operational and financial performance of the (ATC) system and the (FAA)'s research and acquisition programs. "Hank is the right person to help implement the next generation of aviation technology," Peters said. Krakowski will report to Acting (FAA) Administrator, Robert Sturgell, who took over the (FAA), when Marion Blakey's set five-year term ended. Krakowski, a 737 captain, has served as (UAL) VP Corporate Safety, Security & Quality Assurance. For the past two years, he has been co-chair of the Commercial Aviation Safety Team, an industry/government partnership. He also has been Chairman of the Star Alliance (SAL) Safety Advisory Group. "Hank's unwavering commitment to the safe operation of our airline, and his contributions to safety across the industry, set him apart as a leader in aviation," (UAL) Executive VP & (COO), Pete McDonald said. (UAL) said its search to replace Krakowski begins immediately.

(UAL) expects to hire 100 pilots (FC) by the end of the year.

October 2007: The USA and Australia announced "their intention to liberalize relations by initiating bilateral discussions to conclude a comprehensive "open skies" agreement." The statement was issued jointly by Australian Deputy Prime Minister, Mark Vaile and USA Secretary of Transportation, Mary Peters. Negotiations will begin before year end, and an agreement is expected early next year. An existing "open skies" agreement between the countries covers only cargo services.

JetWorks Leasing, on behalf of a group of institutional investors, arranged the sale of a 747-400 on lease to (UAL) to Top Flight Holdings, a company controlled by Babcock & Brown Aircraft Management (BBB).

November 2007: United Airlines (UAL), taking advantage of the USA-(EU) "open skies" agreement, will launch daily Denver - London Heathrow flights aboard a three-class, 258-seat 777 on March 30, the day the new agreement takes effect.

(TAM) (TPR) and (UAL) launched their new code share agreement, enabling both carriers' customers to earn and redeem frequent-flier miles/points on the partner. "By combining the two networks, (TAM) (TPR) customers may now purchase tickets on (UAL) operated flights between Brazil and the United States . . . [and also] connect to several destinations in the United States," (UAL) said. "(UAL) will offer service on flights operated by (TAM) (TPR) from Miami and New York [JFK] to the cities of Sao Paulo and Manaus, enabling passengers to connect to several points in Brazil."

Qatar Airways (QTA) and (UAL) implemented their code share agreement. (QTA)'s code now is placed on select (UAL) domestic services from Washington Dulles (IAD), and on flights from several European gateways to the USA. (UAL)'s code is on (QTA) flights between Doha and (IAD) and Newark (EWR), as well as a number of other (QTA) routes. Last June, (QTA) started scheduled flights from Doha to (EWR), via Geneva. In July, it added daily nonstop service to (IAD) using A340-600s, and from January on its new 777-300ERs. It has launched service to 11 new destinations this year, and expects to pass the 9 million passenger mark, compared to 8 million last year, General Manager Commercial, Ali M Al Rais said.

United (UAL) hired 20 pilots (FC) in September, 20 in October, and expects to hire another +60 pilots (FC) by the end of 2007.

(UAL) is abandoning testing of dual-end jetbridges following a malfunction in which a double-ended bridge hit and damaged the wing of a 757 at Denver International (DIA).

(UAL) said it is adding a $5 one-way and $10 roundtrip fuel surcharge onto "most domestic fares . . . to offset record-breaking fuel costs." The surcharge, effective immediately, will exclude flights to and from Hawaii. "Every dollar increase in the price of crude oil increases (UAL)'s annual costs by approximately $65 million." It noted that the per-barrel price topped $98 this week "compared with $55 a barrel just nine months ago, and $20 a barrel six years ago."

December 2007: United Airlines (UAL) is accepting online Flight Crew (FC) applications. (UAL) hired 30 pilots (FC) in November, and expects to hire another +20 pilots (FC) by the end of 2007. (UAL) predicts it will hire 300 to 400 pilots (FC) in 2008. (UAL) will conduct two Flight Crew (FC) classes per month, through the first half of 2008.

(UAL) will launch service from Washington Dulles to Bradford, Pennsylvania; Jamestown, New York, and Parkersburg, West Virginia (beginning January 7); Clarksburg, West Virginia, and Morgantown, West Virginia (from January 21); Altoona and Johnstown, Pennsylvania (from February 4); and Beckley, West Virginia, and Shenandoah Valley, Virginia (from February 18). All flights will be operated by Colgan Air, Saab 340s.

(UAL) said it canceled about 5% of its flights recently, due to bad weather. "We had issues with airplanes and crews (FC)/(CA) not being in place," spokeswoman, Megan McCarthy said. Dense fog and clouds blanketed Chicago, on the city's busiest travel day of the year, followed by high winds. Storms had dumped as much as 27 inches of snow on some parts of the USA Midwest by Christmas Eve.

January 2008: 2007 statistics: 188.9 billion (RPK)s passenger traffic -.1%; -.8% capacity (ASK)s; +.6 load factor for 82.7% LF. SEE ATTACHED COMPARISON CHART TO SELECTED OPERATORS - "UAL-2007-STATS."

United Airlines (UAL) parent (UAL) Corporation reported 2007 net income of +$403 million, a result the company touted as its first full-year profit since 2000, but it did post a -$53 million net loss in the fourth quarter, owing to "the sharp rise in the price of fuel." (UAL)'s 2007 result is not comparable to the +$22.88 billion in net income reported in 2006, thanks to extraordinary gains upon emergence from bankruptcy. Its pre-tax income for 2007 was +$695 million, reversed from a pre-tax loss of -$45 million in 2006, that excludes reorganization charges and benefits. "We made significant financial strides in 2007, delivering among the best revenue . . . performance in the industry, paying down more than $2 billion in debt and continuing our focus on cost control," Executive VP & (CFO), Jake Brace said.

Full-year 2007 operating revenue increased +4.1% to $20.1 billion, while expenses rose +1.2% to $19.1 billion, producing operating income of +$1.04 billion, more than double the +$447 million in the prior year. Mainline traffic decreased -0.1% to 117.4 billion (RPM)s on a -0.8% drop in capacity to 141.89 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 82.7% LF, up +0.6 point. Mainline yield lifted +6.6% to 12.99 cents, as (RASM) escalated +4.7% to 12.03 cents, and (CASM) increased +1.4% to 11.39 cents.

(UAL) and Austrian Airlines (AUL) expanded their code share agreement to cover 20 domestic (UAL) flights from Chicago O'Hare.

(UAL) will launch daily, San Francisco - Guangzhou on June 18, aboard a 777. It will be (UAL)'s third Chinese destination. It also will start daily service from Los Angeles to Austin and Des Moines on February 13 aboard SkyWest Airlines CRJ-700s.

Keith Halbert, was appointed Senior VP & Chief Information Officer (CIO), and Tracy Elving, VP Base Maintenance.

February 2008: United Airlines (UAL) will charge economy (Y) passengers traveling on discounted fares on its North American network $25 to check a second bag beginning May 5. The cost to check up to four additional bags will be $100 per bag for all customers. Previously, the charges were $85 to $125 per bag. It said it expects the new policy to generate more than >$100 million in annual cost savings and new revenue.

INCDT: The USA National Transportation Safety Board sent two investigators to Jackson Hole to investigate an incident in which a (UAL) A320 "veered off the side of a runway" and "came to rest on its landing gear at about a 90-degree angle to the runway in snow about three feet deep." There were no serious injuries reported.

March 2008: United Airlines (UAL) announced the distribution of $110 million in profit-sharing payments to USA-based employees, bringing to $170 million the amount employees earned in 2007 from performance incentives.

United Airlines (UAL) will operate daily, Denver - London Heathrow, beginning March 30.

Beijing Capital International Airport's new $3 billion-plus Terminal 3 opened. UK architect, Norman Foster claimed it is the largest covered structure ever built - - 3.25 km long and 1.3 million sq m of floor space. "Reuters" reported that airport capacity will be boosted to 76 million per year from the 52 million it served in 2007. The baggage system can handle 19,800 pieces per hour, it said.

SJ Consulting President, Satish Jindel, a leading advocate of airlines moving to an "a la carte" pricing structure, praises United Airlines (UAL) and US Airways (AMW)/(USA) for their decisions to start charging economy (Y) passengers $25 for a second checked bag on many of their routes, but says they and other carriers need to go further. "They should have charged more - - $25 doesn't cover the cost of moving the bag," let alone enable airlines to earn a profit from the carriage, he says. "They're running a business. Everything they do, they should make money off it." He also argues that carriers need to take measures regarding carry-on luggage simultaneously in order for passengers' baggage habits to truly change and lower the overall cost burden. "They should limit economy (Y) passengers to one carry-on and business (C) to two, and charge for checked bags," he says. "That way passengers will bring only what they need and airlines will cover the cost of transporting these bags. People have found it acceptable to pay for meals. Passengers will adjust to this too. It will make the system more efficient for everyone [including passengers] and lower costs for airlines . . . The industry is moving in the right direction at a snail's pace when the [baggage handling] problem is deteriorating at a hare's pace."

(UAL) Executive VP & CFO, Jake Brace, said (UAL)'s economy plus fare option will generate an estimated +$200 million in added revenue this year and charging economy (Y) passengers $25 for a second checked bag from May 5 will generate another +$100 million. "We think there's an opportunity in unbundling our product, in moving to 'a la carte' pricing." Brace added that "conversations are ongoing" among (UAL) management over the possibility of spinning off its maintenance and frequent-flier businesses.

(DAL) and (UAL) announced a domestic downsizing to help negotiate rising fuel costs and a slowing USA economy, with each carrier planning to ground 15 to 20 mainline airplanes this year and (DAL) also aiming to slash its workforce by approximately -2,000. (UAL) plans to reduce domestic capacity by an unspecified amount later this year, as it grounds 15 to 20 737-500s. (UAL) already has committed to lowering domestic capacity by -3.5% to -4.5% for the full year, and said it will offer new guidance next month.

(UAL)'s pilots (FC) blasted management's decision to ground 15 to 20 737-500s later this year to mitigate rising fuel costs and the impact of a slowing USA economy. Added (UAL) (MEC) Chairman, Steve Wallach: "Cutting its fleet of airplanes does not address the larger cost problems that continue to beleaguer this airline. Instead of doling out hundreds of millions of dollars to shareholders and pocketing millions of dollars in bonuses and salary increases, perhaps management should reinvest that money into our operation." He warned that pilots (FC) may move to block the grounding.

(UAL) briefly grounded seven 747s, when it was discovered that equipment used to test airplane systems at a Korean Air (KAL)-operated facility in Busan had not been checked as scheduled.

April 2008: Aer Lingus (ARL) and (UAL) signed a code share agreement under which (ARL) will place its code on (UAL) flights departing from all seven of (ARL)'s USA gateways, while (UAL) will add its code to (ARL)'s transatlantic flights to/from Dublin and Shannon.

(UAL) grounded all 52 of its 777s after disclosing to the USA (FAA) that a review of its maintenance records revealed that required checks on cargo fire suppression systems were "not performed." (UAL) cancelled an estimated 38 flights on one day as it conducted the inspections. It said one of five bottles in the 777's cargo fire suppression systems had been overlooked during routine maintenance checks. "This system is regularly tested as part of the preflight safety checks," (UAL) said. "These checks [now being conducted] are related to compliance. (UAL) will not operate these airplanes until the tests are complete . . . We apologize for any inconvenience." It granted full refunds to passengers for cancelled flights. The grounding follows similar moves by other USA airlines in the midst of increased scrutiny of the (FAA)'s safety oversight, the focus of an upcoming Congressional hearing.

Regarding the "Open Skies" bilateral agreement between Australia and the USA, please read the attached - "UAL-AUS-USA-APR08."

June 2008: United Airlines (UAL), facing rising fuel costs and a weak USA economy, announced a dramatic downsizing that will see its Ted (TED) service discontinued, and include the retirement over the next 19 months of 100 airplanes with the aim of reducing mainline capacity by a cumulative -17% to -18% for 2008 to 2009. Following a steep first-quarter loss, (UAL) previously announced "fundamental" changes including retiring 30 737s. It now has added another -64 of the type to its cut list, meaning that its entire 737 fleet will be grounded. It also plans to retire six 747-400s. It said 80 of the 100 retirements will occur this year with the remaining 20 coming by year end 2009. Its fourth-quarter 2008 mainline capacity will be down -9.5% to -10.5% year-over-year with North American capacity lowered by -13.5% to -14.5%, compared to the 2007 final quarter.

(UAL) additionally will eliminate its Ted (TED) product, reconfiguring that fleet's 56 A320s to include first class (F) seats for a return to mainline service by year end 2009. Salaried and management employees and contractors will be cut by -1,400 to -1,600 including -500 personnel cuts previously revealed. (UAL) has not determined how many frontline jobs will be affected. Chairman, President & (CEO), Glenn Tilton said the "aggressive steps . . . demonstrate our commitment to size our business appropriately to reflect the current market reality, leverage capacity discipline to pass commodity costs on to customers, develop new revenue streams and continue to reduce nonfuel costs and capital expenditures." In a message to employees, (COO), John Tague said the cuts are necessary "to assure (UAL)'s long-term viability." He explained that retirement of the 737 fleet will "dramatically simplify our fleet and reduce our maintenance liability." Further, the retirements will remove the "oldest and least fuel-efficient jets" from service, reducing the average age of (UAL)'s fleet by -1.3 years to 11.8 years.

July 2008: United Airlines (UAL) ceased operations on business routes such as San Francisco - Atlanta, Los Angeles - Austin, and Chicago - San Jose.

(UAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL) pilots (FC) released a joint statement in which they pledged to "align efforts" as the carriers move toward implementing an operating alliance. (UAL) and (CAL) decided against a merger but instead have announced plans "to cooperate extensively, linking their networks and services worldwide." Both pilot (FC) groups are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA).

(UAL) has asked a federal judge for an injunction that would stop its pilots (FC) union from encouraging pilots (FC) to participate in an unlawful "sickout" and no-overtime campaign. (UAL) said the unlawful job actions have forced the cancellation of more than >300 flights. (UAL) said the pilots (FC) union has urged members not to work overtime as part of a plan to pressure (UAL) to renegotiate the current contract.

(UAL) and the International Association of Machinists reached agreement on a voluntary separation program that will be available for up to 400 customer service and ramp employees aged at least 45 and with 15 years of service. (UAL) last month announced plans to cut -1,400 to -1,600 jobs through 2009.

The six largest USA network carriers announced a partnership with Sojern Inc, an Omaha company funded by Norwest Venture Partners and Trident Capital, that will offer advertising on boarding passes. American Airlines (AAL), (CAL), (NWA), (UAL) and US Airways (AMW)/(USA) will roll out the service before year end. Sojern Founder, Gordon Whitten said passengers have indicated that they "love the concept" and that "advertisers are also clamoring to get involved." It confirmed that individual airlines will continue to operate and develop their respective websites, while Sojern will provide the advertising and other "content" directly on the boarding passes. Content will include items such as destination-specific weather forecasts, restaurants "that fit [passengers'] budget and lifestyle," event schedules and targeted advertising. The carriers will hold an equity stake in Sojern.

August 2008: United Airlines (UAL) 1st 6 months = 90.64 billion (RPK)s traffic - - see "UAL-08TOPWLD6MTHSRPK."

(UAL)'s decision to ground all of its 737 Classics (737-300s and 737-500s) in the coming months, a total of 94 airplanes, is expected to have a significant impact on lease rates for the type, Genesis Lease Ltd, (CCO), Cian Dooley confirmed. Dooley said he "would not be surprised to see Classic lease rates, drop -10% over the next 12 to 18 months." Rates for A320s older than 10 years, also may be affected. Genesis owns just three 737 Classics and all are leased, he noted. None of the leases expire before 2010. While acknowledging the crisis facing USA airlines, in the face of record oil prices, Dooley drew a distinction between the current environment and past downturns. "What is fundamentally different [this time] is that on a global basis, there is more demand for airplanes," he observed, adding that, "We are not seeing big order cancellations at Airbus (EDS) and Boeing (TBC)." In addition to markets such as China and India, Dooley cited strong interest in new and used Western-built airplanes from Russian carriers. He noted that in the past, the demand was there, but not the funding, whereas today, the country is awash in cash from oil and natural gas revenue.

(UAL) parent, the UAL Corporation named VP Investor Relations, Kathryn Mikells (SEE PHOTO - - "UAL-CFO-AUG08") to succeed Executive VP & (CFO), Jake Brace, when he retires on November 1. Mikells, who joined (UAL) in 1994 as a financial analyst and has held several leadership positions throughout the company, will be Senior VP & (CFO). (UAL) also named former Northwest Airlines (NWA) pilot (FC) and Air Line Pilots Association officer, Howard Attarian as VP Flight Operations, effective September 1. (UAL) named (AAL) Managing Director Operations Center, Donald Dillman as VP Operations Control, effective September 8. (UAL) named James Keenan, Senior VP Maintenance.

(UAL) introduced its new lie-flat, business class (C) seat on its Asian network last week aboard a reconfigured 747 flying from San Francisco to Hong Kong. The airplane also will serve Singapore. (UAL)'s entire widebody fleet will be reconfigured over the next two years.

(UAL) will stop serving complimentary snacks to North American economy (Y) passengers effective September 2 and will begin charging for meals in domestic business (C) class (except for certain flights between New York and Los Angeles/San Francisco) and in transatlantic economy (Y) cabins on October 1, according to a memo to flight attendants (CA) obtained by the "San Francisco Chronicle" and subsequently confirmed by a (UAL) spokesperson. "These are difficult but necessary changes. We are looking at everything we need to do to offset fuel prices, which are still skyrocketing," (UAL) told the "Chronicle." In addition, buy-on-board prices will rise and the free pre-arrival snack on premium transcontinental flights will be discontinued on October 1. Fewer flight attendants will be required in the domestic business (C) cabin as a result.

(UAL), which last month said it would slash -5,500 frontline workers by the end of 2009, will furlough 1,550 flight attendants (CA), effective October 31. (UAL) said it hopes to achieve as many of the cuts as possible via voluntary programs, but added that it must lower its flight attendant (CA) workforce by -10% by the end of October and will make as many involuntary reductions as necessary.

September 2008: United Airlines (UAL) reversed its decision to charge for meals in economy (Y) on certain transatlantic flights beginning in the fourth quarter, owing to "direct, candid feedback" from customers. However, it said that "in this environment, where higher costs driven by volatile fuel prices are now the norm, we must continue to tailor products and services" and that it will "continue to be proactive in testing new ideas." It plans to proceed with the testing of a free but reduced meal offering in the business (C) cabin on three-cabin airplanes flying domestic routes.

(UAL) said that it had raised $1 billion by amending its credit card marketing services agreement with Chase Bank, but also warned that it likely will take a $225 million fuel-hedging loss in the third quarter. VP Investor Relations, Kathryn Mikells, who will take over as (CFO) on November 1, said at the Calyon USA Airline Conference that (UAL) continues to make maintaining "the appropriate level of liquidity" a top priority. "As we all know, cash is king," she said. "We continue to lead our peers in free cash flow." But the company expects to take a nonoperating income loss of -$225 million in the third quarter, owing to the fact that it has hedged 51% of its second-half 2008 fuel, based on per-barrel crude oil prices of $111 to $112. Per-barrel prices closed at just under $98. Mikells said (UAL)'s fuel hedges for 2009 are based on per-barrel prices of $118.

(UAL) is not accepting Flight Crew (FC) resumes nor hiring pilots (FC). (UAL) is furloughing 100 pilots (FC) in September.

The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA)-(CWA) said that 1,550 (UAL) flight attendants (CA) accepted voluntary furloughs in increments of six, nine, 12, 18 and 21 months beginning October 31, eliminating the need for involuntary furloughs.

(AAR) Sales & Leasing (AFD) was selected by (UAL) to remarket and provide technical advisory services on the carrier's soon-to-be-retired fleet of 94 737 Classics (737-300s & 737-500s). (AAR) (AFD) said it will help place the airplanes with airlines around the world, focusing on operators outside the USA.

October 2008: United Airlines (UAL) continues to reduce capacity rapidly, planning a mainline cut of -11.5% to -12.5% in the fourth quarter, including a -14.5% to -15.5% lowering domestically. Incoming (CFO), Kathryn Mikells said (UAL) has "significant flexibility to adjust capacity" and will make further reductions if necessary.

Executive VP & (COO), John Tague commented that (UAL) is focused "on the basics of running a good airline," evidenced by an "unbundling" of fares that is "resetting the value proposition for both elite and nonelite passengers" and a "change in how we approach cost control." He noted that third-quarter mainline (CASM) excluding fuel and special items, was flat year-over-year at 7.71 cents.

(UAL) said that 332 International Association of Machinists (IAM) members have taken advantage of early out and voluntary furlough programs as part of (UAL)'s effort to reduce employment rolls by -7,000 positions, reducing the need for involuntary furloughs among (IAM) employees by -40%. (UAL) said more than >1,500 cabin staff (CA) represented by the Association of Flight Attendants (CA), around -200 pilots (FC), and -100 mechanics (MT) have taken leave so far.

Network carriers based in the USA that cut fall and winter capacity as a result of soaring fuel prices, may have insulated themselves somewhat from the steepening global economic downturn, (UAL) Chairman, President & (CEO), Glenn Tilton said. Tilton said (UAL)'s capacity reduction, which started last month, "was very timely, largely driven by high oil prices, but just before the [current financial] crisis had arrived." He said (UAL) has reduced its fleet by -23% and capacity by -16%, and that "some more adjustments could be necessary. All airlines are very focused on capacity." He said it "remains to be seen" whether there will be layoffs in addition to the -7,000 already announced. (UAL) notified the International Brotherhood of Teamsters that it will lay off -414 San Francisco-based mechanics (MT) in December.

Despite the turmoil, (UAL) and its domestic competitors should be safe for the time being, Tilton said. He does not expect any of the large USA carriers to slip into bankruptcy. "The airlines removed capacity when the market started to soften and oil prices climbed. We are seeing now more discipline to adjust networks." (UAL) also will look to take advantage of enhanced joint ventures and its Chicago O'Hare hub. Tilton said he is counting on receiving antitrust immunity approval for a transatlantic alliance, comprising (UAL), Lufthansa (DLH), Air Canada (ACN), and (CAL), while Chicago's role as an export, rather than financial center, may help the carrier maintain its premium traffic. "From the Chicago market, we see industrial and commercial travelers. Chicago has an export industry, which continues to grow. Our hubs are different" from competing airlines', he said.

(UAL) launched daily, Washington Dulles - Dubai aboard a four-class 777.

November 2008: United Airlines (UAL) will launch daily, Washington Dulles - Geneva flights April 19, aboard a 767, and will operate daily, Denver - London Heathrow service March 29 through October 23, aboard a 777.

(UAL) completed the second (ASPIRE) (Asia and South Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions) flight from Sydney to San Francisco (SFO) and said it saved -1,564 gallons of fuel and -32,656 lbs of carbon dioxide emissions. (UAL) said that 11 fuel-saving initiatives were deployed "from gate to gate." The 777 flight, dubbed "(ASPIRE) United," followed in the footsteps of a similar flight operated by Air New Zealand (ANZ) in September. (UAL) said it reduced fuel burn and emissions "by using up-to-the-minute fuel data, priority takeoff clearance, normally restricted airspace around Sydney's airport, and new arrival procedures." The flight used a "tailored arrival" - - a continuous descent at idle thrust - - at (SFO), with California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger joining the pilots (FC) in the cockpit to observe the landing.

Rob Mead, Boeing (TBC)'s lead engineer for advanced (ATM) air/ground communications, said that the 777 executed "a picture perfect tailored arrival." He said the flight was similar to the (ANZ) flight, but that (UAL)'s 777 had more advanced digital data link systems on its flight deck, enabling better communication with Air Traffic Control (ATC). "The more that the (FAA) can use these systems [to communicate with airplanes], the more airlines will be encouraged to put them aboard," he said. (ASPIRE) is a partnership among the (FAA), Airservices Australia, and Airways New Zealand.

Sabre Travel Network won a two-year extension on its contract with United Airlines (UAL) to provide full content of published fares and inventory via its Global Distribution System (GDS). The extension maintains the distribution agreement until 2013.

December 2008: United Airlines (UAL) said 1,190 of the 7,000 workers it plans to cut by the end of 2009 will be laid off early next year. It did not break down the cuts, but the "Chicago Tribune" reported that 700 mechanics (MT) and 490 customer service representatives will be let go beginning January 11. (UAL) said the layoffs "are part of the difficult but necessary actions we are taking to enable United (UAL) to compete."

January 2009: United Airlines (UAL) flew 122.22 billion consolidated (RPM)s traffic in 2008, down -6% year-over-year. Capacity fell -3.9% to 152.03 billion (ASM)s, dropping load factor -1.8 points to 80.4% LF. Passenger yield rose +6.9% to 15.05 cents and operating (RASM) was up +4.3% to 13.28 cents. (CASM) soared +34.1% to 16.2 cents. The company and its regional affiliates operated 689 airplanes at year end, down from 739 a year earlier. (UAL) expects 2009 consolidated capacity to fall -7% to -8% from last year and -11.5% to -12.5% in the first quarter. Full-year mainline (CASM) excluding fuel, profit sharing and "certain accounting charges" is expected to increase +2.5% to +3.5% on a -9% capacity cut.

The company lost -$1.3 billion in the 2008 fourth quarter compared to a -$53 million loss in the year-ago quarter. Operating loss deepened to -$812 million from -$64 million. It reported -$370 million in cash losses on fuel hedges settling during the quarter in addition to a non cash, mark-to-market loss of -$566 million. Senior VP & CFO, Kathryn Mikells said the cash impact of falling oil prices, "while significant, is now behind us, and we are well positioned to manage through a challenging 2009 with good expected cost performance."

(UAL) dropped plans to furlough an additional -250 flight attendants (CA) because it needs more cabin staff for its international network, according to a memo from Senior VP Onboard Service, Alex Marren cited by the "Associated Press." (UAL) also decided not to furlough up to 205 customer service and ramp employees at Chicago O'Hare because a sufficient number took voluntary leave and 43 will shift to part-time from full time.

(UAL) will launch its delayed daily, Washington Dulles - Moscow Domodedovo service on March 29.

(UAL) said it will offer Aircell's Gogo inflight Internet service onboard premium service transcontinental flights between New York (JFK) and California in the second half of this year. Technology will be available for a flat fee of $12.95 on 13 757s flying between (JFK) and Los Angeles and San Francisco.

(UAL) will conduct a small test of (RFID) bag tags at Chicago O'Hare (ORD) next month, according to an employee communication. "We're looking to validate whether this technology will speed up the baggage check process," Initiative Leader, Gary Dulaney said. More than >1,000 high-mileage travelers will participate in the six-week trial, which is being conducted "in close partnership with the Star Alliance (SAL) Technical Advisory Committee," he said. Customers will receive (RFID) bag tags at their homes and will check in online before arriving at (ORD). Tags are reusable so customers only need to attach them once, according to Dulaney. A (UAL) representative will scan the (RFID) tag and provide a baggage claim receipt for each piece. After the customer departs, the tag will be scanned again before the bag enters sortation and screening.

The City of Chicago will pay United Airlines (UAL) $163 million to move its O'Hare (ORD) cargo terminal to make way for the airport's planned new runway scheduled to be constructed this year, the "Chicago Tribune" reported, adding that city officials are in talks with FedEx (FED) regarding a similar relocation.

Michael Quiello, VP Corporate Safety, Security, Quality & Environment, ex-Delta Airlines (DAL), succeeds the retiring Bill Yantiss. Mark Mounsey, VP Base Maintenance, ex-25 years at Pratt & Whitney (P&W).

3 737-322s (23958; 24673; 24574) and 4 737-522s (25007; 26649; 26652; 26655) WFU at Victorville.

February 2009: United Airlines (UAL) employees total = 49,500.

(UAL) Corporation named General Motors Corporation communications veteran, Tony Cervone as Chief Communications Officer & Senior VP Corporate Communications. Cervone will oversee internal and external communications, media and public relations, crisis communications and partnership communications with the Star Alliance (SAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL). He joins (UAL) effective February 16 and will report to Pete McDonald, Executive VP & Chief Administrative Officer. Prior to joining (UAL), Cervone served as Communications VP, Global Strategy & Operations for (GM). In that role, he led communications teams for (GM)'s four global regions and oversaw product and brand communications, financial communications, executive communications, and a number of other internal and external communications teams. "Tony is a proven leader with the right combination of applicable experience to hit the ground running and will be a great fit with the rest of our team," McDonald said.

(UAL) also announced a broader, strategic role for Rosemary Moore in her position as Senior VP Corporate & Government Affairs, with a greater focus on industry, governmental and corporate affairs and public responsibility. Moore's responsibilities also will include oversight of corporate image and reputation, and corporate social responsibility, including the environment and social investment. She also will oversee management of issues facing the company and the industry regarding public policy. She will report to (UAL) Chairman, President & CEO, Glenn Tilton, who also is serving as Chairman of the Air Transport Association (ATA), for the next two years.

"It is important that we communicate effectively with all our key constituents as we successfully implement our business plan and that we are fully engaged in issues that impact our company, and this industry, at a time of unprecedented convergence of business, government and social concerns," Tilton said, in announcing the appointments. "Tony brings considerable experience to his role and Rosemary's combination of expertise and understanding of both (UAL) and our industry provide two aligned talents to support and enable our business agenda - - and further strengthen our management team."

(UAL) operates more than >3,000 flights a day on (UAL) and (UAL) Express to more than >200 USA domestic and international destinations from its hubs in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Chicago, and Washington, DC. With key global air rights in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and Latin America, (UAL) is one of the largest international carriers based in the United States. (UAL) also is a founding member of the Star Alliance (SAL), which provides connections for (UAL) customers to 912 destinations in 159 countries worldwide.

(UAL) will begin accepting credit and debit cards for on board purchases on all flights on March 23 and said it will move to a cashless cabin on domestic and North/Central American flights "after a brief transition period."

Sabre Travel Network added (UAL) "economy plus" tickets to its MySabre and Turbo Sabre travel agency tools, allowing the purchase of such seats through its standard Global Distribution System (GDS) desktop application.

3 737-322s (24252; 24540; 24638) and 1 737-522 (26655) WFU at Victorville.

March 2009: The USA economy shrank -6% last quarter; the largest contraction since 1982.

United Airlines (UAL) CEO, Glenn Tilton told an industry conference that air traffic control (ATC) delays cost some $40 billion annually, and he praised efforts by some senators to speed the roll-out of a NextGen system, "such that we might move the USA past Mongolia in (ATC) systems rankings." Tilton, who also serves as the current Chairman of the Air Transport Association (ATA), expressed dismay that rapid rail was earmarked for $9 billion in federal support under the USA President's stimulus plan, while NextGen received nothing. "While it makes sense that projects need to be 'shovel-ready' to help these efforts in 2009, they must have to be 'next generation' to sustain future growth in the years ahead," he said.

(UAL) sent out furlough notifications to its pilots (FC) which will bring the total furloughs to 876 from the current number of 606.

737-322 (24241), scrapped. 737-522 (26651, N928UA) WFU at Victorville. 747-422 (28716, N198UA), WFU and stored at Victorville.

April 2009: (UAL) parent (UAL) Corporation reported a first-quarter net loss of -$382 million, narrowed from a deficit of -$549 million in the year-ago period, but conceded that its net loss for the three months ended March 31 would have been -$579 million absent non-cash mark-to-market fuel hedge gains and accounting changes. The losses also were affected by one-time lease termination costs and charges related to severance and employee benefits, but Chairman, President & CEO, Glenn Tilton nevertheless called the results "disappointing." He explained that "the recession is having a severe effect on demand for travel" and cautioned in a conference call with analysts and reporters that there is "no conclusive evidence" that the demand decline has bottomed out. Tilton cited two primary factors leading to (UAL)'s -21.7% first-quarter revenue drop to $3.69 billion: "First, network composition . . . Conditions in individual markets had a disproportionate impact on (UAL)'s revenues, such as China and Australia, where unit revenues dropped -15% and more than >30% respectively. . . Second, while demand has declined across all market segments, premium and business demand has declined more significantly than leisure demand. The decrease in trips taken by business (C) travelers and the buy-down from premium class to economy (Y) class caused premium cabin traffic to decline -30% in the first quarter . . . (UAL) participates proportionately more in these segments than others, both internationally and domestically."

Senior VP & CFO, Kathryn Mikells said (UAL) remains focused on raising cash and pointed to "$500 million in new liquidity in the first quarter," adding that $1.7 billion in unencumbered assets give the company "the ability to do more" in terms of growing its unrestricted cash balance of $2.5 billion as of March 31. Tilton also noted that (UAL) generated $14 in revenue per passenger from ancillary charges and fees in the first quarter, up +60% year-over-year.

(UAL) promoted VP Pacific, Mark Schwab to Senior VP Alliances, International & Regulatory Affairs, and named James Mueller, leader of the customer solutions team, to succeed him. Schwab succeeds Mike Whitaker, who is leaving the company.

(UAL)'s 16,000 flight attendants (CA) will seek "to substantially increase our pay" during negotiations launched this month on a new contract, according to the union, while (UAL) management will seek to eliminate "uncompetitive" restrictions on scheduling and cooperation with other airlines that it claims exist in the current contract amenable January 7, 2010. (UAL) is launching negotiations for new contracts with six unions representing nearly 90% of its workforce this month and is seeking to reach agreements on work rules and compensation that will allow it to compete effectively with its rivals. The talks are not expected to be easy, with workers looking to at least partially recover benefits cut during (UAL)'s lengthy bankruptcy restructuring.

In a letter sent to its (AFA) membership, (UAL) (MEC) President, Greg Davidowitch said increased pay would be "our number one priority." He added that in the union's opening proposal, "We make it clear that we expect (UAL) (CA) to lead the industry in hourly rates of pay." (AFA) also will seek "a single pay scale with an extension in longevity raises.

Discussions with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which represents 16,000 (UAL) employees, began. Their contract becomes amendable December 31.

(UAL) will launch daily service to Pittsburgh from both San Francisco and Los Angeles on September 2 aboard A319s.

(UAL) said it will complete its transition to a cashless cabin on its North American flights, except for United Express operations, on April 20. It began accepting credit cards for on board purchases on March 23.

(UAL) reintroduced on board "Economy Plus Upsell" following the launch of its new hand held credit card scanners, according to a communication from the (AFA)-(CWA) to its members. Up to three "upsells" enticing economy (Y) passengers to pay extra to sit in the roomier economy plus section are permitted on narrow body airplanes and up to 10 on wide bodies. The (AFA) told members that upselling should occur only after takeoff. "Not only would flight attendants (CA) be uncertain as to seat availability, potentially creating seat dupes, this would be a violation of our job scope and that of our customer service colleagues as well," the union stated. The (AFA) also alleged that setting up the hand held devices, which will enable (UAL) to move to a cashless cabin on North American flights from April 20, is interfering with (CA)'s safety-related tasks during boarding. "We need to be in our boarding positions after we complete our safety checks. Unless additional time is added to our preflight duties to compensate for that loss of time, there is no 'spare' time to be setting up hand held devices."

USA airlines may be able to return to profit this year despite the recession owning to fortuitous decisions made in the first half of last year in response to high oil prices, according to AirTran Airways (CQT) CFO, Arne Haak and (UAL) Senior VP Planning, Kevin Knight. Speaking during the (FAA) Aviation Forecast Conference in Washington, the pair agreed that the current environment is less threatening to carriers than when per-barrel crude oil prices topped $150 in the first half of 2008, particularly given the industry-wide move to counter energy costs by cutting capacity, grounding older airplanes, trimming workforces and imposing ancillary fees. "The headwinds we are facing today are not as severe as the headwinds we were getting with $150 oil," Haak said, adding, "in a strange way as an industry, we were probably fortunate to have oil prices go over >$150 last year." Knight claimed that high fuel costs "led us to make adjustments that are serving us well, namely reducing capacity .

737-322 (322 (23957) returned and 737-522 (26662) WFU at Victorville.

May 2009: 2 737-522s (26663; 26667), WFU at Victorville.

June 2009: (UAL) said it will cut an additional -600 flight attendant (CA) positions this year, bringing the total number of flight attendant job reductions planned in 2009 to more than >-2,000. The cuts reportedly will begin August 31. "We will offer our flight attendants (CA) a voluntary package and hope to receive enough responses to prevent any involuntary furloughs," (UAL) said. (UAL) and cabin staff represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA in April launched negotiations on their labor contract that is amenable January 7, 2010.

FltOps.com, an assistance service for professional pilots (FC), recently released a report of what each major USA carrier pays its captains and first officers. For the eleven largest USA airlines, including freight carriers FedEx (FED) and (UPS), the average annual pay for a first-year first officer flying the smallest mainline airplane is about $36,000. But the range between the best and worst paying airlines is large, with (FED) paying $51,000 and US Airways (AMW)/(USA) just $22,000. Southwest Airlines (SWA) is the second highest paying at the entry level ($50,000), while Continental Airlines (CAL) and United Airlines (UAL) are tied for second last at $27,000. At the other end of the scale are long tenured captains flying the largest airplanes, who earn an average of $165,000 per year. Again, the cargo carriers are tops with (UPS) and (FED) paying $231,000 and $211,000, respectively. The best paying passenger airline is (SWA) ($181,000), quite remarkable considering its pilots (FC) only fly narrow body 737s. The worst is JetBlue (JBL) ($123,000). Flt.Ops.com notes that pilots (FC) can earn considerably more than their base pay through international overrides, overtime work, per diems and other items.

Recently released federal government employment figures for airline pilots (FC) and mechanics (MT) run counter to data compiled by private organizations and the personal stories of highly-trained pilots (FC) standing in unemployment lines. FltOps.com recently held a pilot (FC) recruiting conference in Dallas-Fort Worth in which only a handful of airlines were on hand to interview pilots (FC). Last year’s event drew 35 airlines, spelling out how drastic the drop in pilot (FC) hiring has been, as air carriers quit hiring and in many case furlough pilots (FC). FltOps.com says the 15 largest USA airlines it tracks hired 2,300 pilots (FC) in 2006 and 2,440 in 2007. But last year, only 1,300 pilots (FC) found jobs. Through the first four months of 2009, only 28 new pilots (FC) joined the 15 air carriers. FltOps.com’s figures jive with that of AIR Inc, the aviation career information service, that for two decades served as a reservoir of data on pilot (FC) hirings. But if anyone needed more evidence of the worsening condition of the airline industry, Air Inc in February this year, shuttered its operation as a result of the sorry state of the economy worldwide, which has produced a dearth of new commercial pilot (FC) jobs as legacy airlines shed capacity, implementing pilot (FC) furloughs and layoffs while also putting off new flight deck crew (FC) hiring.

By the end of 2008, as the recession deepened, it became clear that the future would be bleak for newly minted flight school graduates. Air Inc said airline pilot (FC) hiring totals for 2008 were less than half of what they were the previous year, 6,479 compared to 13,157 in 2007.

However, the federal government says USA scheduled passenger airlines employed +2.3% more pilots (FC) and +5.9% more maintenance (MT) workers in 2008 than in 2007, while total industry jobs declined by -3.0%. According to the USA Department of Transportation (DOT)’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the seven large network carriers employed +1.1% more pilots (FC) and +8.6% more maintenance (MT) workers in 2008 than in 2007. The seven largest low-cost carriers (LCC)s employed +5.2% more pilots (FC) and -6.8% fewer maintenance (MT) workers from 2007 to 2008.

Delta Air Lines (DAL) had the largest increase in pilots (FC) of any network airline from 2007 to 2008,K while Alaska Airlines (ASA) had the greatest percentage decrease in pilot (FC) employment of the network airlines. United Airlines (UAL) had the largest increase in maintenance workers of any network airline from 2007 to 2008, while Northwest Airlines (NWA) had the smallest increase.

All of the low-cost carriers (LCC)s except Frontier Airlines (FRO) added pilots (FC) from 2007 to 2008. Spirit Airlines (SPR) had the largest increase in pilot (FC) employment followed by Allegiant Airlines (WJE). (WJE) had the largest increase in maintenance (MT) workers of any low-cost airline from 2007 to 2008, while (SPR) had the largest reduction. The seven network carriers employed 13.2 pilots per airplane in 2008, down from 13.5 pilots (FC) per airplane in 2007. The (LCC)s employed 11.2 pilots (FC) per airplane in 2008, down -1.8% from 11.4 pilots (FC) per airplane in 2007.

Alaska Airlines (ASA) had 12.0 pilots (FC) per airplane in 2008, down from 12.9 (FC) per airplane in 2007, the fewest of any network airline. Delta (DAL), with 14.9 per airplane, up from 14.3 per airplane in 2008, had the largest increase in the number of pilots (FC) per airplane from 2007 to 2008 and had the most pilots (FC) per airplane of any network carrier.

Allegiant (WJE) had 9.3 pilots (FC) per airplane in 2008, the fewest of any (LCC), compared to 9.6 pilots (FC) per airplane in 2007. Spirit (SPR), with 15.5 (FC) per airplane, up from 12.6 (FC) per airplane in 2007 had the most pilots (FC) per airplane in the (LCC)s group.

As regards airline mechanics (MT), the (BTS) said the passenger airlines had 8.9 maintenance (MT) workers per airplane in 2008, up from 8.3 per airplane in 2007. The network airlines had 12.9 maintenance (MT) workers per airplane in 2008, up from 12.3 (MT) per airplane in 2007. Spending by network airlines for outsourced maintenance increased from 42.5% of total maintenance spending in 2007 to 42.8% in 2008. The (LCC)s had 3.2 maintenance (MT) workers per airplane in 2008, down from 3.7 (MT) per airplane in 2007. Spending by (LCC)s for outsourced maintenance increased from 52.1% of total maintenance spending in 2007 to 54.6% in 2007.

(NWA) had 0.8 maintenance (MT) workers per airplane in 2008, the fewest of any network airline and unchanged from the 0.8 employees per airplane in 2007. (NWA)’s spending for outsourcing maintenance declined from 71.0% of total spending in 2007 to 65.9% in 2008. American Airlines (AAL) had 22.4 maintenance (MT) workers per airplane in 2008, the most of any network airline. (AAL)’s spending for outsourcing was 23.6% of total maintenance spending in 2008, the lowest percentage spending share of the network carriers.

Virgin America (VUS) had 1.7 maintenance (MT) workers per airplane in 2008 the fewest of any (LCC). Of the (LCC)s, Spirit (SPR) spent the smallest portion of its maintenance expense on outsourcing at 22.6%. Southwest (SWA) had the highest percentage share for outsourcing at 61.3%. Frontier (FRO) had 3.9 maintenance (MT) workers per airplane in 2008, the most of any (LCC) but down from 7.7 (MT) employees per airplane in 2007. (FRO)’s spending for outsourcing increased from 20.5% of total maintenance spending in 2007 to 24.9% in 2008.

In the news, Alaska Airlines (ASA) and its mechanics (MT) union produced a tentative agreement on a two-year contract extension, through October 17, 2011. The Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) represents 655 airline technicians (MT). (ASA) and the union announced that they expect the results of the ratification vote by late July. (AMFA) is the largest craft union representing airplane maintenance technicians (MT) and related employees and serves members at (ASA), Mesaba Airlines and (SWA).

But (SWA) pilots (FC) rejected a tentative five-year contract that would have increased their salaries and retirement benefits. Work to reopen contract talks with (SWA) will begin immediately, said Carl Kuwitzky, President of the (SWA) Pilots’ Association. Almost 51% of pilots (FC) voted against the agreement, which was reached in January after >2 years of talks. In the interim, the existing contract remains in effect. >95% of pilots (FC) voted. "We are naturally disappointed and acknowledge it was a very close vote," said Chuck Magill, VP Flight Operations for (SWA). "We reached a tentative agreement in good faith, and both sides put a lot of effort into getting to this point. We have an outstanding and highly productive group of Pilots (FC), and we appreciate their active involvement in the voting process. We welcome the opportunity for our negotiating teams to re-engage and work toward an agreement that best meets the needs of our company and our outstanding pilots during these challenging economic times."

Meanwhile, it is reported that the skies aren’t so friendly for Steffan Schmidt and Chris Campbell. They were recently found on a street in Seattle, at rush hour, holding signs more often used by panhandlers. “Two laid-off pilots (FC)” read Schmidt's sign. “Will Fly for Food” Campbell’s sign said. It’s a small industry, and there aren’t a lot of pilot (FC) gigs on Craigslist or Monster, said Campbell, who lost his job flying a corporate airplane. Schmidt was laid off from his job flying a corporate plane three months ago, and figured they would get some “exposure” by standing at a busy freeway ramp. “The normal way to find employment didn’t cut it,” he said. Schmidt said he wanted to get off unemployment, and not “waste any more tax dollars.” They're seeking pilot (FC) jobs, not handouts, but passersby offered them money and books, which they politely declined.

(UAL) sent a request for proposals (RFP) to both Boeing (TBC) and Airbus (EDS) "that could result in a potentially significant number of airplanes that could ultimately replace our wide body fleet," according to a letter to employees from Chairman & CEO, Glenn Tilton, with "The Wall Street Journal" pegging the potential order at 150 airplanes. "The analysis we have conducted for more than a year suggests that time [to order airplanes] may be now, and we will begin more specific discussions with the manufacturers about a potential order that could be placed as early as the fall, with deliveries extended well into the future," Tilton wrote. He implied it will be a winner-take-all competition: "The winner will place its new-generation airplanes with one of the largest operators of twin-aisle airplanes in the world." (UAL)'s wide body fleet currently comprises (TBC) airplanes exclusively.

The airline is "improving our cost structure, our on time performance and, importantly, our customer satisfaction," Tilton wrote, and now has "the opportunity to further leverage the good work we are doing with a fleet replacement strategy as one of the building blocks to running a great airline." He said (UAL) will be looking into a replacement for its 757-200 fleet in addition to the wide bodies.
"We will not invest in airplanes until we believe we can generate a return on our investment," he continued. "This work clearly presents a strategic opportunity for both (UAL) and the manufacturers, as this program will define our fleet strategy for the next 25 years. Our timing is opportune, as this is a competitive environment for manufacturers."

Tilton concluded: "We look forward to beginning the negotiation process with the manufacturers and to building on the good work we have accomplished together."

Though (UAL) announced it will buy up to 150 new jets as it replaces its wide-body fleet, (UAL) says it has no plans to purchase 747s or A380s. Instead, (UAL) is reportedly considering models such as the 777, which offer greater fuel efficiency.

(UAL) reassured investors that the (RFP) it submitted to (TBC) and Airbus (EDS) for "fleet renewal" and not growth and expressed confidence it will be able to finance any order it places. (UAL)'s credit facility rating was downgraded earlier by Fitch Ratings, which cautioned that (UAL) faces "a deepening liquidity crisis" and questioned its ability to finance a large long-haul airplane order.

Senior VP Corporate Planning & Strategy, Greg Taylor said (UAL) is "quite active" in looking to raise cash to improve its liquidity position and expects to announce "additional news on liquidity opportunities" when it releases its second-quarter financial results this summer. He said the new airplanes, if ordered, will be "largely replacement" for (UAL)'s aging long-haul fleet. He noted that half of its fleet will "hit 25 years" in age in 5 to 7 years. "We have time. There's no urgency to place an order," he said, mentioning A350s and 787s as possibilities. "We're not going to place an order that jeopardizes our liquidity position. If we get to the end of the summer and the deal [isn't attractive] or it's not the right time, we won't move forward with it."

As of March 31, (UAL)'s fleet comprised 396 airplanes with an average age of 13 years. It operates 55 A319-100s, 97 A320-200s, 25 737-300s, nine 737-500s, 97 757-200s, 35 767-300s, 52 777-200s and 26 747-400s. (UAL) will complete the phaseout of its 737s by year end, at which point it expects to operate some 350 airplanes.

737-322 (24228), WFU at Walnut Ridge and scrapped.

July 2009: The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) United Airlines (UAL) chapter, in a communication to members, said 2,100 flight attendants (CA) had been accepted for voluntary furloughs. Last year, (UAL) announced a reduction of 1,550 flight attendants (CA), which were all achieved through voluntary furloughs.

Continental Airlines (CAL) CEO, Larry Kellner said (CAL) is planning to develop a common information technology (IT) system with United Airlines (UAL) as part of their new relationship as partners in the Star Alliance (SAL). "What we continue to be focused on is getting (CAL) and (UAL) on a common platform," Kellner said.

(UAL) parent, UAL Corporation named Executive VP, John Tague President of (UAL) and added the Executive VP title to CFO, Kathryn Mikells.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) assessed an $80,000 civil penalty against (UAL) "for failing to disclose to consumers when flights sold by (UAL) were being operated under a code sharing arrangement." It said the Office of Aviation Enforcement & Proceedings "made a number of telephone calls" to (UAL)'s reservations number in January and found that agents "failed to disclose code sharing during a substantial number of those calls."

3 737-322s (23950, N318UA; 24243, N339UA; 24301, N350UA), and 737-522 (26671, N938UA), WFU at Victorville.

August 2009: United Airlines (UAL) announced that it will be moving its Operations Center to Willis Tower in downtown Chicago from its current location in the suburban town of Elk Grove near Chicago O'Hare (ORD). The move, which will affect 2,800 employees, was decided on after the airline and the City of Chicago "agreed to an economically viable incentive program that will ensure the city is competitive to other locations and makes financial sense for (UAL)," according to (UAL).

Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower and a prominent feature in Chicago's skyline, is one of the world's tallest buildings. "(UAL) and Chicago are inextricably linked and this move further deepens our commitment to the city and region," Chairman & CEO, Glenn Tilton said. "The actual move could begin as soon as the fall 2010," (UAL) said. (UAL) noted that it only utilizes two-thirds of the Elk Grove facilities, which were built in 1961 and would require $50 to $90 million in improvement costs if it were to stay there, "making it increasingly cost-prohibitive to continue operating the campus."

737-322 (24637, N372UA), and 737-522 (25290, N912UA), WFU at Victorville.

September 2009: United Airlines (UAL) furloughed 290 pilots (FC), part of its plan announced last year to radically "resize" itself. It plans to cut -7,000 jobs overall and already has let go more than >-1,100 pilots (FC). There are still more than >6,000 active (UAL) pilots (FC).

(UAL) will launch twice-daily, Chicago O'Hare (ORD) - Duluth, (ORD) - Asheville, Denver - Midland/Odessa, Los Angeles - El Paso, and daily, (DEN) - Louisville service on December 17 aboard SkyWest Airlines CRJ-200s.

(UAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL) and US Airways (AMW)/(USA) followed American Airlines (AAL)'s lead in imposing a $10 surcharge on travel on three peak days following upcoming holidays. The four carriers will tack the charge on to nearly all tickets for travel on November 29, the Sunday of the four-day USA Thanksgiving holiday weekend that traditionally is one of the country's busiest travel days, as well as the weekend of January 2 to 3, which follows a Friday New Year's Day.

737-322s (24319, N351UA; 24641, N376UA; 24656, N381UA), WFU at Victorville. (UAL) will retire its final 737, a 737-300 on October 28. It has operated 737s for more than >41 years, having placed the launch order for the 737-200 version in April 1965. According to an internal communication, the airplane has been numbered UA737 for its final journey, which begins at Washington Dulles with stops at Chicago O'Hare, Denver and Los Angeles, then on to San Francisco where it will be decommissioned at (UAL)'s maintenance base before being transported to Victorville for storage.

757-222 (25042, N531UA), returned to lessor.

October 2009: CFO, Kathryn Mikells told analysts and reporters that (UAL) expects to realize -$350 million in cost reductions this year, more than +$50 million more than it anticipated at the end of June. "We have made significant progress relative to last year . . . generating what we believe will again be leading cost control among our peers, reducing our mainline unit costs even as we reduce capacity," she said.

(UAL) and its code sharing parents flew 31.43 billion consolidated (RPM)s traffic in the quarter, down -2.9%, against a -5.7% drop in capacity to 34.03 billion (ASM)s. Load factor rose +2.5 points to 84.9% LF. Yield dropped -17.1% to 13.05 cents, while passenger (RASM) was down -14.7% to 11.1 cents, and operating unit revenue fell -15.5% to 11.97 cents. Consolidated (CASM) was cut -23.9% to 11.73 cents.

(UAL) will launch twice-daily, Washington Dulles - Pensacola (PNS) flights on February 11 aboard a Mesa Airlines CRJ. (UAL) also will operate twice-weekly, (PNS) - Chicago O'Hare service February 13 to June 6.

The USA (FAA) proposed $9.2 million in civil penalties against US Airways (AMW)/(USA) and (UAL) for violations related to federal airworthiness directives (AD)s and/or the airlines' own federally approved maintenance programs. The actions came as the (FAA) appears to be taking a tougher line with carriers regarding violations of regulations and (AD)s. It announced last month measures to improve its response to safety issues, emphasizing that it no longer would refer to airlines as its "customers."

The proposed $3.8 million civil penalty against (UAL) alleges that the airline operated one of its 737s on more than >200 flights after violating its own maintenance procedures on one of the airplane's engines. In April 2008, the 737 returned to Denver after shutting down an engine owing to low oil pressure indications. During a teardown the following week, mechanics (MT)s found that two shop towels had been used to cover openings in the oil sump area "instead of required protective caps" when maintenance was done in December 2007. "We immediately reported the incident and our findings to the (FAA)," a (UAL) spokesperson said "(UAL) has the highest standards for safety and we are fully confident we took appropriate and necessary measures to ensure those standards are met." The two airlines have 30 days to respond to the (FAA).

United Airlines (UAL) plans to borrow more than >$659 million, using 31 of its airplanes as collateral, to refinance debt, the "Associated Press (AP)" reported. "We are seeking to refinance existing debt to take advantage of current market conditions to strengthen our balance sheet and reduce our debt payment obligations over the next couple of years," (UAL) said in a statement. The (AP) reported that the airplanes backing the loan comprise 10 A319s, six A320s, seven 767s, five 747s and three 777s.

(UAL) announced a "premier baggage" offering under which passengers can purchase a one-year checked-baggage-fee "subscription" that will allow them to check two bags for no additional cost when flying on (UAL). The "introductory price" for the subscription is $249, (UAL) said. "The premier baggage subscription gives customers the ability to travel with a streamlined check-in process and additional convenience," Senior VP Worldwide Sales & Distribution, Jeff Foland said.

Swissport renewed its agreement with (UAL) to provide cargo handling service at Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago O'Hare until 2012. It has handled the airline in these locations since 2003.

Operated its last (UAL) 737 flight. All (UAL) 737s withdrawn from use (WFU).

(UAL) currently has 1,166 pilots (FC) on furlough. (UAL) announced an additional +290 pilots will be furloughed on November 15. This should be the last group furloughed.

November 2009: United Airlines (UAL) will launch its first flights to Africa next spring when it begins serving Accra and Lagos daily from Washington Dulles (IAD). It also announced extension of its daily (IAD) - Kuwait City (KWI) 777 service to Bahrain (BAH), and a new Chicago O'Hare (ORD) - Brussels (BRU) flight. The daily, (IAD) - Accra - Lagos flight will commence May 2 and be operated by a 767. The (KWI) - (BAH) leg will begin April 2, while the (ORD) - (BRU) 767 service will launch on March 28. (UAL) currently serves (BRU) from (IAD).

(UAL) will operate seasonal daily, Chicago O'Hare - Rome Fiumicino service May 1 to August 31 aboard a 767.

(UAL) parent, (UAL) Corporation named VP Corporate Real Estate, Ajay Singh as VP Business Management & Information Technology (IT), and appointed Managing Director Procurement, Kate Gebo to succeed Singh. In addition, Praveen Sharma was named Managing Director Mileage Plus Finance, Strategy & Information Technology (IT).

A (UAL) pilot (FC) Captain Erwin Washington was arrested at London Heathrow and charged with "being aviation staff performing an aviation function whilst exceeding the proscribed alcohol limit," according to a Scotland Yard statement. The pilot (FC) was scheduled for UA Flight 949, a 767 with 124 passengers and 11 crew, to Chicago O'Hare. In a communication to employees, (UAL) President, John Tague said, "We are gathering the facts, doing our own investigation and will most assuredly take appropriate action based on the outcome," adding, "The other flight crew (FC) members on this flight demonstrated the absolute right course of action, consistent with their training, by raising their concerns and taking steps that resulted in the appropriate action being taken." This pilot (FC) was suspended, pending an investigation and was to appear before London magistrates on November 20, "Reuters" reported. The 44-year-old pilot (FC) was led off the 767 flight to Chicago following a tip-off by members of airport staff. Another (UAL) pilot was charged last May when he was arrested for drinking alcohol.

If you've ever flown (UAL) and had luggage problems . . . you will appreciate this:

A musician named Dave Carroll recently had difficulty with (UAL). (UAL) apparently damaged his treasured Taylor guitar (worth $3500)
during a flight. Dave spent over 9 months trying to get (UAL) to pay for damages caused by baggage handlers to his custom Taylor guitar. During his final exchange with the United Customer Relations Manager, he stated that he was left with no choice other than to create a music video for "you tube" exposing their lack of cooperation. The Manager responded: "Good luck with that one, pal".

So he posted a retaliatory video on "you tube." The video has since
received over 5.5 million hits. (UAL) then contacted the musician and
attempted settlement in exchange for pulling the video. Naturally his
response was: "Good luck with that one, pal!"

Taylor Guitars sent the musician 2 new custom guitars in
appreciation for the product recognition from the video that has lead to a sharp increase in orders.

Here's the video ....

2 737-322s (24319, N351UA; 24654, N379UA), scrapped.

December 2009: United Airlines (UAL) said it expects fourth-quarter consolidated passenger (RASM) to fall -6.25% to -7.25% year-over-year to 11.09 to 11.21 cents, while mainline (PRASM) should be down -7.5% to -8.5% to 10.12 to 10.23 cents. CFO, Kathryn Mikells said in a note to employees that the consolidated unit revenue performance was some +8 points better than the third quarter drop and more than >+10 points improved from the second quarter, although she noted that (UAL) "still have a ways to go before a full recovery." It was -$411 million in the red through the first nine months of 2009.

Mikells cited "excellent performance managing costs," as (UAL) expects consolidated (CASM) excluding profit-sharing and non-cash net mark-to-market impacts to decline -7.9% to -8.2% to 12.46 to 12.5 cents, or by -8.7% to -9.1% to 11.74 to 11.79 cents on a mainline basis. Consolidated unit cost, excluding fuel and profit-sharing should rise +1% to +1.5% to 8.96 to 9 cents. She said (UAL) expects "to continue to lead the major network carriers in holding down year-over-year mainline non-fuel [CASM]." Consolidated fourth-quarter system capacity is expected to fall -3.3% to 33.67 billion (ASM)s, while mainline (ASM)s will drop -5.9% to 29.04 billion. Consolidated traffic is expected to change -0.5% to 0.5% year-over-year and mainline (RPM)s will fall -1.7% to -2.7%.

The USA and Japan announced that they reached agreement on an "open skies" accord that will liberalize access, largely removing restrictions on the number of airlines allowed to serve each market as well as the number of flights. The long-elusive pact, agreed to after an intensive fifth round of negotiations this year took place in Washington, is contingent upon approval of antitrust immunity (ATI) for transpacific joint ventures (JV)s between Japanese and USA carriers. (ANA) is seeking to form a (JV) with Star Alliance (SAL) partners United Airlines (UAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL), while Japan Airlines (JAL) intends to form a (JV) with either American Airlines (AAL) or Delta Air Lines (DAL), both of which are negotiating with (JAL) about taking a stake. The pact would replace a bilateral air services agreement that dates back to 1952, though it was expanded in 1998.

No time frame was given for when the new agreement will go into effect, but the sides are eyeing October 2010, when Tokyo Haneda (HND)'s fourth runway will open. A key to the USA side agreeing to an accord was gaining access to (HND), Tokyo's close-in airport that has been closed to USA airlines for more than >30 years. Under terms of the pact, USA carriers will secure four daily round trip slots at (HND) from October.

(UAL) Chairman, President & CEO, Glenn Tilton said (UAL) looks "forward to forming a joint venture (JV) across the Pacific with our longtime partner [ANA] and Continental (CAL)."

Later, as expected, United Airlines (UAL), Continental Airlines (CAL) and (ANA) filed an application with the USA Department of Transportation for antitrust immunity (ATI) across their combined transpacific network, which the carriers argued would generate "substantial service and pricing benefits for consumers." The application was made possible by the USA - Japan "open skies" agreement, implementation of which is contingent upon the (ATI) approval.

(UAL) serves Tokyo Narita (NRT) from Chicago O'Hare (ORD), Honolulu (HNL), Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle, and Washington Dulles (IAD), and flies to Osaka Kansai from (SFO). (CAL) serves (NRT) from Houston Intercontinental and Newark, while (ANA) flies to (ORD), (HNL), (LAX), (SFO), (IAD) and New York (JFK).

(UAL) and (CAL) received immunity (ATI) for a transatlantic joint venture (JV) with Lufthansa (DLH) and Air Canada (ACN) in July.

The USA Air Transport Association (ATA) announced that 15 airlines have signed Memos of Understanding (MOU)s with either AltAir Fuels, Rentech or both expressing nonbinding commitment to support future biofuel supply. Air Canada (ACN), American Airlines (AAL), Atlas Air (TLS), Delta Air Lines (DAL)/(NWA), FedEx Express (FED), JetBlue Airways (JBL), Lufthansa (DLH), Mexicana (CMA), Polar Air Cargo (PAO), United Airlines (UAL), (UPS) Airlines, and US Airways (AMW)/(USA) signed with both providers. Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Hawaiian Airlines (HWI) went with AltAir only and AirTran Airways (CQT) signed with Rentech. The (ATA) said discussions with additional fuel producers "about other projects" have started. "This agreement is a significant step forward, establishing a framework for a large group of diverse carriers to negotiate a definitive fuel purchase agreement," Rentech President & CEO, D Hunt Ramsbottom said.

AltAir is working on producing some 75 million gallons of jet and diesel fuel derived from camelina oils or comparable feedstock per year at a new plant in Anacortes, Washington, USA. Rentech plans to produce around 250 million gallons per year of synthetic jet fuel derived principally from coal or petroleum coke near Natchez, Mississipi, USA with the resultant carbon dioxide sequestered and the carbon footprint potentially further reduced by integrating biomass as a feedstock. Last summer, eight airlines operating at Los Angeles International (LAX) signed a deal with Rentech for the supply of a renewable synthetic diesel fuel for use in ground service equipment (GSE).

(UAL) announced an order for 25/50 787 Dreamliners and 25/50 A350-900s, claiming that the "breadth in size and capabilities of the different airplane models ensure (UAL) has the right airplanes for the right market through the fleet replacement cycle." The order was (UAL)'s first for new airplanes since 1998.

(UAL) plans to take delivery of the airplanes in the 2016 to 2019 time frame, when it plans to retire its 747 and 767 fleets. The new airplanes will have about -19% fewer seats than the ones they replace and will contribute to a -10% reduction in seats across the entire international fleet, (UAL) said. Airplanes secured through the purchase rights eventually will substitute for its 777s.

"Our decision to move forward aggressively at the bottom of the business cycle clearly benefited us," CFO, Kathryn Mikells said. "The orders require minimal capital over the next few years but ensure we will have the right planes to strengthen our global network over the next decade." The firm orders will require a cash outflow of $60 million over the next three years. (UAL) said it secured "important deferral and substitution rights" from both Boeing (TBC) and Airbus (EDS), along with "considerable backstop financing."

Rolls-Royce (RRC) said the (UAL) A350-900 accompanying (Trent XWB) order, along with a long-term TotalCare service contract, is worth $2 billion at list prices. (UAL) has not chosen between the (GEnx) and (Trent 1000) for the 787s.

Regarding the reasoning behind ordering from both manufacturers rather than benefitting from the economies of scale that would accompany a larger commitment to a single type, (UAL) said: "Neither manufacturer offers next-generation airplanes sized to optimally serve all of the current and future markets in (UAL)'s network. This mix . . . give[s] us the right range of airplane sizes needed to replace both our 747 and 767 airplanes. The economic benefit of placing the right size airplanes into each market overwhelms any benefit from ordering from one manufacturer."

It added: "The new airplanes will open up new revenue opportunities for (UAL) as the smaller size, longer range and lower operating costs of these airplanes allow (UAL) to profitably serve a broader range of international destinations." In a communication to employees, Chairman, President & CEO, Glenn Tilton said that (UAL) "will consider narrow body re-fleeting next year."

January 2010: SEE ATTACHED "UAL-2011-01-2010 WORLD TOP TRAFFIC."

United Airlines (UAL) parent, UAL Corporation posted a 2009 net loss of -$651 million, narrowed -87.9% from a -$5.4 billion loss in 2008, and said it and the airline industry must continue to pare down costs.
Its net loss was -$1.1 billion excluding non cash, mark-to-market fuel hedge gains. Chairman & CEO, Glenn Tilton said there are "early signs of a recovery" evident, but warned that "structural issues exist that extend beyond the control of any airline." He cited "excessive taxation, inadequate Air Traffic Control [ATC] infrastructure and outdated regulation" as factors impeding the USA airline industry from reaching its potential. He added that the industry itself still needs to make major changes: "The cost structure of the industry is too high. It is burdensome. We need to take costs out even in robust times." He said technology, unbundling services and partnerships with other airlines will be key. He said (UAL) has achieved "cost control" over the last two years but must continue to look aggressively for ways to trim expenditures. "There is no upside to decision avoidance," he said. "There are no sacred cows."

Executive VP & CFO, Kathryn Mikells said that "capacity discipline" will remain important for (UAL), with mainline capacity this year projected to be down -0.5% to -1.5% and first-quarter mainline capacity down -4% to -5% year-over-year. President, John Tague said (UAL) is seeing improved business class (C) bookings but cautioned, "Our premium fares aren't anywhere near where they were during the peak and for us to optimize the business, we need to find a way to get them back there."

Revenue for 2009 decreased -19.1% to $16.34 billion, while expenses lowered -33% to $16.5 billion, producing an operating loss of -$161 million, narrowed -96.4% from an operating loss of -$4.44 billion in 2008. Mainline traffic slid -8.7% to 100.48 billion (RPM)s on a -9.7% cut in capacity to 122.74 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 81.9% LF, up +0.9 point. Mainline yield decreased -15% to 11.81 cents, as (RASM) dropped -14.1% to 10.81 cents, and (CASM) fell -29.8% to 11.05 cents. (CASM) excluding fuel and special items lowered -0.6% to 7.94 cents.

Fourth-quarter net loss was -$240 million, narrowed -81.7% from a -$1.32 billion deficit in the year-ago period, on a -7.8% dip in revenue to $4.19 billion. Operating loss was -$74 million, narrowed -90.9%.

(UAL) will operate a seasonal, Chicago O'Hare (ORD) - Anchorage (ANC) service weekly, May 22 to June 8 and eight-times-weekly, June 9 to August 30. Daily flights to Anchorage from San Francisco and Denver also will operate June 9 to August 30. A weekly (ORD) - (ANC) flight will continue September 4 to September 25.

(UAL) continues its support of the earthquake relief effort in
Haiti with a flight between Chicago O'Hare and Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (UAL) is transporting 15,000 pounds of water donated by
Walgreens, 384 sleeping tents from "Feed the Children" and communications equipment from "Airline Ambassadors." On the flight (UAL) is also carrying relief workers from some of the above organizations as well as "Edge Outreach," "Ramopo Haitian Task Force" and "World Vision." Returning to Chicago (UAL) will be transporting people from Haiti to the United States. This is the first of up to 30 flights that (UAL) will operate between Haiti and the USA.

"These flights will deliver thousands of pounds of food, water and
necessary medical supplies to our neighbors in Haiti who are in great
need," said Sonya Jackson, President of the "(UAL) Foundation."
"Providing our airplanes to transport these much-needed resources to and from Haiti will save lives and help it recover from this devastating event."

Aer Lingus (ARL) and United Airlines (UAL) said the first flight operated under the transatlantic marketing and code share arrangement announced one year ago, will be an (ARL) A330 service between Madrid and Washington Dulles on March 28. "It is anticipated that additional routes may be made available for sale during 2010 to commence operation in summer 2011," (ARL) said.

(UAL) will lay off -140 employees this month, including -50 at Chicago O'Hare airport (ORD), the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers told the "Chicago Tribune." An additional 100 customer service and ramp workers will be demoted to part-time status. A (UAL) spokesperson told the paper the moves are a "result of our overall reduction in capacity." Mainline capacity (ASM)s fell -9.7% in 2009.

The USA Department of Transportation (DOT) fined (UAL) $30,000 for failing to include the 7.5% federal excise tax in fares published on its website during a 60-hour period. (UAL) was fined $75,000 last August for failing to provide proper notice of taxes and fees at the first point of publication and for publishing one-way fares without making it clear that those fares were valid only on a round-trip ticket. The (DOT) suspended half of the August fine and stipulated that it would have to be paid only if (UAL) committed another violation in the ensuing year. As a result of the excise tax violation, (UAL) now will have to pay the additional +$37,500.

(UAL) parent, (UAL) Corporation named Global Hyatt Corporation CMO and CIO, Thomas O'Toole, as Senior VP & CMO.

The Mesa Air Group (MAG) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a USA court in New York, saying the process is needed for it to become a "leaner" entity able to compete in the future.
Phoenix-based, (MAG) said in a statement that it "will continue to operate as normal, without interruption" during the restructuring. "After careful consideration, the company determined that a Chapter 11 filing provides the most effective and efficient means to restructure with minimal impact on the business and our customers," Chairman & CEO, Jonathan Ornstein said. "This process will allow us to eliminate excess airplanes to better match our needs and give us the flexibility to align our business to the changing regional airline marketplace." He added that despite efforts over the last two years to trim costs and debt, (MAG) is "nonetheless faced with an untenable financial situation resulting primarily from our continued lease obligations on airplane excess to our current requirements . . . Our company has ample liquidity to support itself during this process and we are confident we will emerge from Chapter 11 an even stronger operation." It announced neither job cuts nor a time-line for emerging from bankruptcy.

The troubled regional operator said in court filings that 52 of its 130 airplanes are parked and that it needs to retire an additional 25, according to "Reuters." (MAG) operates independently as Mesa Airlines but the bulk of its operations involve code sharing flights with major partners Delta Air Lines (dal), US Airways (AMW)/(USA) and United Airlines (UAL).

In November, (UAL) significantly scaled back (MAG)'s flying on its behalf, terminating an agreement for operation of 26 50-seat CRJs, with the airplanes to be phased out by April 30. (DAL) has filed suit to cancel its agreement with (MAG), which said bankruptcy will allow it to bring its legal dispute with (DAL) to a "more timely conclusion." (MAG) said it is seeking $70 million in damages from (DAL).

Mesa's Hawaiian inter-island subsidiary, "go!," which operates as part of a joint venture with Republic Airways Holdings' Mokulele Airlines, is not included in the bankruptcy filing.

(MAG) said in court filings that its assets were $975 million and its liabilities stood at $869 million as of September 30, 2009. Bombardier is its largest creditor, with (MAG) owing the manufacturer more than >$130 million. Bombardier said it will work with (MAG) as the bankruptcy process moves forward. (MAG) has 10 CRJ-700s on order for delivery starting in 2013; it is unclear whether it will attempt to shed these commitments in Chapter 11.

(UAL) is raising the fee charged for the first checked bag on domestic flights to $25 from $20, and on the second bag to $35 from $30 for travel from January 21, matching increases announced by Delta Air Lines (DAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL).

INCDT: The USA National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the (FAA) are investigating a recent emergency landing this month by a United Airlines (UAL) A319 at Newark (EWR) after its right landing gear failed to deploy. The airplane, en route from Chicago O'Hare, reportedly abandoned its initial landing attempt at (EWR) owing to the landing gear problem. The pilots (FC) said that it would not deploy and decided to land the airplane on a second attempt with just the nose and left main gear deployed. There were no injuries among the 53 passengers and crew.

747-422 (26876, N187UA), WFU at Victorville.

February 2010: United Airlines (UAL) announced the following new routes, all launching June 9: Chicago O'Hare to Anchorage (through September 25), Maui (through August 14), Billings (through August 23 operated by SkyWest Airlines), Kalispell and Missoula (each through August 30 operated by SkyWest) and Jackson Hole (through Sept. 30); Denver to Anchorage (through August 30), Traverse City (through August 23 operated by SkyWest) and Minot (operated by SkyWest); Los Angeles to Bozeman, Jackson Hole and Aspen (each through August 23 operated by SkyWest); San Francisco to Anchorage (through August 23) and Bozeman (through November 3 operated by SkyWest); Washington Dulles to Colorado Springs (operated by SkyWest) and Quebec City (through November 3 operated by Trans States Airlines).

United Airlines (UAL) promoted VP Financial Planning & Analysis, Rohit Philip to the new position of Senior VP Corporate Strategy & Business Development. Managing Director Investor Relations, John Gebo was named to succeed Philip and Tyler Reddien will succeed Gebo.

Airports in the USA Mid-Atlantic and Northeast reopened as the regions began to dig out from back-to-back storms that produced record snow accumulation in some areas. Seven consecutive days of snow removal were required at Washington Dulles and National, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said. Baltimore, Philadelphia and the three major New York area airports also were operational, although airlines continued to cancel flights as they sought to reposition airplanes and employees and return to normal operation.

According to FlightStats, American Airlines (AAL)had canceled 465 of the 1,419 scheduled departures tracked, or 32.8%. The number of departures tracked represented 72.4% of the total. Continental Airlines (CAL) canceled 13.2% of its 675 tracked departures, representing 69.9% of the total schedule. Delta Air Lines (DAL) canceled 10.4% of its 1,658 tracked departures, representing 69.6% of its total. United Airlines (UAL) canceled 13.8% of its 741 tracked departures, representing 64.5% of its total. US Airways (AMW)/(USA) canceled 24.2% of its 921 tracked departures, representing 68.7% of its total. Southwest Airlines (SWA) canceled 22.4% of its 2,012 tracked departures, representing 62.9% of its total, FlightStats reported.

(UAL) finalized its order for 27 787-8s worth $4.2 billion at list prices, Boeing (TBC) announced. The contract includes 50 purchase rights. (UAL) said it expects to take delivery of the 787s, as well as the A350s it also plans to acquire, between 2016 and 2019. It said it expects its A350 order to be finalized this quarter.

March 2010: USA airlines presenting at the Transportation Conference in New York agreed that they see signs of a nascent industry recovery but that they will maintain cost and capacity discipline for now. "We're clearly seeing signs of economic recovery and premium and corporate travelers returning," (UAL) Corporation's CFO, Kathryn Mikells said, adding, "The return of higher quality traffic, combined with the significant reductions in capacity that we undertook in 2009, has really begun to improve our relative revenue results." American Airlines (AAL) Executive VP Finance & Planning and CFO, Tom Horton said first-quarter mainline passenger (RASM) will be up +6.5% to +7.5% year-over-year, while Continental Airlines (CAL) Chairman, President & CEO, Jeff Smisek said (CAL) is "seeing business (C) travel begin to return." Delta Air Lines (DAL) agreed that corporate sales trends are improving, though its system capacity at the end of the first quarter will be down -4% to -5% year-over-year. (DAL) President, Ed Bastian said (DAL) will "continue to maintain that level of capacity restraint."

From the low-cost sector, Southwest Airlines (SWA) said it is taking a slow approach to expanding in new markets, remaining focused on improving profitability rather than increasing fleet size. CFO, Laura Wright said (SWA) wants additional slots at New York LaGuardia and that it will be filing comments in the next few weeks to express interest. "We don't have an expectation to have 100 flights a day at LaGuardia, but we know we've got demand for more than the eight that we have today," she said. Slots might become available if US Airways (AMW)/(USA) and (DAL) proceed with their slot swap agreement. AirTran Airways (CQT) said it expects capacity growth of +3% to +4% over the next year owing to higher utilization and will maintain a conservative fleet plan for the "next couple of years." It expects to take delivery of seven airplanes over the next year. JetBlue Airways (JBL) has decided to take four A320s in 2011 rather than the eight previously planned, along with five EMB-190s, according to the "Associated Press."

(UAL) and AirTran Airways (CQT) revealed the amount of revenue lost as a result of last month's record-breaking snowstorms in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast USA. (UAL) said the storms cost it -$40 million in foregone revenue as consolidated February (RASM) rose +17% to +19% year-over-year as system capacity dropped -5.3%. It would have been down just -1.8% without cancellations resulting from the winter weather. (UAL) flew 7.82 billion (RPM)s traffic during the month, up +2.1%, while capacity (ASM)s were down to 9.93 billion. Load factor rose +5.7 points to 78.7% LF.

AirTran (CQT) said it already has cancelled more than >1,400 flights in 2010 with a revenue hit of -$5 to -$6 million. It did not reach that number in 2009 until November. It now expects to report a +6% year-over-year increase in first-quarter capacity rather than the +7% to +8% it had expected. First-quarter yield is up +3.5% to +4.5% year-over-year, more than the +2.5% to +3.5% formerly forecast, while unit cost excluding fuel is up +4% to +5% rather than +2.5% to +3% "due to operational disruptions," it said.

Continental Airlines (CAL) (-$25 million), Southwest Airlines (SWA) (-$15 million), and US Airways (AMW)/(USA) (-$30 million) also have estimated the weather's revenue impact.

(UAL) parent, (UAL) Corporation named PepsiAmericas VP Human Resources, Dana Sacks, as (UAL) VP Human Resources (HR) Partners & Talent Acquisition. (UAL) Corporation named Schering-Plough Executive VP & General Counsel, Thomas Sabatino Jr as Senior VP, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, effective March 29.

United Airlines (UAL) will launch daily Washington Dulles - Accra flights, its first nonstop service to Africa, on June 20. (UAL) is awaiting Nigerian approval to extend the flight to Lagos.

INCDT: The USA National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said it is investigating a near midair collision Saturday March 27th, involving a United Airlines (UAL) 777-200 departing San Francisco and a private airplane that came within 300 ft of each other. According to the (NTSB), the incident occurred at about 11:15 am local time. UA Flight 889 carrying 268 passengers and crew was cleared to take off from Runway 28L and climb to an initial altitude of 3,000 ft. The First Officer (FC), who was flying the airplane, reported that as the jet was at about 1,100 ft the tower controller reported traffic at his 1 o'clock position. Immediately following the controller's advisory, the airplane's (TCAS) sounded a traffic alert. The pilots (FC) saw an Aeronca 11AC "in a hard left turn traveling from their 1 o'clock to 3 o'clock position. The First Officer (FC) pushed the control column forward to level the airplane. Both flight crew (FC) members reported seeing only the underside of the Aeronca as it passed to within an estimated 200 to 300 ft of the 777," the (NTSB) said. The 777's (TCAS) then issued an "Adjust Vertical Speed" alert, followed by a "Descend, Descend" alert. The First Officer (FC) complied and the flight continued to Beijing without further incident, according to the (NTSB).

United Airlines (UAL) firmed its order for 25 A350-900s. The A350-900s be powered by Rolls-Royce (RRC) (Trent XWBs). (UAL), which will take delivery of the A350-900s in 2016 through 2019, signed a contract for 25 787-8 Dreamliners last month.

April 2010: United Airlines (ual)parent UAL Corporation posted a first-quarter net loss of -$82 million, significantly narrowed from a -$382 million deficit in the year-ago period, and noted that it was profitable on an operating basis for the first time in a year's initial reporting period since 2000. Chairman, President & CEO, Glenn Tilton reiterated the company's long-held position that industry consolidation is necessary but declined to comment extensively on speculation that (UAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL) are engaged in merger negotiations. "We are thoughtfully considering our options," he told analysts and reporters. "The stars have to be aligned across the full spectrum of considerations for any two companies to consider going down [the merger] road." He said (UAL) would only enter into a combination if it believed that it could achieve "net synergies," meaning that revenue synergies would outweigh the costs relating to the "complexity" associated with a major integration. (UAL) - (CAL) talks reportedly have hit an impasse over how to price what is expected to be an all-stock transaction.

Regarding first-quarter performance, Tilton said that "early signs of recovery in business and premium demand" helped boost results. CFO, Kathryn Mikells added that there were also "strong signs of recovery" in cargo demand and yield and that the carrier is "well on our way to profitability." She and Tilton noted that the company continues to make improving its liquidity position a priority and raised its unrestricted cash balance to $3.5 billion as of March 31, up +$500 million from the end of 2009. (UAL) has "one of the strongest liquidity positions among the [USA] network carriers," Tilton claimed. Mikells said it is in position "to outperform as the economic recovery takes hold."

First-quarter revenue rose +14.9% to $4.24 billion, while expenses increased +5% to $4.17 billion, producing an operating profit of +$69 million, reversed from an operating loss of -$282 million last year. Mainline traffic lifted a slight +0.1% to 22.89 billon (RPM)s on a -6.1% cut in capacity to 28.16 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 81.3% LF, up +5 points. Mainline yield rose +11.9% to 13.17 cents as (RASM) increased +19.5% to 12.08 cents and (CASM) heightened +8.3% to 11.92 cents. (CASM) ex-fuel was up +5.6% to 8.45 cents.

May 2010: In what they described as "a merger of equals," Continental Airlines (CAL) and United Airlines (UAL) announced the two companies will combine in an all-stock transaction in which Continental (CAL) shareholders will receive 1.05 shares of United (UAL) common stock for each (CAL) share they own.

(UAL) shareholders will own approximately 55% of the combined holding company, which will be named United Continental Holdings with "United" the name of the surviving airline. The transaction has a "combined value of over >$8 billion," the companies said.

(UAL) Chairman, President & CEO, Glenn Tilton will serve as the Non-executive Chairman of the board of United Continental through December 31, 2012, or the second anniversary of the deal's closing. (CAL) Chairman, President & CEO, Jeff Smisek will be CEO and will add the title of Executive Chairman upon Tilton's ceasing to be Non-executive Chairman.

In addition to Smisek and Tilton, the 16-member board will include six independent directors from each of the two companies and two union directors, required under (UAL)'s charter. In a statement, the companies said that the management team "is expected to include an equitable and balanced selection of executives from each company with the intention that each will contribute roughly equal numbers."

Corporate and operational headquarters will be in Chicago, current HQ to (UAL), which is approximately +30% larger than (CAL) based on 2009 annual revenues of $16.3 billion versus $12.6 billion for (CAL). Houston-based, (CAL) flew 79.8 billion (RPM)s traffic in 2009 versus 100.5 billion for (UAL). Based on 2009 results, the merged carrier will be slightly larger than Delta Air Lines (DAL)/(NWA) ($28.1 billion in revenues last year).

The companies expect synergies of $1 to $1.2 billion annually by 2013 including $800 to $900 million of incremental annual revenues and $200 to $300 million in net cost synergies. One-time merger costs are expected to total $1.2 billion spread over a three-year period.

"Today is a great day for our customers, our employees, our shareholders and our communities as we bring together our two companies in a merger of equals to create a world-class and truly global airline," Tilton said in a statement.

A more cautious view was taken by the airlines' pilot (FC) unions, which released a joint statement observing that "history has demonstrated that the integration of two airlines is always a difficult challenge. The support of the pilots (FC) is pivotal in determining whether a merger is successful or not, as will be the case with this merger…"

The merger is subject to approval by shareholders of both companies and must be reviewed by the USA Department of Justice. (UAL) and (CAL) expect to complete the transaction in the 2010 fourth quarter.

The merger between (CAL) and (UAL) will, if consummated, create the world's largest airline by traffic (RPK)s, serving 370 destinations in 59 countries with 692 mainline airplanes. "Together we create the world's most comprehensive network. Our networks quite literally complete each other, with little overlap and with strategically located hubs that provide gateways to the Pacific, the Atlantic, Latin America, the Middle East, Hawaii and Micronesia," (UAL) Chairman, President & CEO, Glenn Tilton said in a webcast announcing the deal.

In addition to an extensive domestic network with little nonstop overlap, the combined carriers will serve 31 transpacific destinations in 14 countries with 62 daily departures, 72 destinations in 24 Latin American countries with 156 daily departures and 34 transatlantic destinations in 21 countries with 74 daily departures. "Put simply, (CAL) is strong where (UAL) is weak, and (UAL) is strong where (CAL) is weak," Smisek said, noting that 57% of the carriers' capacity is deployed domestically, 20% across the Atlantic, 15% in the Pacific and 8% in Latin America. "We have no international route overlaps," he stated.

They operate six airplane types, with the 747-400 and the A320 family exclusive to (UAL and the 737 exclusive to (CAL). Both fly the 777, 767 and 757 and each has ordered the 787, while (UAL) also has chosen the A350-900. Commenting on the health of that order, Tilton said, "The A350's utility isn't changed by the fact that we've become one company."

(UAL) will be the surviving airline's name, while airplanes will sport the (CAL) livery, logo and colors (SEE PHOTO - - CAL UAL 787-9 DREAMLINER 2010-05). The combined company will have 10 USA hubs although not all are expected to survive the merger, with speculation centering on (CAL)'s Cleveland hub, which has been downsized over the years and is mostly served by regional jets operated by ExpressJet.

United Airlines (UAL) Chairman, President & CEO, Glenn Tilton told employees in a letter that he and Continental Airlines (CAL) Chairman, President & CEO, Jeff Smisek will head an "integration planning team" that will begin laying the groundwork for combining the two airlines. (UAL) and (CAL) announced earlier this month that they had reached agreement on a merger to create the world's largest airline by traffic (RPK)s, serving 370 destinations in 59 countries with 692 mainline airplanes. Tilton emphasized to (UAL) workers that "integration will not occur until after we have gained approval for the merger and closed the transaction." But he said, "planning for the integration will be critical to ensuring a smooth transition" and the integration planning team "will be focused on defining the process for bringing together our two companies."

The structure includes an Integration Steering Committee composed of Tilton, Smisek, (UAL) Executive VP & CFO, Kathryn Mikells, (UAL) Executive VP & COO, Pete McDonald, (CAL) Executive VP & CFO, Zane Rowe, and (CAL) Executive VP & CMO, Jim Compton. McDonald and Lori Gobillot, (CAL) Staff VP & Assistant General Counsel, will lead integration planning and report to the steering committee, Tilton said. McDonald and Gobillot will head an Integration Management Office "responsible for day-to-day integration planning and recommendations," Tilton wrote. "The Integration Management Office will focus on five significant bodies of work: Commercial, operations, corporate functions, Information Technology (IT) & systems integration, and single air operating certificate (AOC) planning. Each of the functional areas covered will have dedicated co-leaders appointed by each company." Those appointments have yet to be made.

(UAL) said that it completed the first flight by a USA airline using natural gas synthetic jet fuel. "This flight confirms our assumptions about how this fuel performs on a commercial airplane and is the next step in our effort to stimulate competition in the aviation fuel supply chain, promote energy security, environmental benefits and the creation of green jobs," Senior VP Operations, Joseph Kolshak said. The test flight was conducted using certified synthetic jet fuel produced by Rentech in a 40/60 mix with conventional Jet A in one of two engines on an A319.

The airplane departed Denver at 8:15 am local time and reached an altitude of 39,000 ft. "An onboard team collected data on the performance of the fuel during several maneuvers, including taxi, takeoff, climb, cruise, auxiliary power unit start, descent and approach," (UAL) said in a statement. "The fuel, derived from natural gas and converted to liquid fuel, is approved by (ASTM) International and is safe for use on passenger flights. It is a drop-in fuel, which means that it can be used in existing engines with no modifications required."

June 2010: United Airlines (UAL) flew 10.26 billion consolidated (RPM)s traffic in May, a +7.5% increase year-over-year. Capacity grew +3.3% to 12.31 billion (ASM)s and load factor increased +3.3 points to 83.3% LF.

(UAL) launched its first-ever service to Africa with a 767, flying from Washington Dulles to Accra. The service between the USA and Ghanian capitals is daily. "With the addition of service to Accra, (UAL) now offers customers nonstop service to points on six continents," Senior VP Worldwide Sales & Marketing, Jeff Foland said.

(UAL) planned to operate two "green corridor" transatlantic demonstration flights "using state-of-the-art flight planning to reduce environmental impact and save fuel."

(UAL) partnered with Nav Canada and UK NATS to determine the best routings. It said it would operate a 777 from Chicago O'Hare to Frankfurt and then a return flight using the same airplane. It was to use a flight planning system "to compute optimum routing, altitudes and speeds based on winds and airplane performance capabilities" and predicted it would "save nearly 6,400 pounds of fuel and will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 20,000 pounds" on the flights.

"We are focused on effecting a permanent change in flight planning and routing over the North Atlantic to achieve significant environmental impact improvements," Senior VP Operations, Joseph Kolshak said. "We expect this effort will serve as a model for how cooperation and coordination can generate meaningful progress in our drive to protect the environment and improve our operational efficiency."

(UAL) said it also will use external power and air-conditioning at the gates to limit the use of the 777's Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) and "will coordinate with O'Hare ground control to minimize taxi time to the runway, thereby reducing taxi fuel burn."

The flights were slated to employ (ADS-B) technology. "A variable Mach cruise approach will be the largest component of the test," (UAL) said. "Overall, the effort will study the environmental benefits, the costs of leveraging planned technological enhancements, applying airplane separation procedures and surveillance standards in the busiest corridor of airspace across the North Atlantic. This airspace combines a flexible transition corridor from continental Europe aligned with the oceanic airspace over southern Greenland and the East coast of Canada."

(UAL) announced it has introduced Zune in-flight audio on board its entire fleet, offering passengers complementary channels and pre-programmed playlists. (UAL) will continue to offer "From the Flight Deck" audio, which allows passengers to listen in on live communication between the flight deck and Air Traffic Control (ATC).

July 2010: United Airlines (UAL) parent, (UAL) Corporation reported second-quarter net income of +$273 million, significantly widened from a +$28 million profit in the year-ago period and its best second-quarter result since 1999.

(UAL) also touted progress in its planned merger with Continental Airlines (CAL), announcing that the two carriers jointly have "reached an agreement in principle" with pilots (FC) from both that "provides a framework for pilot (FC) operations of the two groups until the carriers' operating certificates are combined." (CAL) Chairman, President & CEO, Jeff Smisek said the transition accord "is a key first step in building a long-term, productive relationship between the combined company and our pilots (FC)." The companies said they expect to close the merger in the 2010 fourth quarter.

(UAL)'s second-quarter revenue jumped +28.4% to $5.16 billion. Chairman, President & CEO, Glenn Tilton noted that unit revenue on Asia operations rose +52% year-over-year with premium cabin revenue on transpacific flights up +46% compared to the prior-year quarter. "Asia continues to perform well and we're very excited about it," he said. "We expect our performance [in Asia] to be very competitive against our peers."

He noted that across the business, "corporate contracts, premium travel are currently performing very well." But (UAL) has no plans to add seats, Tilton assured: "We will remain fully committed to capacity discipline." He said (UAL) also will remain committed to ancillary revenue, which he called "the future" of the business. "I think there's a billion dollars [in revenue] in bags alone [per year] and right now we're only getting about $400 million," he said, adding that (UAL) and other carriers have "proven" the significance of un-bundling product offerings but are still far from fully tapping into ancillary revenue sources.

Second-quarter expenses rose +20.9% to $4.73 billion, and operating income expanded more than threefold to +$434 million compared to +$107 million in the year-ago period. Mainline traffic lifted +1.4% to 26.39 billion (RPM)s as capacity decreased -1.6% to 31.04 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 85% LF, up +2.5 points. Mainline yield heightened +24.6% to 14.03 cents, as (RASM) increased +28.8% to 13.34 cents and (CASM) grew +21.1% to 12.29 cents. (CASM) ex-fuel rose +4.3% to 8.04 cents.

Six airlines formed a member-based, not-for-profit organization called Open (AXIS) Group to promote a standardized XML (eXtensible Markup Language) schema as the optimal electronic messaging structure for airline system connectivity used in content distribution. The members are Air Canada (ACN), American Airlines (AAL), Continental Airlines (CAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL), United Airlines (UAL), and US Airways (AMW)/(USA). (ATPCO) has been invited to serve as the founding Allied Member and former Frontier Airlines (FRO) VP, Jim Young will serve as Executive Director.

The Open (AXIS) Group’s mission is to expand the adoption, promotion, enhancement and maintenance of a robust airline industry-standardized XML schema that supports a range of airline transactions, including booking and (PNR) management, multiple passenger management, ticketing, exchange, refunds, voids, optional services, bundling and (EMD) management. "Having this standard provides a one-stop shop for modern airline connectivity," said American Airlines (AAL) Director Merchandising Strategy, Cory Garner.

Membership is not a requirement to use the group's messaging standard; the XML schema is available to all on the group's website. "We plan on being an open, transparent and inclusive group," Young said. "The Open (AXIS) Group is structured to respond quickly to the fast-paced needs of the airlines."

August 2010: United Airlines (UAL) 2009 World Passenger Traffic = 161,663 Million (RPK)s (-8.5%) (World highest #4) (#4); Total Employees = 47,000 (-6.0%) (World Highest #5). SEE ATTACHED - - "UAL-2010-08-WLD RPK-2009."

United Airlines (UAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL) unveiled their post-merger livery, which features the "United" name in block capital letters on the fuselage but utilizes (CAL)'s tail logo and colors including its blue-gold-white globe image on the tail. "Both airlines have earned strong brand recognition in one of the world’s most visible and highly competitive businesses," (CAL)/(UAL) said in a statement. "The new visual identity builds upon the significant value of each airline’s current brand, while advancing the combined airline’s future brand image." SEE ATTACHED PHOTO - - "UAL-2010-08-NEW CAL MERGER LIVERY."

The USA Justice Department (JD) said that it has no more antitrust (ATI) concerns about the deal that would combine United (UAL) and Continental (CAL) into the world's largest airline. To win that approval, (CAL)/(UAL) had to open the door to Southwest Airlines (SWA) at Continental (CAL)'s hub in Newark, New Jersey, where it is the dominant carrier. The (JD) said leasing takeoff and landing permission to (SWA) in Newark cleared up its main competitive concern.

Shareholders at Continental Airlines Inc and United (UAL) parent, (UAL) Corporation are set to vote on the deal on September 17, and the Transportation Department (TD) has to approve it. The airlines now expect the deal to close by October 1.

The combined airline would leapfrog Delta Air Lines (DAL) Inc to become the world's biggest airline. (DAL) itself grabbed the top spot by buying Northwest Airlines (NWA) in 2008.

The Justice Department (JD) said it thoroughly investigated the (CAL) - (UAL) deal and concluded that their two networks mostly complemented each other, with overlaps on a limited number of routes.
But Newark stood out. (CAL) had 70.9% of Newark's passengers during the year that ended in June. (UAL) is only Newark's fifth-biggest airline, but most of its hubs also connect directly to Newark.

(CAL) and (UAL) operate 442 daily round trip flights in and out of Newark. The deal with (SWA) will give it enough of (CAL)'s slots to operate 18 round trip flights there by June 2011. The move increases competition for (CAL) at its Newark hub, as well as for (UAL). Currently, (SWA) operates a few flights at New York's LaGuardia Airport but none at Newark or Kennedy.

(SWA) is getting slots at both peak and off-peak travel times, (CAL) Chairman & CEO, Jeff Smisek told workers in a memo. Smisek will be CEO of the combined airline, which is to be called "United" and based in (UAL)'s hometown of Chicago.

(SWA)'s entrance to Newark won't change the estimates for revenue gains and cost savings from combining (CAL) and (UAL), (UAL) Chairman & CEO, Glenn Tilton told employees in a message. "We vigorously compete with (SWA) throughout our network," he said.

Mike Boyd, an airline and airport consultant in Colorado, said giving up a few slots at Newark was an easy decision for the combining giants. "(CAL) and (UAL) want to get this merger done," Boyd said, and if federal regulators "stick their nose in there and say, 'Give something up,' they're going to give it up."

Bob Jordan, (SWA)'s Executive VP Strategy, said Newark would complement (SWA)'s service at LaGuardia and increase competition in the New York market. (SWA), which is based in Dallas, said it was still deciding what cities it will serve from Newark. From LaGuardia, it flies only to Chicago and Baltimore.

September 2010: United Airlines (UAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL) have agreed on a path to obtain a single operating certificate (SOC) from the (FAA) that will see the merged carriers retain the "legacy Continental (CAL) operating certificate and the legacy United (UAL) repair station certificate," according to (UAL) VP Corporate Safety, Security, Quality & Environment, Michael Quiello.

The information was contained in a communication from Quiello to (UAL) employees. Achieving an (SOC) "is a long-term process that will follow a series of steps in a transition plan that we will submit to the (FAA) later this month," he said. It will "be the third and final stage in the merger process," following Closing Day, when the merger is legally completed, and Customer Day One, set for sometime next spring, when the two airlines' customer service systems are expected to be able to handle passengers from either airline. It is anticipated the (SOC) will take at least a year to accomplish from the date of the closing of the merger, expected by October 1.

Although both operating certificates contain "unique" advantages, the (CAL) certificate was selected "because of its enhanced technology authorizations and close conformity to standard (FAA) language as well as other regulatory and commercial considerations," Quiello stated. (UAL)'s maintenance certificate was selected because it "enables increased maintenance capabilities, enhanced repair station authorizations and greater maintenance volume."

As part of the merger process, the Continental Micronesia (MCR) operation will be combined with Continental (CAL)'s ahead of the (UAL) - (CAL) (SOC) transition. At present, Continental Micronesia (MCR) has its own air operating certificate (AOC).

Chicago Mayor, Richard Daley is pressing for a $1 billion bond issue to allow work to continue on a huge Cahicago O'Hare International Airport expansion, even though the airport's two biggest airlines have indicated they don't need the extra capacity. United Airlines (UAL) and American Airlines (AAL) are opposed to spending $3.3 billion on new runways and $2.2 billion on a new terminal, but airport officials insist the improvements are needed to accommodate long-term growth.

United Airlines (UAL) is among the carriers pulling its largest airplanes out of storage in the California desert as demand for long-range travel picks up. About 200 airplanes were recalled for service in May and June, and wide body planes like the 747 accounted for about 25% of that total. More than half the jumbo jets mothballed since January 2009 have now been returned to service.

Vladivostok Air (VLK) has entered into an interline partnership agreement with United Airlines (UAL) whereby customers of the two carriers can make connecting flights across either's network.

October 2010: United Airlines (UAL) reported third-quarter net income of +$387 million, reversed from a -$57 million loss in the year-ago period, while affiliate Continental Airlines (CAL) posted a third-quarter net profit of +$354 million, reversed from a -$18 million net deficit in the 2009 September quarter.

United Continental Holdings (UCH) earlier this month became the parent of the two carriers, which continue to operate independently for the time being.

(UAL)'s third-quarter revenue jumped +21.7% year-over-year to $5.39 billion, while expenses increased +11.8% to $4.86 billion, producing operating income of +$535 million, widened significantly from an operating profit of +$88 million in the year-ago period. (CAL) reported +19.2% year-over-year quarterly revenue growth to $3.95 billion. Expenses heightened +7.9% to 3.51 billion and operating income was +$441 million, a more than sevenfold increase over +$61 million last year.

(UCH) President & CEO, Jeff Smisek said the company aims to achieve 25% of the projected $1.2 billion in annual post-merger synergies in 2011. The overall integration is expected to take 12 to 18 months, but Smisek said the company will "start to bring home some quick wins," citing a route optimization process that has already started. He did not get into specifics regarding the post-merger fleet, saying, "We each bring a lot of value [in terms of airplanes]. We also have a lot of flexibility because (UAL) has [older] airplanes that, in a tough time, you can put down."

Executive VP & CFO, Zane Rowe said that "both (UAL) and (CAL) experienced [third-quarter] (RASM) strength in all regions." He noted that (UAL)'s premium transatlantic (RASM) lifted +18% year-over-year and that both carriers posted (RASM) growth of more than >15% on transatlantic economy (Y) seats.

(UAL) third-quarter mainline traffic rose +1.9% to 28.15 billion (RPM)s on a +0.7% upping of capacity to 32.43 billon (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 86.8% LF, up +1 point. Yield improved +17.6% to 13.86 cents as (RASM) heightened +19.4% to 13.31 cents and (CASM) rose +9.6% to 12.16 cents. (CASM) ex-fuel was up +6.7% to 8.11 cents. (CAL)'s third-quarter mainline traffic increased +1.6% to 22.48 billion (RPM)s on a +0.6% rise in capacity to 25.96 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 86.6% LF, up +0.8 points. Yield leaped +19.6% to 13.2 cents as (RASM) grew +19.2% to 12.92 cents and (CASM) rose 8.3% to 11.27 cents. (CASM) ex-fuel increased +7.3% to 8.06 cents.

All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines (JAL) have both secured regulatory approval from the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism for their respective transpacific joint ventures (JV)s with Continental Airlines (CAL) and United Airlines (UAL), on one hand, and American Airlines (AAL) on the other.

The approvals follow tentative Anti Trust Immunity (ATI) clearance for both alliances earlier this month from the USA Department of Transportation. On receipt of final (DOT) approval, the airlines say they will accelerate preparation of their joint network, with implementation expected in the first half of 2011.

(JAL) says that following the formal signing of "open skies" between the USA and Japan, which is anticipated shortly—and upon obtaining the final (DOT) approval—the two airlines will enter into a joint business agreement as two independent legal entities, enabling them to cooperate commercially on routes between North America and Asia.

(JAL) President, Masaru Onishi said, "There has been and will be more developments in the Japanese aviation sector and we are intent on keeping the marketplace competitive so that customers can benefit from more travel options and enhanced services. I look forward to taking our partnership with American Airlines (AAL) to a deeper level so that we can more effectively serve the needs of our valuable customers." (AAL) CEO, Gerard Arpey called the (JV) "a win-win situation for all involved."

Air Canada (ACN) and United Continental Holdings (UCH), the parent of merger partners United Airlines (UAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL), said they've concluded a Memo of Understanding (MOU) "setting out the principles for a comprehensive revenue-sharing joint venture (JV)" on USA/Canada trans-border services.

(UAL), (CAL), and (ACN) are all members of the Star Alliance (SAL). "Working cooperatively with our partner Air Canada (ACN), we can create a more streamlined travel experience for customers traveling between the United States and Canada, providing more travel options and benefits while reducing travel times," (UCH) President & CEO, Jeff Smisek said.

(ACN) President & CEO, Calin Rovinescu added the (JV) would "provide many benefits and revenue synergies. By managing pricing, scheduling and sales through a stronger joint venture (JV), the carriers will be better able to serve customers by offering more travel options."

(ACN) operates flights to 59 USA cities while (UAL)/(CAL) operates to 16 Canadian destinations. (ACN) said the (JV) "is expected to come into effect in early 2011" and is subject to relevant regulatory approvals in Canada and the USA and "finalizing documentation."

As co-members of the Star (SAL) Alliance, the carriers already have received antitrust immunity (ATI) from the USA Department of Transportation.

United (UAL) is seeking approval for new flights from Los Angeles to Shanghai, days after regulators approved service on the pairing by American Airlines (AAL). (AAL) secured approval on 7 October, and plans to launch flights in April. Currently, (AAL) places its codes on Los Angeles - Shanghai flights operated by China Eastern (CEA), but (CEA) is joining the SkyTeam (STM) alliance in mid-2011.

(UAL) seeks to begin its own Los Angeles - Shanghai service on 20 May, and says (CAL) aims to place its code on the flights. Star (SAL) alliance partners (CAL) and (UAL) closed their merger on 1 October. Schedules in the Innovata database show that (UAL) currently operates one-stop flights between the two cities with connecting service through San Francisco. (UAL) plans to offer service on the route with three class, 777 airplanes.

There are currently 21 USA - China frequencies available for allocation.

(UAL) launched a second daily, Los Angeles – Mexico City (MEX) flight on October 15 and will launch a third daily flight on the route on January 4. It will increase weekly, Chicago O’Hare – (MEX) service to twice-daily, November 4, daily San Francisco – (MEX) flights to twice-daily November 4, and will operate daily, Denver – (MEX) service December 16 - January 3. All flights will be operated with A319s and A320s.

(UAL) said it began moving its Operations Center to Willis Tower in downtown Chicago from its current location in the suburban town of Elk Grove, Illinois near Chicago O'Hare. It said the first 280 of around 2,500 employees began moving downtown and it plans to have around 1,000 moved by year-end. The full move will take around 18 months, it noted.

November 2010: The USA Department of Transportation gave final approval for antitrust immunity (ATI) to Oneworld (ONW) alliance members American Airlines (AAL) and Japan Airlines (JAL) and, separately, to Star (SAL) Alliance members United Airlines (UAL), Continental Airlines (CAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA), to operate their respective transpacific joint ventures (JV)s.

The (DOT)'s official clearance of both (JV)s follows tentative approval last month and enables the implementation of the USA - Japan "open skies" accord to which the two nations agreed late last year. The Japanese government has already approved both partnerships.

(ANA) President & CEO, Shinichiro Ito said, "The clearance enables us to begin the preparatory work necessary to launch our joint venture (JV) next spring, and to cooperate more closely with United (UAL) and Continental (CAL) for the benefit of customers." (UAL)/(CAL) parent, United Continental Holdings President & CEO, Jeff Smisek added that the (JV) will allow for "more convenient, more seamless" transpacific travel.

(JAL) President, Masaru Onishi noted that the (DOT)'s approval of its (JV) with (AAL) "clears all regulatory procedures necessary" for the carriers to begin working "expeditiously" toward implementation. (AAL) said the companies "anticipate launching their transpacific joint business in early 2011. It will provide enhanced travel options and experiences for passengers of both (AAL) and (JAL)."

(AAL) plans to launch daily, New York (JFK) - Tokyo Haneda (HND) service on January 20. (JAL) launched daily, (HND) - San Francisco service at the end of October. The carriers will code share on the flights. (UAL) will launch daily, Washington Dulles - Lagos service on December 12 aboard a 767.

Travelers will soon see one of the first visible signs of the merger between Continental Airlines (CAL) and United Airlines (UAL) as Continental (CAL) moves its ticketing and check-in counters to the United (UAL) terminal at Chicago O'Hare (ORD).

December 2010: United Continental Holdings (UCH), following a review of technology used by United Airlines (UAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL), as well as solutions used by neither currently, recently informed employees which systems will be used by the merged airline in the future. "After a thorough study, we have made the technology systems decisions that will create the best technology platform for the new United," Executive VP Technology, Keith Halbert said in a communication with workers.

(UAL) decided that its reservation, check-in, e-commerce and inventory operations will deploy the Shares system used by (UAL). The revenue management and network departments will use Orion, (ARORA) and (SDO) from (UAL). Human Resources (HR) and payroll will use (UAL) systems, while contact centers will use voice technology from (CAL). Finance will use a hybrid solution from (UAL). Sales will use Sales Insight from (CAL). Flight profitability will use (FPS) from (CAL).

Airport resource management and mail scanning will use (UAL) tools, while gate management and baggage scanning will use (CAL) tools. Flight Operations will use (UAL) systems, while crew management will use (CAL) systems, and Maintenance will use (CAL) systems. Which system will be used by the cargo operation is still under review.

"Testing and implementation of technology systems will occur on varying time lines depending on the complexity of the project, resource availability and system inter-dependencies," (UAL) stated. "Migration to the selected systems will occur throughout 2011 and into 2012."

Continental Airlines (CAL) took delivery of a 737-800 fitted with Boeing (TBC)’s new "Sky Interior," becoming the first North American carrier to receive the improved cabin. (TBC) said the December 29 flight completed 13 deliveries of the new 737 interior to the first five launch customers. The airplane also marks a new record for 737 yearly deliveries of 376. The previous record was 372 deliveries in 2009.

“We are proud to be the first carrier in North America to introduce the brand-new Boeing Sky Interior to our customers,” said Ron Baur, United Fleet VP. “The new lighting and sculpted side panels give the 737 a modern and more spacious look, while providing increased overhead storage space.” The 737 Boeing Sky Interior is part of (TBC)’s strategy to continuously improve the 737 for both airlines and passengers by making it more efficient and economical to operate and maintain and more comfortable for passengers. Today’s Next-Generation 737 operators fly 737s that are 5% more fuel-efficient than the first Next-Generation 737s delivered in 1998, and another 2% improvement is on the way.

In mid-November, another 737-800, also in the new United Airlines (UAL)/Continental Airlines (CAL) livery, successfully completed an early flight test to begin certification of the aerodynamic and engine changes that will result in the 2% improvement. Testing and certification will continue through April 2011. (TBC) is phasing into production the performance improvement package, beginning in mid-2011 through early 2012. 1% of the savings comes from reducing resistance as air flows around the airplane. The upper and lower anti-collision lights change from round to a more aerodynamic, elongated teardrop shape. Wheel-well fairings are re-contoured to smooth the air flow near the main landing gear. A redesign of the environmental control system, exhaust vent and streamlined wing slat and spoiler trailing edges round out the aerodynamic changes.

(CFM) is introducing the new (CFM56-7BE) engine enhancement program to coincide with (TBC)’s airframe changes. Low- and high-pressure turbine modifications will result in a -1% reduction in fuel consumption. In addition, (TBC) is optimizing the engine’s primary nozzle and plug. Together, the changes result in cooler-running engines that may provide up to -4% lower maintenance costs. The (CFM56-7BE) engine is currently undergoing a 10,000 cycle endurance test at Snecma facilities in Villaroche, France. The test should be complete in early 2011. These tests simulate conditions far more extreme than would be experienced in commercial service to validate the reliability and durability of the hardware.

(UAL) currently has 1,437 pilots (FC) on furlough. Arguably (UAL) pilots (FC) biggest challenge in 2011: getting a unified pilot (FC) contract.

(UAL) recently announced orders for the 787 and A350. Continental Airlines (CAL) and United Air Lines (UAL), Inc. are now wholly owned subsidiaries of United Continental Holdings (UCH), Inc.

January 2011: SEE ATTACHED "UAL-2011-01-2010 WORLD TOP TRAFFIC."

United Continental Holdings (UCH), parent of merger partners United Airlines (UAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL), reported pro forma 2010 net income of +$854 million, reversed from a combined (UAL)/(CAL) loss of -$718 million in 2009. But despite a +15% rise in pro forma fourth quarter revenue to $8.43 billion, net loss for the period widened 22.2% to -$326 million owing to $485 million in special charges mostly related to the merger which closed last October. President & CEO, Jeff Smisek said (UCH) has made "significant progress integrating (UAL) and (CAL)." Smisek told analysts and reporters that (UCH) is on track to achieve 25% of the projected $1.2 billion in annual merger synergies in 2011.

Executive VP & Chief Revenue Officer, Jim Compton emphasized that (UCH) maintains a "commitment to capacity discipline," noting that full-year 2011 consolidated capacity will rise just +1% to +2% compared to 2010 including a -0.5% to -1.5% cut domestically and a +4.5% to +5.5% increase on international flying. (UCH) estimates that first-quarter fuel prices will be up +18% compared to the 2010 December quarter.

Executives said the company is satisfied with the combined (UAL)/(CAL) airplane order book, which includes 25 A350s (UAL) and 25 787s (CAL. Compton said that despite the 787 Dreamliner program's repeated delays, "We remain big believers in the 787."

Full-year 2010 pro forma revenue heightened +18.9%, compared to 2009, to $34 billion, while expenses increased +12.5% to $32.2 billion, producing a pro forma operating profit of +$1.82 billion, reversed from a combined (UAL)/(CAL) operating deficit of -$17 million in 2009. Consolidated mainline traffic rose +2.3% to 184.58 billion (RPK)s traffic on a 0.1% lowering of capacity to 220.06 billion (ASK)s, producing a load factor of 83.9% LF, up +2 points. Yield jumped +15.6% to 11.21 cents as (RASM) improved +18.3% to 12.74 cents and (CASM) increased +12.3% to 12 cents. (CASM) ex-fuel was up +4.5% to 8.14 cents.

United Airlines (UAL) will launch daily, 737-800 Los Angeles - Guadalajara service May 3, to be operated by Continental Airlines (CAL). The route is subject to Mexican government approval.

One year after a devastating earthquake, Haiti remains a country with extreme economic and political challenges. But rebuilding and aid efforts are generating air traffic into its capital, Port au Prince — enough, in fact, for United (UAL)’s Continental (CAL) unit to justify thrice-weekly, 737-800 flights from Newark. The New York area, like Miami and Boston, has a large Haitian immigrant population.

Continental (CAL) moved to amplify its formidable Mexico network with new 737-800 service from Los Angeles to Guadalajara. It’s a busy market served by Aeromexico (AMX), Alaska (ASA), Volaris (VLS) and Delta (DAL), which is trying to establish itself in the Los Angeles market at United (UAL)’s expense.

Continental Airlines (CAL) moved its ticket counter, check-in area and curbside check-in at Denver International from Terminal East to Terminal West, in order to be adjacent to United Airlines (UAL), as the two carriers continue to integrate their operations.

For his crucial role in securing regulatory approval for the world's largest airline merger, United (UAL) Continental (CAL) CEO, Jeff Smisek has been named "Person of the Year" by the editors of "Aviation Week and Space Technology." Jeff Smisek has risen from a private practice attorney to the head of Continental Airlines (CAL) and a key architect of its merger with United Airlines (UAL). Smisek's argument in favor of consolidation "was accepted by the world's regulators, and in just six months - - an unprecedented speed in mergers of this magnitude - - they approved a deal that cements the return of USA operators to the top ranks of global aviation."

United Continental Holdings (UCH) announced that Continental Airlines (CAL)’s fleet service employees, represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), ratified their collective bargaining agreement with the company on December 29. "We are pleased that our fleet service co-workers have ratified this agreement," said United (UAL) Senior VP Airport Operations, Scott Dolan. "This is a positive step forward as we continue to work with all of our employee groups to develop contracts that are fair to our employees and the company."
The (IBT) represents 7,000 (CAL) fleet service USA employees.

United Airlines (UAL) Flight Attendants (CA), represented by the Association of Flight Attendants - (CWA), (AFL) - (CIO) (AFA), will conduct a world-wide protest over the failure of (UAL) management to negotiate a new contract a year after their contract became amendable. (UAL) pilots (FC) from the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), as well as members of other unions who stand in support of Flight Attendant (CA) efforts to secure an industry-leading contract, will also be joining the picket line. Over eight years ago, Flight Attendants (CA) took deep cuts in pay only to have management then destroy their working conditions and cancel their pensions. Those cuts were scheduled to conclude a year ago when the contract became amendable. As part of an agreement between (AFA) and management, negotiations began early in April 2009 with the intention of having a new Flight Attendant (CA) contract in place by January 7, 2010. (UAL) Flight Attendants (CA) are working at 1994 wage levels in the year 2011, and working +48% more compared with 2002 schedules and staffing. (AFA) members are angry that after more than seven months since the announcement of the merger with Continental Airlines (CAL), the new management, much like the old, continues to only be interested in offering concessionary proposals and delaying a new contract for the over >15,000 Flight Attendants (CA). If (UAL) wishes to create a new world-class airline, it is imperative they honor the tone and commitment made by management following the merger. For the merger to be a success, they must choose a path of collaboration on negotiating a contract versus continuing a pattern of contention and delay.

February 2011: United Continental Holdings, parent of United Airlines (UAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL), reported strong unit revenue growth in January, with mainline traffic (RPM)s rising just +0.2% to 13.98 billion, while mainline capacity also climbed +0.2% to 17.71 billion (ASM)s. Mainline load factor was flat at 78.9% LF. Consolidated traffic including regional (RPM)s climbed +0.4%, as did (ASM)s, and consolidated load factor was flat at 77.9% LF.

United Continental Holdings, Inc plans to distribute $224 million to employees in profit sharing for 2010. (UCH) reported net profits of +$1.6 billion for last year. "Profit sharing shows that when we work together, we win together," said Jeff Smisek, President & CEO of (UCH).

Reflecting the impact of severe winter weather in the USA, Continental (CAL)'s completion factor dropped from 99.5% a year ago to 97.4% for January 2011, while United (UAL) completed 97.9% of its flights in the month, down from 98.5% in January 2010.

It looks like airlines are charging more to fly. American Airlines (AAL) added fuel surcharges of as much as $5 each way on most routes. And United Continental Holdings (UCH) has its own $3 each-way surcharge. Rick Seaney, the CEO of http://www.FareCompare.com, says it's the fifth increase since December. He says US Airways Group (AMW)/(USA) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) have matched the increases on some routes. The big question is whether Southwest Airlines (SWA) will match the increases. Seaney says airlines haven't used fuel surcharges since 2008, when oil prices spiked.

JP Morgan analyst, Jamie Baker says airlines would need to raise prices further, or cut capacity, to make up for the recent increases in jet fuel prices.

Executives from United Airlines (UAL) and American Airlines (AAL) will meet with Chicago Mayor Richard Daley to discuss possible "triggers" for moving ahead with a controversial expansion at O'Hare International Airport (ORD). Senator Richard Durbin, Democrat-Illinois, helped broker the meeting after sitting down last week with the CEOs of both companies. "It is reasonable to say that the further expansion of (ORD) should be tied to the expansion of service," he said, while cautioning that the city cannot afford to "wait until the delays are just intolerable."

Rather than waiting for the severe winter weather to hit, several airlines canceled flights and eased travel rules as a massive storm developed. Waiting to cancel flights until weather turns bad "makes the problem even bigger. On a big storm, we've canceled two days in advance," said Tracy Lee, VP Operations Planning at United Continental (UCH). Social-networking sites are helping carriers spread the word, saving travelers time and money.

United Continental Holdings (UCH) told employees that airplanes and crews (FC) & (CA) from both United Airlines (UAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL) will begin to operate on "some routes" formerly covered by the other airline, part of the carriers' ongoing integration under (UCH). (UCH) noted in a memo to workers that from February 17, Houston Intercontinental - Lima service "formerly flown with a (CAL) airplane and crew will now be flown with a (UAL) airplane and crew." Other changes will take place starting with the implementation of the summer schedule and continue throughout the year, with flights from Washington Dulles (IAD) and Newark to be most affected initially, according to the memo.

The (IAD) - Amsterdam service will switch from a (UAL) 777 to a (CAL) 757 from September 1 and (IAD) - Paris Charles de Gaulle service will switch from a (UAl) 777 to a (CAL) 757 from September 29. "This effort optimizes our route network, better utilizes our airplane resources, and allows us to better serve our customers," the (UCH) memo said. "Redeploying airplanes places the right size airplane in each market, and doing so maximizes revenue and minimizes cost. Exchanging (CAL) and (UAL) airplanes in markets will not affect the overall balance of scheduled airplane block hours between the two subsidiaries. (UAL) will take over (CAL)'s routes from Newark, New Jersey to Brussels and Zurich later this year. However, the base that is assigned to work a specific flight pairing may change. We will see more changes like these as the integration progresses."

(UAL) temporarily grounded its fleet of 96 757s for emergency checks on air data computer systems, but said the fleet was nearly back to normal. The checks were spurred by an internal discovery that (UAL) hadn't conducted all of the operational checks on the equipment mandated by a 2004 (FAA) Airworthiness Directive (AD). The checks took about 60 to 90 minutes per airplane and all air data computers were found to be "fully functional," (UAL) said, adding that the checks caused "very minimal impact on operations." The grounding was voluntary on (UAL)'s part, the (FAA) said. Continental Airlines (CAL)'s 757s were not affected.

(UAL) currently has 1,437 pilots (FC) on furlough. (UAL) recently announced orders for the 787 and A350.

March 2011: February traffic fell -1.1% (RPM) at the two brands operated by United Continental (UAL)/(CAL), the first such decline since the company began reporting consolidated numbers last October. February capacity rose +1.8% (ASM) as traffic fell, and load factor declined from 78.3% LF to 76% LF. Passenger revenue per available seat mile rose +10.5% to 11.5% for the month.

With fuel prices up +53% in the last year, (UAL)/(CAL) announced it will cut domestic capacity by up to -2.5%, while international capacity will rise less than previously planned. Overall, (UAL)/(CAL) said capacity in 2011 will remain roughly flat with last year's levels. (UAL)/(CAL) also said it is reviewing its fleet of more than >700 jets, with an eye toward grounding some inefficient planes.

(UAL) said it is now offering mobile check-in and boarding to USA passengers with international itineraries, and to passengers departing from London, Munich, Amsterdam, Brussels, Geneva, Zurich, Moscow, and Osaka.

(AAL) and United Airlines (UAL) agreed to drop their lawsuit against the City of Chicago after reaching agreement with Mayor Richard Daley to allow a portion of the planned second phase of Chicago O'Hare (ORD) expansion to move forward. The airlines filed suit in Illinois in January after the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) announced it was proceeding with $3.4 billion in modernization projects at (ORD) even though (AAL) and (UAL), by far the airport's largest tenants, didn't give their approval. Under terms of a deal that USA Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood helped to broker, the (CDA) will move forward with $1.17 billion in work, with a decision on the remaining $2.23 billion pushed off for two years. It will allow for work to begin on an additional runway and other airfield improvements, the Department of Transportation (DOT) said in a statement.

The first phase of (ORD) expansion, which is still underway, includes two new runways, a runway extension and a new Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower. (ORD) is slated to have eight runways when all expansion is completed. "Unless we continue to modernize [ORD's] infrastructure and operations, we will lose our competitive edge in the global economy," Daley stated. He noted that in the agreement the airlines will allow construction to "proceed immediately."

(UAL)/(CAL) CEO, Jeff Smisek said the accord "helps fulfill our shared vision for a world-class airport for our hometown while recognizing the economic realities we all face." (AAL) Chairman & CEO, Gerard Arpey added that the pact "allows us to move forward in a deliberate and prudent way, and resolves our legal disputes." He said the "parties have crafted a plan that recognizes the turbulent conditions of our industry and allows us to continue a dialogue with the city over the best timing and pacing of construction going forward."

The (DOT) said Chicago officials and (AAL) and (UAL), "have agreed to return to the table no later than March 1, 2013 to negotiate the terms and timing of the remaining airfield components of the (ORD) modernization program."

In their now-dropped lawsuit, (AAL) and (UAL) alleged that the city "presupposes a 'blank check' from the airlines" to move forward "with new capital projects and billions of dollars of debt without airline approval." The carriers complained that the cost of expansion, financed largely through bond offerings, would be passed on to them.

United Continental Holdings (UCH) said that United Airlines (UAL)’s technicians (MT), represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), have reached a tentative labor contract. "We are pleased that, following our merger, the new (UAL) is continuing to make progress in reaching agreements with our represented employees," said (UCH) Senior VP Technical Operations, Jim Keenan. "We now have a ratified agreement with our mechanics (MT) at Continental and a tentative agreement with our (UAL) co-workers, providing a path to reaching a single, joint agreement with both groups represented by the (IBT)." (IBT) represents approximately 5,500 (UAL) technicians (MT) and related employees.

United Continental Holdings (UCH) said that subsidiary Continental Airlines (CAL) has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with LiveTV to offer in-flight Wi-Fi via Ka-band beginning next year. It plans to offer the service on more than >200 737 and 757 airplanes operating domestically and equipped with DirecTV satellite-television. Passengers will have access to on board connectivity and more than >95 channels of live television, (UCH) said.

"Ka-band will be able to offer higher transmission speeds for more extensive on board connection capabilities, including browsing of content-rich websites, sending and receiving emails and downloading files."

United Airlines (UAL) currently offers in-flight Internet service on 14 airplanes, including on all flights between New York (JFK) and Los Angeles and San Francisco.

(UCH) said the (LOI) "provides the framework for a definitive agreement to be negotiated with LiveTV." It noted that Ka-band will utilize ViaSat's ViaSat-1, "which will be the world's highest-capacity satellite upon its launch later in 2011."

Boeing (TBC) said United Airlines (UAL)'s 777 fleet will be modified with a Performance Improvement Package (PIP) that will result in greater fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. According to (TBC), The (PIP) involves a software change "to enable a drooped aileron, a ram air system improvement and the installation of improved wing vortex generators." The package, to be installed on 52 (UAL) 777s, is expected to "reduce fuel spending per airplane by about -$200,000 annually (assuming $100 per barrel crude oil prices)." Continental Airlines (CAL), which merged with (UAL) last year, was among the first airlines to sign up for the package, agreeing to outfit 20 777s in 2007.

April 2011: United Continental Holdings (UCH), parent of merger partners United Airlines (UAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL), incurred a first-quarter net loss of -$213 million, widened from a -$183 million pro forma net deficit reported by the two carriers in the March 2010 quarter. (UCH) was profitable on an operating basis in the first quarter as revenue increased +10.8% year-over-year to $8.2 billion and expenses heightened +11.2% to $8.17 billion. Operating income of $34 million was down -41.4% from a pro forma operating profit of +$58 million in the year-ago quarter. Rising fuel costs, Japan's disaster and unrest in North Africa made the first three months of 2011 "a challenging quarter and, with high fuel prices, we expect challenging quarters ahead," President & CEO, Jeff Smisek told analysts and reporters. "During the first quarter, [fuel prices] rose to levels not seen since 2008. These are very tough times." (UCH)'s first-quarter fuel costs jumped +28.4% to $2.67 billion compared to the year-ago period even including a $154 million offset from hedging.

But he pointed to the (UAL)/(CAL) merger, which closed last year, as strengthening (UCH) to "muscle through tough times." The combined (UAL)/(CAL) network is a "potent" draw for business (C) passengers, he asserted, adding that (UCH) will adjust flight schedules and offer ancillary services to entice business (C) flyers. "I think you're going to see us do considerably more targeting to customers," Smisek said, explaining that fares that have been broken down into "a la carte" offerings could be "re-aggregated" into tailored packages for different types of passengers. "There's a lot of technological sophistication that will help us do this," he noted. (UCH) generated $16 per passenger in ancillary revenue in the first quarter, up +15% year-over-year.

Smisek said passengers will start seeing more evidence of (UAL)/(CAL) integration at airports and online starting in mid-May. A merged, refashioned loyalty program will be announced in the third quarter. "It won't be your grandfather's frequent flyer program," he commented. (UCH) aims to have a single air operating certificate (AOC) and unified reservation system in 2012.

Regarding its fleet, CFO, Zane Rowe said (UCH) has "significant flexibility" given that "nearly half of the mainline fleet is either unencumbered or coming off lease by 2013." It expects to take delivery of its first 787 in the first half of 2012, with six 787 Dreamliners in total to be delivered next year.

(UCH) first-quarter mainline traffic decreased -1% year-over-year to 41.27 billion (RPM)s on a +1.5% lift in capacity to 52.38 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 78.8% LF, down -1.9 points. Yield increased +13% to 13.97 cents, as (PRASM) rose +10.2% to 11 cents and (CASM) heightened +9.4% to 12.7 cents. (CASM) ex-fuel, rose +2.2% to 8.48 cents.

(UCH) said it lost around -$30 million in first-quarter passenger revenue, owing to disruptions/traffic drops caused by the March 11 Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

Citing a "measurable decline" in demand, United Continental (UCH) will trim -10% of its capacity on routes between the USA and Japan this month, followed by another -14% in May. (UCH) will make the cuts by removing some midweek flights from Newark, New Jersey, Washington DC, Los Angeles, and Seattle. Delta Air Lines (DAL) and American Airlines (AAL) earlier announced similar moves.

INCDT: The USA National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said it is inspecting an incident in which a United Airlines (UAL) A320 en route from New Orleans (MSY) to San Francisco experienced smoke in the cockpit, forcing the airplane to return to MSY 20 minutes after departure. Upon landing, it exited the left side of the (MSY) runway.

According to the (NTSB), "Preliminary information indicates that, while climbing through 4,000 feet, the flight crew (FC) reportedly received automated warnings and detected smoke in the cockpit. A loss of primary instrumentation was also reported during the event. The crew (FC) indicated that they initiated emergency procedures and turned back to the airport. Upon landing, the crew (FC) described a loss of anti-skid braking and nose-wheel steering and exited the runway approximately 2,000 feet from the approach threshold."

The flight's 109 passengers and crew exited safely via slides, though "it was reported that the right forward slide did not inflate," the (NTSB) stated. There were no reported injuries. The (NTSB) said the airplane has "minor damage." The (NTSB) plans to issue an initial report on the incident in 10 days.

May 2011: The Houston Airport System (HAS) and United Continental Holdings (UCH) said that construction on the first phase of a $1 billion redevelopment project at Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH) will start by the end of 2011. Phase one, slated to cost $161 million, involves building a Terminal B south concourse for domestic regional jet operations. In addition, (UCH) said it extended its lease on (IAH)'s Terminal C to 2027.

"The $161 million south concourse project will replace the existing south side flight stations with a 225,000 sq ft facility to accommodate United (UAL)'s fleet of regional airplanes," according to a joint (HAS)/(UCH) statement.

(UCH) President & CEO, Jeff Smisek said, "This project, and the extension of our Terminal C lease to 2027, clearly demonstrate United (UAL)'s commitment to Houston and will help Houston maintain its status as an international city. Houston is United (UAL)'s largest hub, and our investment will open opportunities for additional growth."

Plans for future phases of the $1 billion project include the redevelopment of the Terminal B lobby and baggage claim areas and a new north concourse for mainline and regional flights. Construction of the entire project is planned to take 7 to 10 years, with phase one expected to be completed in late 2013. According to the "Houston Chronicle," the city will pay $350&#8201; million of the $1 billion, and (UCH) will cover the rest.

June 2011: United Continental Holdings (UCH) started unveiling changes at Chicago O'Hare (ORD) to "provide a more consistent travel experience for customers on United Airlines (UAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL)." The changes, which include more self-service capabilities, new "Premier Access" airport services, new Mileage Plus and OnePass features and benefits, a new onboard menu, aligned policies/procedures and new airport signage, will be introduced at airports across the (UCH)'s global network over the next several months.

"The alignment of airport procedures…and the rebranding of our operations at our hometown airport are the newest visible signs of the successful integration of United (UAL) and Continental (CAL)," President & CEO, Jeff Smisek said. "We are making significant progress as we create the world's leading airline, and customers are experiencing more of these benefits as they travel."

(UCH) said it is "on track" to achieve a single air operating certificate (AOC) for combined operations from the USA (FAA) in the fourth quarter and expects to transition to a single reservations system in the first quarter of 2012.

Canadian Commissioner of Competition, Melanie Airken filed an application with Canada's Competition Tribunal, an independent law enforcement agency, seeking to "prohibit" Air Canada (ACN) and United Continental Holdings (UAL)/(CAL) from launching a planned revenue-sharing joint venture (JV) on USA/Canada trans-border services.

In a statement, Airken said, "If the (JV) is allowed, it will monopolize 10 important Canada/United States routes, and substantially reduce competition on nine additional routes, leading to increased prices and reduced consumer choice on key trans-border routes. If allowed to proceed, consumers will face higher prices and even less choice on key, high demand air passenger routes. The proposed (JV) is effectively a merger between (ACN) and United Continental (UAL)/(CAL) on all of their Canadian and USA operations."

Airken did not stop at challenging the (JV), arguing that three existing "coordination agreements" between (ACN) and (UAL)/(CAL) give the companies "the power to charge passengers inflated fares. The current agreements between (ACN) and (UAL)/(CAL) already allow the companies to set prices above competitive levels on all key 19 trans-border routes, which alone violates [Canadian antitrust (ATI) law]. Making matters worse, they now want to fully merge their operations."

(ACN), (UAL) and (CAL) are all members of the Star Alliance (SAL). As co-members of the (SAL) Alliance, the carriers already have received antitrust immunity (ATI) from the USA Department of Transportation. (ACN) operates flights to 59 USA cities, while (UAL)/(CAL) operates to 16 Canadian destinations.

(ACN) said in a statement that it "strongly disagrees with the Commissioner's position. (ACN) and United Continental Holdings (UAL)/(CAL) believe in the merits and consumer benefits of the proposed trans-border (JV) and enhanced cooperation between the parties that builds on the existing relationship between (ACN) and (UAL). The airlines' position is consistent with the findings of regulatory agencies around the world, and supported by leading international economists, who have recognized and documented the benefits to consumers of such arrangements."

(ACN) added that it has agreed with (UAL)/(CAL) to "suspend the proposed trans-border (JV) pending further developments relating to the outcome of the Commissioner's application. (ACN)'s trans-border services remain unaffected."

United Airlines (UAL) launched daily, Los Angeles - Hilo service. (UAL) will launch weekly, San Francisco - Hilo service on June 11. Flights are operated by Continental Airlines (CAL).

United Airlines (UAL) received notice from USA (FAA) of a proposed a $584,375 civil penalty "for allegedly violating regulations for random drug and alcohol testing of safety-sensitive employees." (UAL) has 30 days to respond to the (FAA).

The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) won the right to represent United Continental Holdings (UCH)'s 25,000 flight attendants (CA). It said 55% of those casting ballots in a representation election favored the (AFA), which has represented United Airlines (UAL)'s cabin crew (CA), over the International Association of Machinists (IAM), which represented Continental Airlines (CAL)'s flight attendants (CA). The USA National Mediation Board (NMB) must certify the results.

(UCH) has said it is "on track" to achieve a single air operating certificate (AOC) from the USA (FAA) for the combined operations of (UAL) and (CAL) in the fourth quarter and expects to transition to a single reservations system in the first quarter of 2012. The (AFA) stated that "the merger brings new opportunities and the conclusion of this election sets the stage for flight attendants (CA) to unify and become full participants in the benefits of the merger."

July 2011: United Continental Holdings (UCH) also was in the black for the second quarter, earning net income of +$538 million, down -11.9% from a +$611 million pro-forma profit for United Airlines/Continental Airlines (UCH) in the year-ago period.

United Continental Holdings (UCH) said it will offer approximately 100 to 200 positions to pilots (FC) currently on furlough from its United Airlines (UAL) subsidiary to fly airplanes for its Continental Airlines (CAL) subsidiary. "The positions will meet the needs currently anticipated for the combined company's operation in 2012," said (UCH).

"We are pleased that through cooperation with the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), we are able to offer the opportunity for these (UAL) pilots (FC) to come back to work," stated (UCH) Senior VP Flight Operations, Fred Abbott. "We will continue to focus on negotiating a single contract for all of our pilots (FC) as we work toward our single air operating certificate (AOC)."

August 2011: United Airlines (UAL) introduced a new application for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users that will allow passengers to book reservations, check-in for flights, access mobile boarding passes, get updated flight status details and manage frequent flyer accounts.

Boeing delivered the 737-800, which is used as a flying test bed for the performance improvement package, to United Airlines (UAL). It is (UAL)'s fifth 737 with the sky interior and marks the final 737 delivery for (UAL) in 2011. (UAL) took delivery of three 737-800s and one 737-900ER this year, and in 2012 will take 19 737-900ERs.

September 2011: United Airlines (UAL) 787 interior configuration consists of 36BF (Business First), 63PE (Premium Economy), and 120Y (Economy). No details about the specific aisle configuration or the types of seats used were not released. However, the numbers suggest that both the Premium Economy (PE) and Economy (Y) classes will feature a 9 abreast (3-3-3) configuration with Premium Economy (PY) getting extra legroom.

October 2011: United Continental Holdings (UCH), parent of merger partners United Airlines (UAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL), posted a third-quarter net profit of +$653 million, down -23% from +$852 million in pro-forma net income in the year-ago period. It plans to keep capacity flat in 2012.

President & CEO, Jeff Smisek said (UCH) expects "sluggish economic growth in 2012" but a "stable" demand environment. It will take delivery of 19 737-900ERs and five 787s next year, but will retire airplanes to keep growth down, including 14 737-500s.

Though international capacity will grow slightly next year with the addition of the 787 Dreamliners, he noted that overall "we're effectively keeping (UAL) the same size it was [on a combined pro-forma basis] in 2010 and -8% lower on a pro-forma basis compared to 2008." Its fourth-quarter 2011 mainline capacity is expected to be down -3.8% year-over-year.

Smisek said (UAL) and (CAL) expect to receive a single air operating certificate (AOC) from the USA (FAA) by year end and to operate a "single passenger service system by the end of the first quarter next year." He pointed out that the two carriers have already co-located facilities at 53 airports and that there is now a single check-in point at more than >70% of the airports in the (UCH) combined global network.

Third-quarter operating revenue totaled $10.17 billion, up +8.7% on a pro-forma basis, while expenses heightened +11.6% to $9.24 billion, including a +32.7% jump in fuel costs to $3.37 billion. Operating income was $935 million, down -13.5%.

Mainline traffic in the quarter was 49.88 billion (RPM)s, down -1.6% on a pro-forma basis, on a -0.9% dip in capacity to 57.94 billion (ASM)s. Load factor was 86.1% LF, up +0.7 point. Yield rose +10.8% to 14.56 cents.

(UAL) announced that Boeing (TBC) has completed the final assembly of (UAL)'s first 787 Dreamliner, finishing the first major step in the 787's production. (UAL) will be the first North American carrier to take a 787 delivery, with plans to introduce the first of 50 787 Dreamliners into revenue service in 2012.

November 2011: United Continental Holdings (CAL)/(UAL) received (FAA) approval for a single air operating certificate (AOC), the final regulatory step integrating United Airlines (UAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL). It will take effect in the first quarter of 2012.

The two airlines announced their merger in May 2010 and closed the transaction October 1, 2010. Under the deal, (CAL) shareholders received 1.05 shares of (UAL) common stock for each (CAL) share they owned, with a transaction value of approximately $8 billion.

President & (CEO), Jeff Smisek said, "While we have much work ahead of us as we integrate these two great carriers, this is a significant milestone."

Effective November 30, air traffic control (ATC) communications will refer to all (UAL) and (CAL) flights as "United."

United Airlines (UAL) will launch daily, Newark - Buenos Aires on April 2012.

United Continental Holdings (UCH) (CAL)/(UAL) selected Panasonic Avionics to provide Ku-band satellite Wi-Fi connectivity on more than >300 United Airlines (UAL) and Continental (CAL) airplanes, beginning in mid-2012, enabling onboard connectivity for both domestic and international flights.

The service, which will be installed on A319, A320 and 747, 757, 767, 777 and 787 airplanes, is slated to be implemented in the entire (UCH) mainline fleet by 2015. "As a global carrier, we selected satellite-based Ku-band technology to enable customers to stay connected on long-haul overseas flights, something no other USA-based international carrier currently offers,” United (UAL) Executive VP & CRO, Jim Compton said.

December 2011: United Airlines (UAL) will launch daily, Washington Dulles - Dubai - Doha - Dubai - Dulles 777 service on May 1.

United Airlines' (UAL) and Continental Airlines' (CAL) professional engineers and related employees rejected representation sought by the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE).

The (IFPTE) filed a representation application with the National Mediation Board on June 30. There were 346 engineers (MT) and related employees eligible to participate in the election.

"We are pleased that our co-workers recognized the value of our direct working relationship," said (UAL) VP Technical Services, Ken Burtt. "Working together, we have a promising future, and we will now take steps to implement pay adjustments stalled by the representation and election issues."

January 2012: United Continental Holdings (UCH), parent of merger partners United Airlines (UAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL, reported 2011 net income of +$840 million, with total employees 83, 820 ((UAL) 46,060 & (CAL) 37,760) - world's highest! (UAL)'s 46,060 employees places them as 5th highest in the world.

That was down -12% from a pro forma net profit of +$955 million in 2010, but the impressive result is another sign that USA airlines have been able to mostly offset steep rises in fuel costs with robust revenue performances and capacity discipline. (UCH)'s full-year 2011 revenue grew +8.8% year-over-year on a pro forma basis to $37.11 billion, while expenses lifted +9.6% to $35.29 billion, producing an operating profit of +$1.82 billion, down -5.1%. The company's full-year 2011 airplane fuel costs increased by +29.5% to $12.38 billion.

(UCH) did incur a fourth-quarter net loss of -$138 million owing mostly to special charges related to the integration of (UAL) and (CAL). The loss was narrowed from a pro forma net deficit of -$325 million in the 2010 December quarter.

(UCH)'s full-year 2011 mainline traffic decreased by -1.5% year-over-year on a pro forma basis to 181.76 billion (RPM)s. Capacity was down -0.3% to 219.44 billion (ASM)s and load factor was 82.8% LF, down -1.1 points. Passenger yield rose +10.4% to 14.29 cents.

US Airways (AMW)/(USA) and American Airlines (AAL) have confirmed they have added a $3 surcharge each way ($6 for a round-trip) onto tickets purchased in the USA for flights to and from Europe, in the wake of the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), which took effect January 1.

These surcharges follow the announcement by Delta Air Lines (DAL) of its $3 surcharge. According to "Reuters," United Continental (UAL)/(CAL) has also matched the charge as USA airlines seek to offset the cost of the controversial (ETS).

Expedia has signed a multi-year agreement with United Airlines (UAL); travelers booking on Expedia.com and Hotwire.com will have access to all (UAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL) fares, schedule and inventory.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL) is America’s busiest airport, having welcomed 89 million passengers in 2010 (final 2011 figures aren’t yet in). But New York is America’s busiest airline market, with 47 million passengers at New York Kennedy International Airport (JFK), 33 million at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and 24 million at LaGuardia Airport (LGA), for an annual 2010 total of 104 million. Well Delta (DAL), already dominant in (ATL), wants a bigger bite of the Big Apple, where the competitive landscape is far more fragmented. In a bid to consolidate loyalty among New York’s many corporate travelers, (DAL) unveiled its beefed-up schedule from LaGuardia Airport (LGA), where it acquired a large number of US Airways (AMW)/(USA) slots in exchange for slots at Washington’s Reagan Airport. The expansion involves almost 30 new routes, many to rival hubs, including Dallas (DFW), Charlotte, Denver, Cleveland, Washington (IAD), Houston (IAH), Miami, and Montreal. A large number of medium-sized cities like Kansas City, Albany, and Norfolk are included in the expansion as well. (DAL) will soon operate nearly half of all flights at LaGuardia, pushing American (AAL) to a distant second in terms of market share. More generally and even more significantly, when it comes to securing valuable corporate contracts, (AAL) will now be a distant third in the overall New York market, while (DAL) will vie with United (UAL) for the top spot. (DAL) is also upgrading its LaGuardia terminals and hopes to make the airport a domestic transfer hub for the first time (currently, 96% of its LaGuardia passengers are local). (DAL) says the New York airline market is worth approximately $14 billion ($8 billion domestic and $6 billion international).

New York City met its goal of attracting 50 million tourists in 2011, 10 million of them international. Domestic arrivals were up +3%, while international arrivals rose +4%.

Unions representing employees at United Airlines (UAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL), subsidiaries of the merged United Continental Holdings (UCH), will move ahead this month with efforts aimed at creating single labor representative groups for mechanics (MT) and passenger service and reservation employees of the combined airlines.

Some 5,500 (UAL) mechanics (MT), represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), ratified a new labor agreement with the company in late December. (CAL) mechanics (MT), also represented by the (IBT), ratified their collective bargaining agreement in November 2010. (UCH) and the (IBT) will soon begin negotiations for a joint collective bargaining agreement for mechanics (MT) at both subsidiaries.

"This is another important step which benefits our co-workers and contributes to the future success of United (UAL)," (UAL) Senior VP Technical Operations, Jim Keenan said. "We now turn our attention to a joint agreement for all United (UAL) and Continental (CAL) mechanics (MT), and are committed to reaching an agreement that is fair to the company and fair to our employees."

The National Mediation Board has set January 17 as the starting date for a five-week election to establish the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) as the collective bargaining representative for 17,930 passenger service and reservation employees at the merged airline.

Election results will be announced following a tally on February 21.

The (IAM) represents approximately 9,900 (UAl) passenger service and reservation employees. (CAL)'s 7,800 passenger service and reservation employees are unrepresented, and Continental Micronesia (MCR)’s 230 employees are represented by another union.

United Continental Holdings (UCH) has reached a tentative agreement with the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) for “numerous improvements,” including increased wages and a signing bonus for United Airlines (UAL) flight attendants (CA).

The agreement is the result of an expedited mediation process that began last September and covers more than >15,000 flight attendants (CA) at the company's (UAL) subsidiary. It is subject to ratification by (UAL) flight attendants (CA).

Continental (CAL) flight attendants (CA) ratified their collective bargaining agreement in February 2011.

"I am pleased that we were able to reach this agreement following an intense mediation process. We look forward to the ratification of this agreement, which will be promptly followed by negotiations for a joint agreement that will fully integrate all of our flight attendants under a single contract," said (UAL) Senior VP In-flight Services, Sam Risoli.

The (AFA) represents more than >24,000 flight attendants at the company's (UAL) and (CAL) subsidiaries.

The airlines were merged in the fall of 2010.

(UAL) currently has 1,427 Flight Crew (FC) pilots on furlough. See Continental Airlines (CAL) for more information. The company started recalling pilots (FC) in August. The company recently announced orders for the 787 and A350.

737-924ER (31650, N36447; 31661, N38446), deliveries.

February 2012: United Airlines (UAL) will launch daily Newark - Istanbul 767-300 service July 1, subject to government approval. (UAL) will launch daily Washington Dulles - Honolulu 767-400 service on June 7. It will also launch daily, Denver - Fairbanks service June 7 - August 27; daily Houston - Rapid City service June 7 - August 27, operated by ExpressJet; and Jackson Hole service from Houston (2X-weekly, June 8 - August 27) and San Francisco (daily, July 1 - August 27).

March 2012: United Airlines (UAL) will launch daily, nonstop service between San Francisco and Washington National on May 14. Westbound service from National to San Francisco will begin on May 15.

United Airlines (UAL)'s weekend migration to the Hewlett Packard (SHARES) system used by Continental (CAL), its merger partner, got mixed reviews: As Henry Harteveldt, an analyst at Atmosphere Research Group, said, it was “a success on the technology level but less of a success on the customer-experience front.”

In the final major step in the integration of the two carriers, (UAL) successfully moved its reservations, inventory control and departure control systems off the Apollo platform, where they had resided for more than >40 years, and onto (SHARES).

As might be expected in such a massive undertaking, the transition was peppered with glitches, particularly on the first day. But although there were some delays, cancellations and missed connections, there was no systemic failure.

Meanwhile, Continental Airlines (CAL) has flown into history. United (UAL) employees worked to remove the last Continental (CAL) signs from airports over the weekend. The last flight, CO 1267, departed Phoenix the evening of March 2. It landed in Cleveland early Saturday morning as UA 1267.

But as someone noted, “It’s the Continental (CAL) website, the Continental (CAL) systems, the Continental (CAL) policies, the Continental (CAL) pricing, the Continental (CAL) "elite" program, the Continental (CAL) inventory management, the Continental (CAL) logo, the Continental (CAL) (CEO), and the Continental (CAL) board of directors. The only thing that is United (UAL) anymore is the name. This is Continental (CAL), people. United (UAL) is gone.”

Gogo said its air-to-ground in-flight connectivity system achieved a program milestone, the installation of its 1,500th commercial airplane. For the year to date, the company has installed Gogo on more than >140 airplanes.

"This is a big milestone for Gogo and it's obviously big for passengers who want to stay connected at 30,000 feet," said Michael Small, Gogo's President & (CEO). "Since 2008, we've worked to get Gogo up and running on nine of our airline partners, which represent approximately 87% of Internet-enabled North American commercial airplanes."

Gogo can now be found on nine major airlines including on all domestic AirTran (CQT), Virgin America (VUS) and nearly all Delta Air Lines (DAL) and Alaska Airlines (ASA) flights. Gogo is also currently installed on more than >300 American Airlines (AAL) airplanes and on select US Airways (AMW)/(USA), Frontier Airlines (FRO), Air Canada (ACN) and United Airlines (UAL) flights.

April 2012: United Continental Holdings (UCH) incurred a first-quarter net loss of -$448 million, widened from a net deficit of -$213 million in the prior-year period. It blamed the poor results on costs associated with the ongoing integration of United Airlines (UAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL).

(UCH) President & (CEO), Jeff Smisek said the company took painful but necessary steps during the period to complete systems integration, hurting near-term results but paving the way for strong future earnings. “We successfully completed the most complex aspects of integration” during the March period. We now market under a single code and can flow our airplanes freely to the right market. We are now on the steep back slope of our integration.”

Executive VP & Chief Revenue Officer, Jim Compton added, “Our revenue results were negatively impacted by the integration of our revenue management and booking systems, which included reducing our booking levels so we could better serve our customers during the reservations conversion.”

First-quarter revenue rose +4.9% year-over-year to $8.6 billion, while expenses increased +8.6% to $8.87 billion, producing an operating loss of -$271 million, reversed from an operating profit of +$34 million in the 2011 March quarter.

Mainline passenger traffic decreased -0.2% to 41.19 billion (RPM)s on a +0.2% lift in capacity to 52.47 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 78.5% LF, down -0.3 point. Yield improved +4.5% to 14.45 cents.

United Airlines (UAL) launched daily, Newark - Buenos Aires 767-300 service on April 6, replacing its service between Washington and Buenos Aires.

In the week following the release of the iPad, Gogo Director Airline Operations, Tim Lemaster said the Wi-Fi provider identified over >10,000 separate usages of iPads being used on board airplanes. The tablets continue to outpace cell phones and laptops 10 to one on airplanes, he said.

“The traditional In-Flight Entertainment (IFE)s are going to be squeezed down to a more long-haul market,” Lemaster said. He pointed out that Wi-Fi-enabled short-haul flights that take advantage of passengers’ own personal electronic devices (PEDs) could help the industry avoid buying and installing seatback systems. However, on a 3-hour flight, Gogo has seen the average passenger pushing 61 megabytes by themselves — - a challenging amount of data to support on multiple (PED)s. “It is a big challenge in the industry,” of “how to push more through the pipe, because the pipe is limited,” he said.

American Airlines (AAL) provides passengers with Samsung tablets on select routes, Manager (IFE), Erik Miller said. “Customers love them,” but he cautioned “there are pros and cons” to eliminating the seatback system altogether.

“Airlines used to take a year to 18 months looking at new airplanes, looking at new systems,” Lemaster said. “Is the right decision today to go away from a traditional (IFE)? It probably makes sense on a short-haul flight (people are already bringing on their own personal devices). I would say in the next three to five years, we will see that decision more and more, move away from the traditional (IFE).”

United Continental Holdings (UCH) Executive VP & (CFO), Zane Rowe has decided to leave the company to take a position with Apple Inc.
According to a (UCH) statement, Rowe will be replaced by Senior VP Financial Planning & Analysis, John Rainey.

Rowe was Continental Airlines (CAL) (CFO) before the 2010 merger with United Airlines (UAL). He will have what (UCH) described as a “non-financial position” at Apple, reportedly involving sales.

Rainey is also a (CAL) veteran, having held senior financial positions at (CAL) from 2005 - 2010 before joining (UCH) management after the merger.

May 2012: United Airlines (UAL) starts a new route from San Francisco to Washington Reagan. (UAL) now flies to Manchester in the United Kingdom from Washington Dulles Airport. (UAL) will launch daily, Denver - Tokyo Narita 787 service on March 31, 2013.

Leaders of the 12,000 (ALPA)-represented pilots (FC) at United Continental Holdings (UCH) (UAL)/(CAL) have called for a strike vote after failing to reach a contract agreement through two years of post-merger negotiations.

The parties began talks in May 2010 when United Airlines (UAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL) announced their merger plans. They jointly requested mediation by the National Mediation Board (NMB) in December 2010, which began February 28, 2011. "There has been more than ample time to reach agreement on a new contract,” (ALPA) Chairman Continental (CAL) pilots (FC), Jay Pierce said. “While a strike is never the pilots (FC)'s preference for the path to reaching agreement, we are more than willing to use every tool at our disposal with the agonizingly slow pace of negotiations, management has left us with little option.” A date for the vote has not been set.

(ALPA) said the call for a vote follows a May 11, 2012 letter to the (NMB) requesting that it “further assist the parties to bring about an agreement by proffering arbitration, and if not accepted by both parties, issuing a release under Section 5, First of the Act.”

If the (NMB) grants the parties “self help,” the pilots (FC) will be able to strike following a 30-day period. The two carriers merged in October 2010.

Southwest Airlines (SWA) and United Airlines (UAL) squared off in front of the Houston City Council over whether (SWA) should be allowed to launch international service from Houston Hobby airport (HOU) in 2015.

(SWA), which carries more domestic USA passengers than any other airline, last month announced plans to launch the first-ever (SWA)-branded international flights from (HOU) by mid-decade. (HOU) is a domestic-only airport; all of the city’s international flights operate to/from Houston Intercontinental airport (IAH), a hub dominated by (UAL) in the aftermath of the (UAL)-Continental Airlines (CAL) merger. Both airports are owned by the City of Houston.

(UAL) is pushing back hard, against allowing (SWA) to launch flights to Mexico, the Caribbean, plus Central and South America from (HOU), claiming the service “will drain passengers from (IAH), resulting in a net loss of -3,700 jobs and -$295 million in gross regional product annually in the Houston region.”

But (SWA), which is advocating for construction of a new five-gate, $100 million international facility at (HOU), to be paid for by ticket fees, said the expansion “would open up new low-cost international travel competition to the area,” adding in an online statement, “It won’t cost the City of Houston a dime, but it will bring in more than >+$1 billion of additional revenue annually. It will also create thousands of new jobs and help continue to grow the Houston economy. The downside? There isn’t one — unless you’re Chicago-based, United (UAL) - Continental Airlines (CAL) and want to maintain a stranglehold on the international air service from Houston.”

(SWA) already has a formidable domestic presence at (HOU).

(UAL) commissioned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) International Center for Air Transportation research engineer, William Swelbar and University of Houston economics professor, Barton Smith to study opening up (HOU) to international flights. (UAL) said its study shows that a study done by the Houston Airport System (HAS) in support of adding international flights at HOU “used flawed assumptions to reach unrealistic conclusions that the proposal would be good for Houston.”

(UAL) has negotiated an amended lease agreement with Denver International Airport that would allow it to reduce lease payments while potentially expanding service at the airport. The amendment is subject to local city council approval. (UAL) would pay off outstanding debt against 220,000 square feet of unused baggage sorting and maintenance space underneath concourse B that the airport would remove from its lease obligation. The lease expires in February 2025.

United would also re-lease five gates on concourse B. Denver made a $12.5 million payment for the gates and removed them from (UAL)'s lease for six years in 2009. They are currently used by US Airways (AMW)/(USA).

The airport would also waive certain in lieu payments from (UAL) as long as it maintains at least 22.78 billion available seat miles (ASM)s in a calendar year. (UAL) would face financial penalties if its available capacity falls under this level.

(UAL) may have plans to expand its operations in Denver. The additional gates would allow it to increase the number of flights it operates to the airport, where it has decreased capacity during the past few years. It carried 41% of the airport's passenger traffic in January, according to the airport.

(UAL) is always working with airports to address "cost competitiveness." The amended lease would go into effect on 1 July if it is approved.

UTair (TYU) will add the remaining eight 767-222ERs still operated by United Airlines (UAL) and inherited from the merger with Continental Airlines (CAL) between May 2012 and the end of next year. The first 767-222ER (30435) is currently being prepared at Orlando International airport (MCO) and is expected to be delivered next month.

June 2012: United Airlines (UAL) said it will cut -1,300 jobs at Continental Airlines (CAL)'s former main hub of Houston Intercontinental airport (IAH).

It said the job reductions are necessitated by the Houston city council’s approval of Southwest Airlines (SWA)’s plan to fly internationally from Houston Hobby (HOU) starting in 2015. (UAL) and (CAL) merged in 2010.

According to the "Associated Press," (UAL) President & (CEO), Jeff Smisek told employees that “the city of Houston will suffer the consequences of this decision [to support (SWA) international flights from (HOU)] for decades to come.”

(UAL) also said it will no longer move forward with plans to launch (IAH) - Auckland (New Zealand) flights.

(UAL) will launch Denver service to Shreveport, Louisiana (daily, on August 28 operated by ExpressJet), and Grand Forks, North Dakota (2X-daily, operated by SkyWest).

Republic Airlines will start operating its first DHC-8-400s on behalf of United Express from July 31 onwards. It will initially operate from Denver International (DEN) to Aspen Sardy Pitkin County (ASE), Durango La Plata County (DRO) and Kansas City International (MCI) airports. Republic will then gradually take over the 28 DHC-8-400s operated by Colgan Air on behalf of United (UAL) and transfer its own four DHC-8-400s operated as Frontier Express to United (UAL).

July 2012: United Continental Holdings (UCH) (CAL)/(UAL) posted second-quarter net income of +$339 million, down -37% from a +$538 million net profit in the prior-year period, as revenue grew just +1.3% year-over-year to $9.94 billion.

(UCH) said a primary reason for the profit decline was more than >$200 million in one-time charges associated with the ongoing integration of United Airlines (UAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL) into the new (UCH). President & (CEO), Jeff Smisek acknowledged there is still “work to do” regarding the merger, but added that (UCH) is “making the right investments in our future,” a likely reference to its recent $14.7 billion order for 100 Boeing (TBC) 737 MAX airplanes and 50 737-900ERs.

(UCH)’s second-quarter operating expenses heightened +4% year-over-year to $9.36 billion and operating profit was +$575 million, down -28.8%. Mainline traffic rose +0.5% to 47.72 billion (RPM)s on a -0.2% decline in capacity to 56.35 million (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 84.7% LF, up +0.6 point. Average passenger yield grew +1% to 14.55 cents. Average fare per passenger was up +2.7% to $279.72.

United Airlines (UAL) launched two new routes on 1 July; one international and one domestic. (UAL) now connects its New York Newark, New Jersey (EWR) hub with that of its Star (SAL) Alliance -partner Turkish Airlines (THY). Flights on the new route operate daily with 183-seat 767-300ER airplanes. Indirect competition at (JFK) comes from (THY)’s thrice-daily and Delta (DAL)’s daily flights. Jim Compton, (UAL)’s Executive VP & Chief Revenue Officer, commented: “This new service will provide customers throughout the United States, Canada and Latin America direct access to one of the most important cities in the region.” (UAL) also connected San Francisco (SFO) with Jackson Hole, Wyoming (JAC). The daily CRJ900 flights operate seasonally until the end of August. This is the fifth route (UAL) operates to the Wyoming airport after flights from Denver, Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston.

August 2012: United Airlines (UAL) has extended a lease in Chicago’s Willis Tower, where it houses a network operations center, to include its corporate headquarters with terms extending through to 2028. The company will then occupy 25% of the 110-story building, for a total of 830,000 sq ft on 16 floors.

The move will have more than >4,000 (UAL) employees working in downtown Chicago, and more than >14,000 in the city, including its O’Hare airport (ORD) operations and reservations center. (UAL) began moving its headquarters downtown from its Elk Grove campus in March 2007; 2,800 jobs moved downtown in 2009.

(UAL) was represented by Jones Lang LaSalle in the lease transaction. The Willis Tower, formerly the Sears Tower, stands 1,450 ft tall, occupies an entire city block and has its own ZIP code.

United Airlines (UAL) and its partner, Aer Lingus (ARL) will end their joint venture operation between (UAL)'s hub at Washington Dulles International (IAD) and Madrid Barajas (MAD) from November 1. (ARL) currently operates a daily A330-200 service between the two airports on behalf of (UAL), which will continue to serve Madrid daily from Newark Liberty International (EWR) during the winter season.

Hawaiian Airlines (HWI) and United Airlines (UAL) have both declared their opposition to an application by Delta Air Lines (DAL) to move its daily service from Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County (DTW) to Tokyo Haneda (HND) to Seattle Tacoma International (SEA) from September 30. Japanese and USA carriers only have been allowed slots for four daily services to and from Tokyo Haneda (HND) with the USA slots currently allocated to (DAL) for a daily Detroit and Los Angeles International (LAX) service, to Hawaiian for a daily Honolulu International (HNL) flight and to American Airlines (AAL) for a daily service to New York John F Kennedy International (JFK). (HWI) is making a case that it should be assigned (DAL)'s Detroit slot to be able to offer a second daily flight from Honolulu International (HNL), while United (UAL) would like to launch a daily Haneda flight from San Francisco International (SFO).

(UAL) launched a new domestic route on 14 August between San Francisco (SFO) and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina (RDU), a city pair that remarkably has never before been connected non-stop, in spite of the considerable demand and strong business links between the two regions. USA (DOT) data reveals that 800 passengers a day already travel between (RDU) and California. The new 3,860-kilometre transcontinental route is now operated daily with 154-seat 737-800 airplanes. This is the second route between Raleigh-Durham and California after Delta (DAL)’s three flights a week from Los Angeles.

(UAL) has reached an agreement with the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAM) to enter into expedited contract negotiations with the assistance of the National Mediation Board for six classifications covering 35,400 employees at the airline.

(UAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL) were merged in the fall of 2010.

According to (UAL), the agreement establishes an intense bargaining process with the goal of achieving joint labor agreements by November 15. If new accords cannot be reached, the (IAM) and (UAL) agree to jointly apply for mediation to combine all contracts into a single agreement for each classification.

“Pre-merger (UAL) employees have been in mediated contract negotiations since 2009 that have remained stalled due to the merger of (UAL), (CAL) and Continental Micronesia (MCR) and subsequent representation elections,” (UAL) said. “Employees from (CAL) and (MCR) are either working under contracts that are not normally amendable or were unrepresented prior to the merger and currently have no contract,” it said.

United Airlines (UAL), the North American launch customer for the Boeing (TBC) 787, said it will take delivery of the first of 50 787 Dreamliners it has on order in September.

The 787 rolled out of Boeing (TBC)’s paint hangar in Everett, Washington, this week. “The 787 will open up new non-stop destinations that customers would not be able to otherwise reach on United (UAL), such as the recently announced Denver-to-Tokyo service that starts next spring,” (UAL) said.

(UAL)’s 787 cabin will be configured with 219 seats, comprised of 36C in business class, 72PY in premium economy and 111Y in economy.

Separately, (UAL) parent, United Continental Holdings (UCH) announced it has reached an “agreement in principle” on a new collective bargaining agreement with the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) that would cover both (UAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL) pilots (FC). “The agreement is subject to definitive documentation, approvals by the (ALPA) master executive councils of each subsidiary and ratification by the company’s pilots (FC),” (UCH) stated.

United Airlines (UAL) subsidiary, Continental Micronesia (MCR) flight attendants (CA) ratified a new labor agreement, extending the previous collective bargaining agreement through December 2014.

The flight attendants (CA) are represented by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA). (UAL) reached a tentative agreement with the (AFA) last month.

In-flight Senior VP, Sam Risoli said, "We will now turn our attention on working with the (AFA) on a single contract that is competitive for United (UAL) and provides additional benefits for our flight attendants (CA)."

(UAL) flight attendants (CA) ratified a new four-year contract in February; flight attendants (CA) from Continental Airlines (CAL) ratified an extension of their collective bargaining agreement last month. (AFA) and United Continental (UAL)/(CAL) Holdings will launch negotiations for a joint collective bargaining agreement covering all (AFA)-represented flight attendants (CA) on August 27.

Gogo has enhanced an existing contract with United Airlines (UAL), to upgrade 13 757 premium service airplanes with its new (ATG-4) connectivity solution. Complete installation of the upgraded equipment is slated for early 2013.

“These routes have grown to be some of the most popular routes for connectivity related services,” Gogo President & (CEO), Michael Small said. “By upgrading to (ATG-4), Gogo will be able to better address the growing demand for Internet access on these flights.”

The enhanced solution is expected to speed Internet access from the current 3.1 Mbps to 9.8 Mbps per airplane with the addition of a directional antenna, dual modem and (EV-DO) Rev B technologies.

(UAL)’s premium service fleet operates from New York (JFK) to Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco. It has offered Gogo connectivity since January 2009.

Gogo launched the upgraded service earlier this year.

(UAL) celebrated the rollout of its first 787-8 in its special "swoop" livery at Boeing's Everett, Washington State plant on August 2nd. (UAL) is the USA launch customer for the 787. Four 787s will be received before the end of the year. Remember that United (UAL) was the first airline in the world to operate the 767 and the 777.

(UAL) has firm orders for 36/10 787-8s and 14 787-9s and a letter of intent (LOI) covering 50 of either variant.

(UAL) will first fly the 787 on domestic services before placing it on its existing route between Houston Intercontinental (IAH) and Lagos, Nigeria. The 787 will be used to launch a new service between Denver and Tokyo Narita (NRT) from March 31, 2013.

(UAL) intends to rotate the 787-8 through all of its domestic hubs that have a wide body service, before it shifts to international operations. This includes all of (UAL)'s hubs, except Cleveland.

(UAL) said it will also fly daily (LAX) - (NRT) nonstops beginning January 3; daily (LAX) - Shanghai service beginning March 30; and a 5X- weekly service from Houston (IAH) to Lagos beginning January 7.

(UAL) will also operate daily, nonstop 787 services from (IAH) to Amsterdam (AMS) and to London Heathrow (LHR) on a temporary basis. The (AMS) service begins December 4 and (LHR) service begins February 4.

September 2012: A federal judge has ruled that American Airlines (AAL) and United Airlines (UAL) must face allegations in a civil court over the destruction of the World Trade Center (WTC) towers in New York in the "9/11" terrorist attacks. The action is being brought by World Trade Center Properties (WTCP) and affiliated companies, which purchased 99-year leases for four (WTC) buildings from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in July 2001, three months before the attacks.

Following the "9/11" hijackings, (WTCP) sued (UAL) and (AAL), claiming that “but for the aviation defendants' negligence, the terrorists could not have boarded and hijacked the airplanes and flown them into the Twin Towers.” (WTCP) recovered $4 billion from insurance, but is seeking $2.8 billion from (AAL) and (UAL).

Both airlines argued that the insurance collected by (WTCP) “more than compensated” for potential tort recovery. The judge denied this motion and said, “The overlap between (WTCP)'s insurance recovery and its potential tort recovery presents issues of fact requiring trial.
“In order to make such a finding, I would have to find, to a ‘reasonable certainty,’ that the categories of insurance payments received by (WTCP) ‘correspond’ to the categories of potential damages WTCP could recover in its lawsuit against the aviation defendants. On this record, before trial, I am not able to make such findings.”

(UAL) and (AAL) representatives refused to comment on the litigation.

(UAL) will launch Cleveland (CLE) service to Nashville (2X-weekly) and Oklahoma City (weekly) on December 19 and February 14, respectively. It will discontinue (CLE) - Green Bay service on December 18.

United Airlines (UAL) has joined the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG), an industry working group that aims to accelerate the development and commercialization of aviation biofuels. (SAFUG) members represent about 32% of commercial aviation fuel demand.

(UAL) will close its Guam Contact Center, outsource local cargo functions and reduce the number of local airport operations employees as part of a company-wide initiative to achieve sustained profitability. The move will affect 48 employed at the contact center. The cargo center employs 42 people, according to Micronesian newspaper "Marianas Variety."

“Although we will be closing our contact center, the city ticket office will remain open and we are working to determine the right mix of full-time and part-time employees that will be needed to staff that facility,” a (UAL) spokesperson said. “Under the current collective bargaining agreement, employees affected by this decision may have displacement rights and other options, so it is difficult to determine at this time how many positions will be eliminated.”

Despite the closure, (UAL) said it “remains committed to its Guam hub.”

(UAL), the North American launch customer for the 787 Dreamliner, has taken delivery of its first of 50 787 Dreamliners.

(UAL) previously announced it will initially use the 787 on international routes to Africa, Asia and Europe. (UAL) will conduct temporary domestic flights before transitioning its 787 fleet to international service in late 2012: Houston - Amsterdam service begins December 4th; Los Angeles - Tokyo on January 3rd 2013; Houston - Lagos on January 7th; Houston - London from February 4th; Los Angeles - Shanghai on March 30th; and Denver - Tokyo on March 31st.

SEE PHOTOS - - "UAL-2012-09 - 787-8 - 1ST DELIVERY/A."

3 737-924ER (37199, N38458; 37205, N37456; 41744, N28457) and 787-8 (34824, N20904), deliveries.

October 2012: United Continental Holdings (UCH) (UAL)/(CAL) posted third-quarter net income of +$6 million, down -99.1% from a net profit of +$653 million in the prior-year period, though it pointed out that the results are affected by $514 million in special charges related to the ongoing integration of United Airlines (UA) and Continental Airlines (CO).

The special charges include a $454 million lump sum cash payment related to the pending ratification of the agreement in principle between (UCH) and the Air Line Pilots Association for a new labor pact that would see the integration of (UAL) and (CAL) pilot (FC) seniority lists. (UCH) said it would have earned a net profit of +$520 million in the third quarter absent the one-time costs.

(UCH) President & (CEO), Jeff Smisek (who over the summer publicly apologized for a “degradation in operations” and “customer disservice” related to the integration) told analysts and reporters that by September, (UAL) had rebounded to achieve an average on-time arrival rate of 82% after consistently delivering a below-80% performance for several months. “We are now running a reliable airline again,” he said. “We realize some of our customers chose to fly other airlines in the summer [owing to the poor operational performance, but now] we’re confident we can win back customers.”

(UCH) reported third-quarter revenue of $9.91 billion, down -2.6% year-over-year, while expenses rose +5.1% to $9.71 billion, producing an operating profit of +$200 million, down -78.6%. Mainline traffic decreased -1.9% year-over-year to 48.95 billion (RPM)s on a -1.4% dip in capacity to 57.14 billion (ASM)s, leading to a load factor of 85.7% LF, down -0.4 point. Passenger yield declined -1.5% to 14.29 cents.

Smisek acknowledged the difficulties experienced this year related to the ongoing merger, but said many “benefits” from the (UAL)/(CAL) combination will become “visible” in 2013. “We’re working very hard to [tell customers] United (UAL) is back,” he said.

(UAL) will operate its first 787 revenue flight between Houston Intercontinental (IAH) and Chicago O’Hare on November 4 and in January will launch “permanent” 787 routes between Los Angeles and Tokyo Narita and between (IAH) and Lagos, Nigeria.

(UCH) expects full-year 2012 consolidated capacity to be down -1% compared to 2011, with another -1% to -2% drop anticipated in 2013.

A USA Federal Judge in New York has reserved judgment on whether United Continental Holdings (UCH) (UAL)/(CAL) bears responsibility for damages caused by the hijacked American Airlines (AAL) 767 that crashed into the World Trade Center’s north tower on "9/11."

According to a "Reuters" report, (UCH) urged the court to deny World Trade Center Properties’ (WTCP) claim for damages relating to (AAL) Flight 11. The hearing in New York was connected to the pending trial in which (WTCP) will seek $2.8 billion in damages from (UCH) and (AAL).

In the hearing, (UCH) argued it cannot be held liable for damages attributed to the (AAL) airplane. According to "Reuters," (WTCP) argued that the hijackers who commandeered (AAL) Flight 11 initially entered the air transport system on "9/11" via a flight from the Portland (Maine) Jetport (PWM), where United Airlines (UAL) had primary responsibility for security in 2001. (UAL) was “asleep at the switch” at (PWM), a (WTCP) attorney charged.

A (UAL) 767 crashed into the World Trade Center’s south tower on "9/11," but damage caused by that airplane was not a focus of the hearing. It is unclear when the judge will rule in the matter.

United Airlines (UAL) will operate 5X-weekly, 757-200, Chicago O’Hare - Shannon, Ireland service, June 6 - August 26, subject to government approval. The service will complement its existing flights between Newark and Shannon.

(UAL) will also increase 2X-daily, Houston - London Heathrow service to 3X-daily, on March 30 with a 767-300ER. British Airways (BAB) flies twice daily between Houston and London.

Air Canada (ACN) and United Continental Holdings (UCH) have reached an agreement with Canada’s Competition Bureau that should enable the (ACN)/United Airlines (UAL) Canada - USA transborder joint venture (JV) to go forward with some carve outs. “This agreement provides the flexibility to implement a Canada - USA transborder (JV), an increasingly common practice in the global aviation industry, and one that is an important competitive consideration as the industry continues to evolve,” (ACN) said.

The Competition Bureau said that the agreement will “protect consumers and preserve competition on 14 key, high-demand air passenger routes between Canada and the United States.” Under the accord, “(ACN) and (UCH) (UAL)/(CAL) have agreed not to implement their (JV) or to coordinate on 14 air passenger routes between Canada and the USA."

But, according The Canadian Press, the carriers will be able to implement the (JV) on flights between New York and Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, as well on Toronto - Chicago, and Vancouver - Los Angeles services.

(UAL) has converted orders for 38 remaining 737-700s originally placed by Continental Airlines (CAL) to 737-900ERs back in August. It currently operates 46 737-900ERs and 12 737-900s and (UAL) has an additional 94 737-900ERs and 100 737 MAX 9s on order.

November 2012: United Airlines (UA) was not responsible for alleged airport security lapses in the lead up to the "9/11" hijacking of an American Airlines (AAL) airplane that was deliberately crashed into New York’s World Trade Center, "Reuters" and other news agencies reported. According to "Reuters," USA District Judge, Alvin Hellerstein granted a request by (UAL) and parent, United Continental Holdings (UCH) to dismiss negligence claims brought by Larry Silverstein, leaseholder of the World Trade Center Property (WTCP). "It was not within (UAL)'s range of apprehension that terrorists would slip through the (Portland, Maine) security screening checkpoint, fly to [Boston] Logan, proceed through another air carrier's security screening and board that air carrier's flight, hijack the flight and crash it into 1 World Trade Center, let alone that 1 World Trade Center would therefore collapse and cause Tower 7 to collapse," "Reuters" reported that the judge wrote.

The action was brought as part of a wider suit against (UAL) and (AAL) by the (WTCP) and affiliated companies, which purchased 99-year leases for four World Trade Center buildings from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in July 2001, three months before the attacks.

United Airlines (UAL) added a total of five routes on 4 November; two each from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and Denver (DEN), as well as the Fort Lauderdale (FLL) service from Washington Dulles (IAD), which (UAL) last operated in 2008. Daily flights from Chicago O’Hare to Sarasota (SRQ) Florida return to (UAL)’s schedule after 17 years. Notably, the announcement came shortly after AirTran (CQT) decided to pull out of the Sarasota market, dropping its Chicago Midway route in August this year. (UAL) will see competition on only one of the five new routes.

Austrian Airlines (AUL) will launch 5X-weekly, Vienna - Chicago O-Hare 767-300ER service on May 17 in a joint venture with United Airlines (UAL).

Continental (CAL) and United Airlines (UAL) pilots (FC), represented by the Air Line Pilots Assn. (ALPA), have voted to accept a tentative agreement on a joint collective bargaining agreement reached with United Continental Holdings (UCH). The agreement now goes before the pilots (FC) for a ratification vote.

(UAL) Master Executive Council Chairman, Jay Heppner and (CAL) Master Executive Council Chairman, Jay Pierce said in a joint statement: “With this step, we are closer to a new contract that will provide gains in compensation, work rules, job protections, and retirement and benefits for our pilots (FC) and their families. We will finally begin to see the benefits of the merger that were promised to us, and an end to the concessionary and bankruptcy-era contracts we have lived and worked under for more than a decade.”

Integration of seniority lists for the two pilots (FC) groups will occur after ratification of the tentative agreement. (ALPA) represents more than >12,000 (UCH) pilots FC).

December 2012: Hainan Airlines (HNA) is planning to compete with United Airlines and American Airlines (AAL) on the Beijing - Chicago route.

January 2013: United Airlines (UAL) parent, United Continental Holdings (UCH) incurred a 2012 net loss of -$763 million on heavy interest expenses and merger-related costs.

The net deficit was improved over a -$977 net loss in 2011. The company was profitable on an operating basis, posting +$39 million in operating income, but that was down -97.9% year-over-year. “2012 was the toughest year of our merger integration with the former Continental Airlines (CAL)," (UCH) Chairman, President & (CEO), Jeff Smisek told analysts and reporters.

(UAL)’s six 787s remain grounded after the (FAA)’s emergency (AD), but Smisek said (UAL) continues “to have confidence” in the 787 and expects to take delivery of two more 787s this year. He added that neither Boeing (TBC) nor the (FAA) has provided guidance on when the grounding may be lifted.

“The 787 is a terrific airplane and I have no doubt customers will flock back to it once we get it back up in the air,” Smisek said. “Once this particular issue is solved, it’s solved. It’s just a matter of how much time it takes.”

He conceded (UAL) suffered from a poor operational and revenue performance in 2012, but said it has turned the corner and expects more reliable operations in 2013. He added (UAL) has achieved an 84% on-time domestic arrival rate so far in 2013; (UAL) had sunk to a below-80% on-time performance in the middle part of 2012. “We are significantly better today than we were last summer,” he said.

(UCH) will reduce its management and administrative staff by -6% starting next month, Smisek said, noting the move is necessary because the company is “absolutely not satisfied” with last year’s performance. The staff will be reduced by around -600 employees.

(UAL) plans to cut capacity -0.5% year-over-year in 2013 in response to what it expects to be sluggish global economic growth.

(UAL)’s 2012 revenue was flat year-over-year at $37.15 billion, while expenses rose +5.2% to 37.11 billion. Mainline traffic decreased -1.3% to 179.42 billion (RPM)s on a -1.4% cut in capacity to 216.33 billion (ASM)s. Load factor was down -0.1 point to 82.9% LF. Passenger yield increased just +0.6% to 14.38 cents.

(UAL) inaugurated a number of international services in the run-up to Christmas, including daily flights from Washington Dulles (IAD) to San Salvador (SAL), on which route it now competes against Taca (TAC)’s 17 weekly frequencies. Furthermore, in the first week of January, (UAL) launched three high-frequency domestic routes, all of which are operated within the "United Express" brand.

(UAL) introduced daily nonstop 787-8 Dreamliner service between its hub at Los Angeles International Airport and its hub at Tokyo Narita International Airport. The service (previously operated with a 777 airplane) is the first regularly-scheduled international route operated using (UAL)’s new 787 Dreamliner.

The flight, UA 32, departs Los Angeles at 11:15 am (1115), arriving in Tokyo Narita at 4:10 pm (1610) the next day. The return flight, UA 33, departs Tokyo Narita daily at 5:55 pm (1755), arriving in Los Angeles at 10:35 am (1035) the same day.

(UAL)’s 787 Dreamliner is configured with 36CF seats in United BusinessFirst, 70PY seats in United Economy Plus and 113Y seats in United Economy. The 787 will revolutionize the flying experience for (UAL) customers and crews while delivering unprecedented operating efficiency, comfort and lower emissions. Customers on the flights will experience greater comfort with improved lighting, bigger windows, larger overhead bins, lower cabin altitude and enhanced ventilation systems, among other passenger-friendly features.

SEE PHOTO - - "UAL-2013-01 - 1ST 787 INTNL FLT."

On January 2 (LAN) Airlines (Santiago) introduced the 787-8 on the Santiago - Los Angeles route.

(UAL) has introduced on board satellite-based Wi-Fi internet connectivity on the first 747 of its international wide body airplanes, becoming the first USA-based international carrier to offer customers the ability to stay connected while traveling on long-haul overseas routes. The connectivity solution offers customers two speeds of service at different price points. The 747 is the first of (UAL)'s international wide body airplane to feature the connectivity product.

The airplane, a 747 outfitted with Panasonic Avionics Corporation’s Ku-band satellite technology, serves trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific routes.

Additionally, (UAL) has outfitted Ku-band satellite Wi-Fi on two A319 airplanes serving domestic routes, offering customers faster in-flight Internet service than air-to-ground technology (ATG). The company expects to complete installation of satellite-based WiFi on 300 mainline airplanes by the end of this year. “Satellite-based Wi-Fi service enables us to better serve our customers and offer them more of what they want in a global airline,” said Jim Compton, Vice Chairman & Chief Revenue Officer at (UAL). “With this new service, we continue to build the airline that customers want to fly.”

Customers have the choice of two speeds: "Standard," priced initially between $3.99 and $14.99, depending on the duration of flight, and "Accelerated," priced initially between $5.99 and $19.99 and offering faster download speeds than "Standard."

(UAL) will install satellite-based Wi-Fi on A319 and A320s, and on 737, 747, 757, 767, 777 and 787 airplanes. Customers will be able to use their wireless devices such as laptops, smart phones and tablets on board those airplanes to connect with internet service using the in-flight hotspot.

United Continental Holdings (UCH) selected Panasonic Avionics to supply the service in November 2011.

(UAL) is upgrading its fleet with more than >$550 million in additional on board improvements, including:

- Offering the world’s largest fleet of airplanes with flat-bed seats, with more than >175 airplanes with 180-degree flat beds in premium cabins once (UAL) completes the installation in the second quarter.

- Expanding extra-legroom Economy Plus seating to provide the most such seating of any USA carrier.

- Revamping the transcontinental “p.s.” fleet of airplanes that fly between New York Kennedy and Los Angeles and San Francisco, offering an improved premium cabin with fully flat beds, Wi-Fi Internet service, and personal on-demand entertainment at every seat.

- Improving in-flight entertainment options with streaming video content on the 747-400 fleet.

- Retrofitting overhead bins on 152 Airbus airplanes, allowing for significantly greater storage of carry-on baggage.

United Airlines (UAL) has broken ground on a 90,000 sq ft airplane maintenance hangar at Newark International Airport. (UAL) is investing more than >$25 million in the facility and expects to complete construction by year end. It is building the hangar in partnership with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

"This state-of-the-art facility will be the workplace for more than >700 (UAL) Aviation Maintenance Technicians (MT)," (UAL) VP Line Maintenance, Joe Ferreira said.

(UAL) has more than >400 daily departures from New York Newark, with approximately 13,000 employees based at the location.

The USA (FAA) has grounded USA operators of the 787, saying it is issuing an emergency airworthiness directive (AD) to address a potential battery fire risk on the airplane. The (FAA) said all USA-registered operators of 787s must temporarily cease their Dreamliner operations. “Before further flight, operators of USA-registered, 787 airplanes must demonstrate to the (FAA) that the batteries are safe. The (FAA) will work with Boeing (TBC) and carriers to develop a corrective action plan to allow the USA 787 fleet to resume operations as quickly and safely as possible,” it said.

United Airlines (UAL) is the only current USA operator of the 787, with six airplanes in service. When the (FAA) issues an (AD), it also alerts the international aviation community to the action so other civil aviation authorities can take parallel action to cover the fleets operating in their own countries.

A (UAL) spokesman issued this statement: “(UAL) will immediately comply with the (AD) and will work closely with the (FAA) and Boeing (TBC) on the technical review as we work toward restoring 787 service. We will begin re-accommodating customers on alternate airplanes.”

The (FAA)’s statement added the (AD) was prompted by the January 16 in-flight All Nippon Airways (ANA) battery incident, which followed the January 7 Japan Airlines (JAL) 787 battery incident that occurred on the ground in Boston.

The statement continued: “The (AD) is prompted by this second incident involving a lithium ion battery. The battery failures resulted in release of flammable electrolytes, heat damage and smoke on two model 787 airplanes. The root cause of these failures is currently under investigation. These conditions, if not corrected, could result in damage to critical systems and structures, and the potential for fire in the electrical compartment."

Earlier, the (FAA) had announced a comprehensive review of the 787’s critical systems with the possibility of further action pending new data and information. In addition to the continuing review of the airplane’s design, manufacture and assembly, the (FAA) also will validate that 787 batteries and the battery system on the airplanes are in compliance with the special condition the (FAA) issued as part of the 787’s certification.


February 2013: United Airlines (UAL) launched a weekly seasonal route from its Chicago O’Hare (ORD) hub to the capital city of the Bahamas, Nassau (NAS), on 9 February. The low frequency service is operated by SkyWest using 66-seater CRJ-700 and is scheduled to terminate in early August.

Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) will launch 5X-weekly, Brussels - Washington Dulles A330 service on June 18. The route is (DAT)/(EBA)’s second transatlantic destination, following the launch of Brussels - New York service in June 2012. Code share partner, United Airlines (UAL) already operates a daily service on the route, bringing the combined offering to 12 weekly flights. Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) says it will add an eighth A330 to facilitate the new route.

(UAL) has removed the 787 from its flight schedule through June 5, though it is still hopeful it can launch Denver - Tokyo Narita 787 service in May. (UAL) had six 787s in its fleet when the (FAA) ordered the grounding of 787 Dreamliners on January 16. (UAL), the only North American carrier that has taken delivery of the 787, said it has made plans to use other airplanes in its place through June 5. It could bring the 787 back sooner if the (FAA) lifts the grounding.

(UAL) had planned to launch 787 service between Denver and Tokyo Narita on March 31, and appears to want to wait until it can use the 787 Dreamliner to fly the route. It has tentatively delayed the route’s launch until May 12, when it hopes the 787 will be available.

“The 787 is a terrific airplane and I have no doubt customers will flock back to it once we get it back up in the air,” United Chairman, President & (CEO) Jeff Smisek said recently.

Airlines for America (A4A) Senior VP Safety, Security & Operations, Dan Elwell said, “We have the upmost confidence in Boeing (TBC) and the (FAA)” to find a safe resolution to the 787 lithium ion battery problems. Boeing (TBC) is reportedly meeting February 22nd with the (FAA) to propose a 787 fix.

March 2013: United Airlines (UAL) commenced operations on the 4,200 km route from San Francisco, California (SFO) to Fort Lauderdale, Florida (FLL) on 2 March. Daily flights on the route are operated using 737-800s in competition with Virgin America (VUS) (13 weekly frequencies) and JetBlue Airways (JBL) (7).

(UAL) has upgraded its flat-bed seat premium cabin. The enhanced transcontinental “p.s.” premium service, offered on (UAL)’s 757s, includes all new interiors, personal on-demand entertainment, Gogo Wi-Fi connectivity, in-seat power and (USB) ports.

The refreshed cabin features 28 BE Aerospace flat-bed seats, replacing 12 angled lie-flat and 26 reclining seats, which equip its traditional p.s. fleet. The new configuration also offers 48 extra-legroom economy plus seats and 66 seats in economy (Y) class. Newly designed Panasonic inflight entertainment touch-screens measure 15.4 inches in the premium cabin and 9 inches in economy (Y).

The first flight to offer the new seats in its p.s. cabin was on a Los Angeles - New York (JFK) flight March 18. (UAL) launched p.s. service in 2004 and offers the enhanced class on all nonstop flights from New York (JFK) to Los Angeles (40 flights weekly each way) and San Francisco (46 flights weekly each way).

(UAL) began offering Gogo in-flight connectivity in 2009, and in 2012 introduced the 180-degree flat beds in premium cabins. It plans to launch additional reconfigured airplanes in June and reconfigure the entire p.s. fleet by year end.

United Airlines (UAL) is rolling out an application programming interface (API) developed by Farelogix. The existence of the (API) was revealed by Priceline, which announced that it had signed a new long-term agreement with (UAL), with plans to implement the United Technology Application “as the primary connectivity between the two parties.” “(UAL) and Priceline.com will work together to develop innovative ancillary products and services to be delivered through the United Technology Application,” it said. “Booking of tickets using the United Technology Application began earlier this year.”

Priceline also was an early adopter of American Airlines’ (AADC) connection.

(UAL) has made no secret of its interest in direct connections. It was a charter member of Open (AXIS), the organization founded to promote the use of (XML) as the preferred means of connecting airlines with distributors, and it was identified in 2010 as one of several carriers that had “embraced the Farelogix (XML) direct connection strategy.” Farelogix developed American’s (AADC) and Air Canada (ACN)’s (AC2U) (API)s.

Delta (DAL) also has signed a deal with Farelogix, although Chris Phillips, Director Sales Development & Distribution Planning, said last year that he does not view the technology as a direct connect but rather as “another Global Distribution System (GDS).”

US Airways (AMW)/(USA) and WestJet (WJI) also are Farelogix customers.

Farelogix (CEO), Jim Davidson said the United Tech Application “works pretty much the same as (AADC) and (AC2U) and our other airline customers’ [APIs] do, all using the Open (AXIS) (API)/schema, soon to be the (IATA) (NDC) (API)/schema.”

Much of that schema was donated to Open (AXIS) by Farelogix, and (IATA) has selected it to form the basis of its New Distribution Capability standard.

(UAL) said it supports (NDC) “as a way of getting enhanced content out to third parties. Having a consistent process and set of technical specifications makes it easier to support new features.”
(DAL) and US Airways (AMW)/(USA) executives have publicly stated that they will not force direct connections on agencies.

Asked whether (UAL) would be in that camp or if it planned to adopt American (AAL)’s more aggressive approach, (UAL) said, “Technological change is never an easy process, but innovation that benefits consumers will be valued by the corporate community.”

United Airlines (UAL) signed a 10 year lease extension with San Francisco Airport Commission on its 130-acre maintenance operations center at the airport. (UAL) also has maintenance facilities at its hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston and Los Angeles and is currently building wide body hangars at Newark and Washington Dulles airports.

(UAL) currently plans to retire its remaining six 737-500s in its fleet by June 5. It had inherited 27 of the airplanes through the merger with Continental Airlines (CAL) in 2012. The last flight is currently scheduled to be UA1429 from Austin Bergstrom International (AUS) to Newark Liberty International (EWR) (subject to change). Sriwijaya Air ((IATA) Code: SJ, based at Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International airport (CGK)) (SJA) and UTair ((IATA) Code:UT, based at Khanty-Mansiysk airport (HMA)) (TYU) have so far acquired all of the airplanes already retired from (UAL)’s fleet.

FedEx Express ((IATA) Code: FX, based at Memphis International airport (MEM)) (FED) has agreed with United Airlines (UAL) to acquire 14 of (UAL) 757-200s that will be converted to freighters for the logistics giant between 2013 and 2015. (FED) also has the option to acquire another 16 airplanes from (UAL) at a later stage. (UAL) currently operates 132 757-200s, FedEx (FED) already has 79 of the airplanes although 15 are still undergoing or awaiting freighter conversion.

April 2013: United Continental Holdings, parent of United Airlines (UAL), has posted a first-quarter net loss of -$417 million, including $92 million of special charges, compared with a 2012 first-quarter net loss of -$448 million.

Total revenue was $8.7 billion, an increase of +1.4%. First-quarter consolidated passenger revenue increased +0.7% to $7.6 billion.

First-quarter 2013 consolidated passenger revenue increased +0.7% year-over-year on a consolidated capacity reduction of -4.9%. First-quarter consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile increased +5.9%.

Consolidated unit costs increased +7.2% year-over-year on a capacity reduction of -4.9%.

(UAL) Chairman & (CEO), Jeff Smisek said it had been a difficult quarter financially, but that operational performance has significantly improved despite challenging weather conditions. “We are encouraged by our unit revenue performance this quarter, and we are working hard to build on our overall revenue progress this year,” said Jim Compton, (UAL)’s Vice Chairman & Chief Revenue Officer.

First-quarter operating expenses increased 1.3% to $112 million.

“We are focused companywide on operating more efficiently. Moreover, we are building an infrastructure to achieve our return-on-invested-capital goals and generate long-term returns,” United EVP and CFO John Rainey said. “Our balance sheet is the healthiest it's been in years, and that benefits everyone—co-workers, customers and investors.”

With flights already being operated from its New York Newark, New Jersey and Houston Intercontinental hubs, United Airlines (UAL) has connected two further hubs: – Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and Washington Dulles (IAD), with the Central American capital city destinations of Guatemala City (GUA) and San Jose (SJO). Chicago O’Hare receives a link to the Costa Rican capital following an eight-year hiatus, as (UAL) last flew the route in April 2005 with its 757s. Washington Dulles to San Jose is also a re-start, which saw its flights dropped from the USA capital in September 2005. Its DC hub also gains another capital city link to Guatemala. In addition, to these new low frequency links (all are operated with single weekly frequencies), (UAL)’s regional partner ExpressJet Airlines will begin flying a daily service to Mobile (MOB) with its ERJ-145 airplanes from Chicago O’Hare.

(UAL) resumed service on the 9,000 km route from San Francisco (SFO) to Paris CDG (CDG) on 26 April, a market (UAL) previously served until October 2005. Daily flights are now offered on the route, which will be flown by 767-300s. Competition on the route comes from AirFrance (AFA), which operates 12 weekly frequencies.

United Airlines (UAL) fleet service, passenger service and storekeeper employees rejected tentative labor agreements reached with airline management in February. The inability of (UAL) to secure a unified labor contract with more than >28,000 workers from several work groups representing legacy United (UAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL) employees, marked another setback for (UAL), which has struggled with labor and technology integration issues since the fall 2010 merger of United (UAL) and Continental (CAL). Integration problems contributed to a large net loss incurred by United in 2012.

The International Association of Machinists (IAM) said the workers “emphatically rejected the tentative agreements reached with (UAL)” in voting conducted across the USA. The union said it is notifying the USA National Mediation Board “of our request to enter into federally mediated negotiations. Negotiations will resume based on the directives of the National Mediation Board.”

(UAL) said, “We believe these tentative agreements are in the best interests of [the employees] and the company. We will work with the (IAM) and National Mediation Board to determine our next steps.”

Of the various (UAL) work groups, only its pilots (FC) have ratified a joint labor agreement covering both legacy (UAL) and (CAL) employees.

Aer Lingus (ARL) and United Airlines (UAL) have expanded their code share agreement to include the USA carrier's year-round Washington Dulles - Dublin service, as well as its summer flights from Chicago O'Hare to Shannon.

The Irish flag carrier already code shares on (UAL)-operated flights to 51 cities across North America. In return, (UAL) places its code on Aer Lingus (ARL)-operated flights from Dublin, Cork, Belfast, and Shannon to London Heathrow.

(UAL) has inked a firm order for 30 Embraer EMB-175 jets plus 40 options. If all options are exercized, the combined order for 70 airplanes has an estimated value of $2.9 billion at current list prices. The Emb-175s, which will be operated under the United Express brand, will be configured in a 76Y-seat layout. The first delivery is scheduled for the first quarter of 2014. (UAL) VP, Chairman & Chief Revenue Officer, Jim Compton said the EMB-175s are part of (UAL)’s fleet modernization plan. The EMB-175s will operate under the "United Express" brand, with the first one due for delivery in first quarter of 2014. No details have emerged yet on which United Express carrier will be operating the airplanes. Shuttle America ((IATA) Code: S5, based at Fort Wayne International (FWA)) currently already operates 38 EMB-170s for United (UAL).

May 2013: United Airlines (UAL) added New York Newark (EWR) as the fifth USA airport it connects with Canadian Edmonton (YEG) on 1 May. Six weekly departures are offered on the 3,300 km route and operated using A319s. Reg Milley, the airport’s (CEO), commented: “Last year alone, about 44,000 people from this region travelled to New York to enjoy New York, so we know there’s a good market there.”

(UAL), the USA launch customer for the 787 with six in its fleet, said it will restart 787 Dreamliner service May 20 with domestic flights. (UAL) said that two of its 787s have been retrofitted with Boeing (TBC)’s fix for the airplane’s lithium ion batteries. Flights starting May 20 will be from Houston Intercontinental to other domestic hubs in (UAL)’s network.

The domestic flights will be a prelude to (UAL) restarting international 787 service June 10 with flights between Denver and Tokyo Narita, a route it had planned to launch March 31, but had to postpone when the worldwide 787 fleet was grounded January 16.

(UAL) Chief Operations Officer, Pete McDonald said, “Boeing (TBC) and the (FAA) were diligent in their work to fix the battery issue, and now the 787 is poised to fly the missions we planned and provide our customers with the features and reliability they want on their long-haul flights.” (UAL) Chairman, President & (CEO) Jeff Smisek has previously said, “The airplane is a terrific airplane and I have no doubt customers will flock back to it once we get it back up in the air.”

Sabre has signed a new, long-term, full content agreement with United Airlines (UAL) that will make ancillary products and services, including economy plus seats, available in the Sabre global distribution system (GDS).

June 2013: United Airlines (UAL) is to start using biofuel on Los Angeles (LAX) flights in 2014.

(UAL), the USA launch customer for the 787, re-started its international 787 Dreamliner service Tuesday, June 11th with a new Denver - Tokyo Narita route. (UAL) had planned to inaugurate the Denver - Tokyo flights March 31, but those plans were put on hold when FAA grounded the 787 in January owing to concerns over the aircraft’s lithium ion batteries. The grounding came less than two weeks after (UAL) had started international 787 service by flying the 787 Dreamliner on its Los Angeles - Tokyo Narita route.

(UAL) had six 787s in its fleet at the time of the grounding, and those airplanes were parked for more than >4 months until (UAL) started operating the 787 on selected domestic flights May 20.

Boeing (TBC) officially launched the Boeing 787-10 at the Paris Air Show. (TBC) is going ahead with the development of the 787-10 on the back of firm commitments for 102 from five different customers. The first 787-10 is to be delivered in 2018.

Among the customers launching the program are Air Lease Corporation (ALE) (30 airplanes), United Airlines (UAL) (20), British Airways (BAB) (12), Singapore Airlines (SIA) (30) and GECAS (GEF) (ten). All of the orders are new commitments except ten of the 20 (UAL) airplanes, which have been rolled over from a previous 787 order and converted into the larger version.

The 787-10 is a 18 ft stretch of the 787-9, allowing room for around +40 additional seats. Boeing (TBC) says it will offer room for around 300 - 330 passengers. The 787-10 will have a range of 7,000 naut mi. “The 787-10 will be the most efficient jetliner in history,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) President & (CEO), Ray Conner said at the launch event in Paris. “The 787-10 is +25% more efficient than airplanes of its size today and more than >10% better than anything being offered by the competition for the future.”

According to Boeing (TBC), final assembly and flight tests of the 787-10 are both to begin in 2017 with first delivery scheduled for 2018. “The 787-10 will be one of the most powerful wide-body airplanes for decades ahead,” (ALE) Chairman/(CEO), Steven Udvar-Hazy said. In his opinion, the 787-10 will benefit from operational and development experience gained on the 787-8 and the 787-9.

Boeing managed to overcome Hazy’s initial concerns about range by increasing it to 7,000 naut mi. Hazy said that was addressed by introducing a slightly higher maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 553,000 pounds. Some reinforcements in the wing to body attachment area and on the landing gear were needed to accommodate the increased weight. Engine thrust will also be slightly higher than originally planned. “The range covers 97% of the wide body city pairs of the world,” Hazy pointed out. Its range will be around 1,500 nautical miles more than the 787-9.

The (ALE) (CEO) believes that a lot of 777-200s and Airbus A340s will be replaced by the 787-10. (ALE) is also working with Boeing (TBC) on the 777X, but it is still too early for a launch decision according to Hazy. “It is still under design refinement,” Hazy stated.

(UAL) increased its 787 Dreamliner order to 65 airplanes (including six previously delivered airplanes) with an order for 20 787-10s.

(UAL) is the North American launch customer for the 787-10 and it expects delivery of its first airplane in 2018. (UAL) ordered 10 incremental 787-10 airplanes and will convert 10 existing 787s on order to 787-10s, enabling the airline to further modernize its international wide body fleet by replacing older, less efficient airplanes. The advanced technology and composite construction of the 787 reduce fuel burn and carbon emissions, while providing a superior customer experience.

(UAL) is currently the only USA airline to operate the 787. (UAL) has six new 787-8 airplanes in service and had previous orders for an additional 49 787 Dreamliners consisting of both the 787-8 and 787-9 variants. The 787-10 is a stretched version of the 787-9 and will offer the lowest fuel burn per seat of any airplane in its size category. The 787 offers up to +20% better fuel efficiency per seat than similarly sized airplanes, due in part to the more than >50% composite makeup of its structure. The 787 also boasts an enhanced in-flight experience including larger windows, larger overhead bins and lower cabin altitude with enhanced ventilation systems that reduce the effects of jet lag.

“Advanced technology airplanes like the 787-10 are key to (UAL)’s future, enabling us to fly fuel-efficient, customer-pleasing airplanes that are the right size for many long-haul markets in our unparalleled network,” says Jeff Smisek, (UAL)’s Chairman, President, & (CEO). “At (UAL), we continue to modernize our fleet to operate our airline more efficiently, while improving the flight experience for our customers and work environment for our co-workers.”

The 787-10 order is the latest in (UAL)’s commitment to improve the efficiency of its fleet. In July of last year, (UAL) announced a narrow body order for 100 Boeing 737 MAX 9 airplanes and 50 Boeing 737-900ER airplanes. In addition, (UAL) has an order for 25 Airbus A350 airplanes. (UAL) is also modernizing its United Express fleet by adding seventy 76-seat Embraer airplanes that will be operated by United Express regional partners.

(UAL) has ordered 10 Airbus A350-1000s and has converted an existing order for 25 A350-900s into A350-1000s, giving (UAL) a total order of 35 airplanes.

2 737-924ERs (37100, N39475; 38703, N36476), deliveries.

July 2013: United Airlines (UAL) parent, United Continental Holdings (UCH) earned net income of +$469 million in the second quarter, up +38.3% over a net profit of +$339 million in the prior-year on record-high revenue.

United (UAL)’s assertive response to encroachment by familiar rival Virgin America (VUS) on core markets from (UAL)’s Newark hub to Los Angeles and San Francisco does not seem to be significantly affecting the network carrier's 2nd quarter 2013 revenue performance as its current unit revenue projections are in line with those issued by its largest rival Delta (DAL).

Previously, (UAL) executives had warned that the new competition from Virgin America (VUS) in those two key trunk Newark transcontinental markets would pressure its unit revenues for the current quarter, but the +0.3% to +1.3% rise in that metric forecast by (UAL) is roughly on par with the flat unit revenue performance forecast by Delta (DAL).

After Virgin America (VUS) introduced its thrice daily service from Newark to Los Angeles and San Francisco in April 2013, (UAL) crafted an interesting response – a huge capacity increase accompanied by undercutting the fares offered by its smaller rival. Given the new found capacity discipline and the abandonment of chasing market share by the USA major carriers, (UAL)’s response to Virgin America (VUS)’s market entry in Newark seems to come from an old airline playbook, which has raised some eyebrows. But after a tumultuous 2012, (UAL)’s aggressive counter offensive is somewhat understandable as it has a campaign under way to win back corporate customers who fled during operational meltdowns a year ago.

United Airlines (UAL) started operations on the 5,400 km route from New York Newark, (EWR) to Anchorage (ANC) on July 6. The route, which was previously served by Continental (CAL) (last in the summer of 2003), is operated with a single weekly frequency using 757-200s.

(UAL) inaugurated weekly flights from New York Newark (EWR) to Saint Lucia (UVF) on July 13th. The low frequency service on the 3,300 km route to the eastern Caribbean island is operated using variable 737 equipment. (UAL) will cut two international routes and down gauge a third from September, as it targets an up to 1.75% capacity cut this year.

Daily flights between Newark and Buenos Aires operated on a 767-300ER will end on September 29 and daily flights between Newark and Istanbul also operated on a 767-300ER, will end on October 26. (UAL) will continue to serve Buenos Aires from its Houston Intercontinental hub. It will no longer serve Istanbul. (UAL) began the Newark - Istanbul flights in July 2012 and the Newark - Buenos Aires flights in April 2012.

(UAL) will also down gauge its daily flight between Seattle and Tokyo Narita to a 219-seat 787-8 from a 269-seat 777-200, which has operated on the route for years, from November 5.

The route cuts and aircraft changes will get (UAL) closer to its guidance of a 0.75% to 1.75% capacity cut for the full year. However, as it continues to cut capacity it is also losing passengers. The number of on board passengers has decreased at (UAL) in every month since January, with passengers down -2.9% in June on a -2% decrease in available seat miles (ASM).

A (UAL) 737-800, retrofitted with the new Split Scimitar winglet, launched its maiden test flight in Everett, Washington. In January, (UAL) served as the launch customer for the innovative winglet when it made a firm commitment with Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) to retrofit its 737-800 fleet. In June, (UAL) announced its commitment to also retrofit its 737-900ER fleet.

Airbus (EDS)' June 2013 orders and deliveries report shows that United Airlines (UAL) cancelled 7 A319s and 5 A320s, leaving it with 16 A319s and 14 A320s remaining on order. (UAL) has one of the oldest orders in Airbus (EDS)' backlog, having last ordered A320-family airplanes in May 2001. (UAL) took delivery of A320-family airplanes at a steady pace beginning in November 1993, but deliveries ended abruptly in October 2002.

August 2013: United Continental Holdings (UAL) tumbled -7.2% to pace a slide by USA airlines as crude prices climbed on speculation that tensions in Syria will disrupt oil supplies. “If oil goes up, the price of jet fuel goes up immediately after,” Robert McAdoo, an Imperial Capital LLC analyst, said. “People are worried that in the short run, airlines’ earnings could be hurt.”

The "Bloomberg" US Airlines Index fell -5.1% in New York to the lowest level since June 24. United (UAL), the world’s largest carrier, had the biggest one-day drop since August 13. All 10 airlines in the gauge declined.

Jet fuel is refined from crude oil and is typically the largest expense for USA airlines. West Texas Intermediate crude jumped almost +3% on concern that the USA is nearing a military strike on Syria after accusing President Bashar al-Assad’s government of using chemical weapons on civilians.

Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said that Syria’s defenses will “surprise” the world if the USA and its allies take military action. Western powers told the Syrian opposition to expect a strike against Assad’s forces within days, "Reuters" reported.

(WTI) for October delivery climbed +$3.09, or +2.9%, to $109.01 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was the highest settlement since February 24, 2012, and the largest percentage gain since May 2.

Syria borders Iraq and is near Iran, countries that together hold almost a fifth of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’s output capacity, according to "Bloomberg" estimates. Syria itself produced just 164,000 barrels a day of the 28.3 million pumped in the Middle East last year, according to BP Plc (BP/)’s Statistical Review of World Energy. “Geopolitical instability in the Middle East is always good for crude oil prices, which is never good for airline stocks, who derive approximately a third of their operating expenses from fuel costs,” Michael Razewski, a principal at Douglas C Lane & Associates in New York, said. The firm has $3.2 billion under management including shares of Delta Airlines (DAL), (UAL) and Southwest Airlines (SWA).

In the second quarter, lower fuel expenses helped airlines such as (DAL) and the US Airways Group (AMW)/(USA) post earnings that exceeded analysts’ estimates. Jet fuel slipped -6.5% during the three months to June 28.

United Airlines (UAL) began weekly, Newark - St Lucia 737-800 service.

(UAL) is seeking government approval for the authority to fly its fleet of 787s on a new nonstop route between San Francisco and Chengdu, China. (UAL) submitted an application to the Department of Transportation (DoT) seeking the approval. After lifting the ban that grounded the worldwide fleet of 787s in January due to problems with the lithium-ion battery, the (FAA) did not impose any extended operations (ETOPS) restrictions on the 787. However, the (DoT) is likely to scrutinize the application from (UAL) due to the grounding, and recent risks that were discovered regarding the emergency locator transmitter (ELT), which caused an Ethiopian Airlines (ETH) Dreamliner to catch on fire at London's Heathrow International Airport. If approved, the new routes will be available three times per week: Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

(UAL) confirms it has installed the equipment for ViaSat's satellite-based Ka-band service on a 737 airplane in its fleet and plans to launch the service in the fourth quarter. (UAL) says it is undergoing the USA Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) certification process for the equipment, which includes a Ka-band antenna and accompanying radome installation. It is unclear whether the launch later this year will be a full-scale commercial roll-out or the testing that airlines typically carry out after new connectivity installations.

(UAL)'s Continental (CAL) subsidiary first signed a letter of intent (LOI) with satellite operator ViaSat and JetBlue (JBL) subsidiary, LiveTV in 2011 to install the service on more than >200 737 and 757s.
JetBlue (JBL), the launch customer for the Ka-band service, told investors on July 30 that it expects to start flying three A320s with its Ka-band connectivity later this year, branded "Fly-Fi." (JBL) is awaiting an (FAA) supplemental type certificate (STC) for the equipment, after undergoing several flight tests on an A320 in June, with plans to roll out the service on that fleet before expanding it to its Embraer EMB-190 jets later on.

ViaSat's in-flight broadband is designed to provide a connection of up to 12 Mbps or more to each individual passenger on board the airplane. The California-based firm has already launched its ViaSat-1 satellite to provide coverage within the USA, and plans to expand capacity to new areas in 2016 with the launch of ViaSat-2, which offers coverage across North, Central and South America and across the Atlantic.

Hong Kong Aircraft & Engineering Company (HAECO) (CAT) completed its first heavy maintenance visit 4 (HMV4) on a United Airlines (UAL) 747-400 in August.

According to FAPA.aero, (UAL) furloughed pilots (FC) will continue to be offered (FC) positions. (UAL) will be selecting applicants for interviews in the coming months to fill positions in 2013. (UAL) recruiters plan to be at the FAP.aero Pilot Job Fair in Chicago in October.

September 2013: United Airlines (UAL) announced that it will recall the "nearly 600 pilots (FC)" currently on furlough. (UAL) says it's making the move "to address (UAL)'s future staffing needs," adding that "no United (UAL) pilots (FC) will remain on furlough following the recall." Those pilots (FC) who bypass the recall will be on "leave of absence" and not considered furloughed.

"We look forward to welcoming back our co-workers as we complete work to integrate all of our pilots (FC) into a single work group," Howard Attarian, (UAL)'s Senior VP Flight Operations, said. "We are pleased to have this group of talented aviators back on our team. They are among the most experienced and most accomplished in the industry."

However, "The Wall Street Journal" notes that (UAL) "isn't calling back the pilots (FC) because it plans a growth spree." Instead, (UAL) said the recall is meant to fill positions that will come open as current pilots (FC) retire and because of new pilot (FC) rest rules that (UAL) expects will require it to increase its number of pilots (FC).

(UAL) said training classes for the recalled pilots (FC) will begin next month and run through the end of the year. In total, (UAL) has more than >12,000 pilots (FC).

"We welcome our brother and sister pilots (FC) back with open arms," Captain Jay Heppner, Chairman of the Leadership Council of (UAL)'s branch of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), said. "We have worked toward this day for more than >5 years."

The recall announcement comes shortly after the pilot (FC)'s union announced a three-member arbitration panel has established a merged seniority list, which is final and binding. (UAL) and Continental (CAL) merged in 2010, and pilots (FC) approved a joint union contract in December. But they also needed a merged list that ranks who was hired when. Seniority is important to pilots (FC) because it dictates who gets the most favorable schedules, who flies which planes, and who gets laid off first.

United Airlines (UAL) has reached tentative agreements on new joint collective bargaining agreements with the International Association of Machinists (IAM) for the fleet service, passenger service and storekeeper work groups at its United (UAL), Continental (CAL), Continental Micronesia (MCR) and MileagePlus subsidiaries.

The (IAM) said the tentative agreements preserve and improve pensions, stabilize health care costs and expand job security provisions while providing immediate and retroactive wage increases for all (IAM) members at the new United Airlines (UAL), which includes former employees of Continental Airlines (CAL) and Continental Micronesia (MCR). The (IAM), which represents approximately 30,000 workers, unanimously recommended ratification of the four-year agreements. All ratification voting is expected to be completed by November 1.

United Airlines (UAL) begins 5X-weekly, Chicago (ORD) - Edinburgh summer service May 22 - June 11; daily service, June 12 - September 1; and 4X-weekly, service between September 2 - October 5. The route will be operated with a 757-200 airplanes with 169 seats in a two-class configuration. The route is the 11th addition to (UAL)’s network at Chicago since the start of 2013.

(UAL) plans to launch new nonstop flights between San Francisco and Chengdu, China, on a 787-8 in 2014. The new service will operate three-times weekly from June 9th 2014, pending USA government approval.

The USA Department of Transportation (DOT) is likely to approve the proposed flights as it has unused USA - China frequencies available to USA airlines. Flights between San Francisco International and Chengdu Shuangliu International airports would be the second new route launched by (UAL) with its 219-seat 787s. The first was Denver - Tokyo Narita this past June.

The route would also be the first by a USA carrier beyond China's heavily populated east coast, where American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL) and (UAL) all serve Beijing and Shanghai Pudong. (DAL) previously flew to Guangzhou. No carriers fly between Chengdu and San Francisco - or anywhere in the USA.

Brian Znotins, VP Network at (UAL) said in May that China and India were two "hot" markets that were ideal for more 787 services. He named possible second tier cities in China, including Changchun and Guangzhou as possible future destinations.

Now, United (UAL) has leapfrogged Guangzhou and instead intends to begin thrice weekly flights on the 787 to Chengdu in the west of the country (it's a good thousand miles or so away from Beijing).

Chengdu is set to play a critical role in the next wave of economic development in Western China. It is hardly a surprise, therefore, that nearly half of the world’s Fortune 500 companies have opened offices in the city, and that Chengdu is aiming to become China’s fastest growing aviation hub. Last year, Chengdu Airport saw traffic growth of +8.7% to 31.6 million passengers. Chengdu, is the capital of China's Sichuan province and is ranked among China’s top five cities with a population of 14 million in its administrative area. Although the city is known for its giant pandas, it also has significant industries, including electronics, automotive and aerospace parts, medicine, food and tobacco processing, metallurgy and petroleum.

Chengdu is huge, and is also the "tech" center of the west of China, and it's growing quickly. (KLM) flies there from Amsterdam, and British Airways (BAB) will start from London in just a couple weeks. But nobody flies from the Americas, and for good reason. A flight from San Francisco to Chengdu is pushing 6,000 miles in around 14 hours. That's further than it is from New York to Tokyo. Today, you need a big, long-haul airplane to fly that route, but the demand just isn't quite there to fill it . . . yet. With the 787, (UAL) finally has an airplane that can fly long routes with only 219 seats. And it can fly those people economically.

This route couldn't have been considered several years ago, but now it's going to happen. And it means (UAL) will provide the only single-stop service to Chengdu from a lot of places within the USA.

United (UAL) will have 10 787s in its fleet by April 2014. (UAL) also benefits from joint venture (JV) partner All Nippon Airways’ (ANA) (the largest operator of the 787) support capabilities in Japan, as well as product consistency with the Japanese carrier by concentrating its 787 Dreamliners in Asia, and especially Japan.

All of these reasons (and probably a few more) are likely driving (UAL)’s decision to concentrate its 787s across the Pacific, helping make the region a veritable playground of the new Boeing 787 jet.

October 2013: United Continental Holdings (UCH), parent of United Airlines (UAL), is reporting third-quarter earned net income of +$379 million, up substantially from a +$6 million net profit during 2012’s third quarter.

United Airlines (UAL) has entered into the growing competitive fray on the USA west coast with a push from its hubs in the region into two of Delta (DAL)’s hubs. Competition was ignited by the Alaska Air Group and (DAL) with (DAL) increasing its service footprint from Seattle to drive feed for its burgeoning Pacific operation from the airport.

(UAL)’s decision to add service from San Francisco to Atlanta, and between Los Angeles and Minneapolis occurs as (DAL) in early 2014 begins a push into Seattle from the airport’s heavily travelled domestic markets to bolster its growing international footprint from Seattle with a particular focus on Asia.

The decision by (UAL) to add service into its west coast hubs is occurring against a backdrop of weaker than expected revenue performance for 3rd Quarter 2013 driven by lower yields in some trans-Atlantic markets and competitive capacity in China, that contributed to lower than expected yields in (UAL)’s Pacific entity.

Silver Airways and United Airlines (UAL) have signed a code share agreement for service throughout Florida and The Bahamas. Silver Airways will continue to operate as United Express in their shared mid-Atlantic hubs at Cleveland and Washington DC Dulles.

The USA Department of Transportation (DOT) has fined United Airlines (UAL) $1.1 million for a series of lengthy tarmac delays at Chicago-O’Hare International Airport one day last year when the airport was affected by severe thunderstorms. According to the (DOT), this is the largest fine assessed for a tarmac-delay violation since the rule limiting long tarmac delays first took effect in April 2010.

Of the $1.1 million, the (DOT) said (UAL) will pay the United States $475,000; the remainder covers mitigation measures for affected passengers and significant corrective actions by (UAL) to enhance future compliance with tarmac delay requirements.

The (DOT) said (UAL) is being fined for “13 lengthy tarmac delays that took place on a day when severe thunderstorms and lightning caused several ramp closures and disrupted the movement of airplanes at O’Hare. Delays by (UAL) and its United Express code share affiliates exceeded the three-hour limit for tarmac delays by as little as two minutes and as much as 77 minutes.”

Although (UAL) had a contingency plan for tarmac delays, the (DOT) said its Aviation Enforcement Office found (UAL) did not implement the plan during these delays, and that the plan was inadequate to cover foreseeable weather emergencies in which there were more planes on the ground than space at gates. According to the (DOT), the Enforcement Office also found that (UAL) did not contact airport personnel or other airlines for assistance during the tarmac delays. Additionally, on two United Express flights, the lavatories were inoperable during part of the delays.

“It is unacceptable for passengers to be stranded in planes on the tarmac for hours on end,” said USA Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx. “We will continue to require airlines to adopt workable plans to protect passengers from lengthy tarmac delays and carry out these plans when necessary.”

United Airlines (UAL) launched its 100th in-flight Wi-Fi-equipped airplane and plans on having nearly 200 airplanes equipped with the service by the end of 2013.

The in-flight connectivity service, powered by Panasonic, is being installed on 30 airplanes per month across (UAL)'s fleet of A319s, A320s, and 747s. Currently, (UAL) has its entire fleet of 757 transcontinental airplanes equipped with Wi-Fi service, and plans on introducing its first 737 featuring Ka-band satellite connectivity later this year. "(UAL) is improving the in-flight experience and offering more customers the ability to stay connected, whether traveling throughout the country or abroad," said Jeff Foland, Executive VP Marketing, Technology & Strategy.

By mid-2014, (UAL) expects to have more than >200 airplanes equipped with Wi-Fi enabled entertainment options, including the ability to stream movies and live television to passengers' personal electronic devices. - SEE PHOTO - - "UAL-2013-10 IN-FLIGHT WI-FI."

November 2013: United Airlines (UAL) commenced operations on the 90 km route from the USA territory of Guam (GUM) to Rota (ROP) in the Marinas Archipelago. Beginning on November 1st, daily flights are offered on the route and operated by Cape Air as United Express using ATRs. Guam-based, Freedom Air provides competition in the market, which it serves with a thrice-weekly schedule.

United Airlines (UAL) has outlined a strategy to cut -$2 billion in annual costs and increase yearly ancillary revenue by +$700 million by 2017. “The [cost cutting] plan includes reducing fuel consumption, increasing productivity, reducing sourcing costs, improving maintenance processes and inventory procedures and optimizing distribution methods,” (UAL) said, adding the ancillary revenue goal would be achieved “by giving customers new options, optimizing pricing on existing products and expanding availability of ancillary products through additional distribution channels.”

(UAL) has struggled to achieve consistent profitability in the aftermath of its 2010 merger with Continental Airlines (CAL), noticeably lagging the financial performance of rival Delta Air Lines (DAL), which merged with Northwest Airlines (NWA) in 2008. Parent, United Continental Holdings (UCH) incurred a net loss of -$763 million in 2012, which followed a net deficit of -$977 million in 2011.

(UCH) did earn net income of +$379 million in the 2013 third quarter, but Chairman, President & (CEO), Jeff Smisek said those results “fell far short of what we can and should deliver,” particularly given rivals’ strong earnings during the same period.

Deutsche Bank airline analyst, Mike Linenberg pointed out that (DAL), which posted a net profit through the first nine months of 2013 of +$2.06 billion, is making (UAL)’s results look comparatively poor. When assessing the broader global airline landscape, however, (UAL) is starting to do relatively well, he said.

“Despite all the problems (UAL) is having, it will do better than Emirates (EAD) this year” in terms of net profitability, Linenberg said. “The problem they have is their comparison with (DAL) and any comparison with (DAL) makes you look bad.”

United Airlines (UAL) will strengthen its service between London Heathrow and New York/Newark by operating all five daily flights with wide body aircraft for the summer season. The move almost doubles the number of flat-bed business (C) seats and will increase overall capacity by +5% year-on-year between April and September.

The Boeing 757-200s currently used on the route will be replaced by 767-300s with 183 seats (6F in United Global First, 26FC in BusinessFirst and 151Y in Economy, including 67PY Economy Plus seats with extra space. The changes mean that all flights will be operated with the 767, with the exception of one 777 service.

Bob Schumacher, (UAL)’s Managing Director Sales, UK & Ireland, said: “New York is the most popular destination for UK travellers. “We operate the largest hub in the New York City metropolitan area at Newark Liberty, offering our customers not only the fastest surface transfers to many parts of the city but fast and convenient connections to cities throughout the Americas.” He concluded: “With these schedule changes, we are responding to growing demand and offering our customers even more choice.”

The (FAA) is poised to order airlines to avoid flying 787 Dreamliners and 747-8 jumbo jets with General Electric Company (GEC) engines near thunderstorms after some of the planes experienced ice buildup.

An airworthiness directive (AD) due to be released is an “interim action” to ensure pilots (FC) fly clear of icing conditions that could reduce thrust from (GEnx) engines. The USA move follows Japan Airlines (JAL)’s decision to shift to other jets from 787s on some Asia routes. The icing risk adds urgency for pilots (FC) to steer clear of thunderstorms already shunned because of potentially deadly lightning and turbulence. Jets flying at high altitudes through tropical zones can be at risk from powerful storms that promote the formation of performance-sapping ice, according to (GEC). “It’s a relatively rare phenomenon, because it requires just the right meteorological conditions,” Hans Weber, President of San Diego-based aviation consultant, Tecop International Inc, said. “This isn’t a problem that will be limited to (GEC) engines. These crystals have been found in all engines at high altitudes near thunderstorms.”

The 787 Dreamliner, the first jet made chiefly of composite materials, entered service with (ANA) Holdings Inc’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) in October 2011. (ANA), the biggest 787 Dreamliner operator, uses Rolls-Royce Holdings (RRC) engines on its planes.

(JAL)’s 787s have (GEnx) engines, as do the 787S flown by United Airlines (UAL), the only USA airline flying 787s. (UAL) hasn’t changed schedules or routes for its 787s, said Christen David, a spokeswoman.

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc (AAWW) (TLS), the lone USA operator of 747-8s, adjusted operations after Boeing (TBC)’s November 23 warning for (GEnx)-equipped jets to stay 50 nautical miles/93 kilometers from storms, said Bonnie Rodney, a spokeswoman. Any disruptions for the freighters “will be minimal and can be managed with only minor re-routings,” Rodney said.

Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT), the Hong Kong-based airline, said it has 10 Boeing 747-8Fs in its fleet that are powered by (GEnx) engines. As a precautionary measure, it’s standard operating procedure for 747-8F freighters is to avoid flying into thunderstorms, (CAT) said in an e-mailed response.

“This looks a lot like a classic teething issue,” Richard Aboulafia, an Aerospace analyst at Fairfax, Virginia-based consultant, Teal Group, said by e-mail. “It’s probably isolated to just the engine, and even then just one of the two engines available as options. It’s also probably easily fixed with a software tweak, rather than any kind of hardware modification.”

(GEC) said it’s making software modifications to eliminate the ice-buildup risk and expects them to be available in the first quarter. Marc Birtel, a Boeing (TBC) spokesman, said the engines’ design and maintenance practices, together with the new instructions, allow for the jets’ “continued safe operation.” “The (FAA) has been working closely with Boeing and (GEc) to monitor and understand these events as the companies develop a permanent solution,” the (FAA) said. It didn’t give a specific time for issuing the (AD) on the planes, which only covers USA carriers.

Both the 787 and 747-8 have had bumpy debuts. The 747-8 was two years late in starting service in 2011, and slack demand forced Boeing to cut output. The 787, whose 2011 entry was 3 1/2 years late, was grounded for three months in January after meltdowns in the lithium-ion battery packs on two 787s.

There have been six cases since April of planes with (GEnx) engines temporarily losing thrust in high-altitude icing conditions, (GEC) said November 23. Five were with 747-8s and one was with a 787.

(JAL) will replace 787s on flights between Tokyo and Delhi with 777s until November 30, and will switch to 767s on its Tokyo - Singapore route.

Boeing (TBC) surpassed 1,000 orders for the 787 with its haul at the Dubai Air Show this month. (TBC) handed over 57 of the four-engine 747-8s, through the end of last month, most of which are freighters.
“Airlines wouldn’t be too concerned about engines in terms of costs,” K Ajith, a Singapore-based analyst at (UOB) Kay Hian Pte. “There will be some of sort compensation for airlines. Despite the problems, the airplane is quite popular.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Tim Catts in New York at tcatts1@bloomberg.net; Alan Levin in Washington at alevin24@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Ed Dufner at edufner@bloomberg.net; Bernard Kohn at bkohn2@bloomberg.net

By Chris Sloan

As the world’s largest airline in terms of fleet size (nearly 700 mainline airplanes), number of destinations (360 airports across six continents), and revenue miles per passenger (RPK’s) (UAL) is no stranger to mind-blowing superlatives. (UAL) carries more traffic than any other airline in the world with more than >2 million flights per year, yes million. This translates into over >5,300 flights per day from hubs in Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Guam, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco, Tokyo. and Washington, DC. In 2012, mainline (UAL) alone carried a staggering 93,595,000 passengers. If (UAL) were a country, it would carry enough passengers to qualify itself as the 14th largest country in the world. If you factor in the additional United Express passenger count of over >142 million passengers per year, that total surpasses the population of Russia. The heart and soul of this flying machine are the over >85,000 employees, the largest number in the industry, who make (UAL) run 365/24/7. There is one place that centers the mainline operations of the world’s largest airline day-to-day, (UAL)’s new Network Operations Center (NOC).

It would seem only natural that when the world’s largest airline went looking for a new headquarters, it would relocate to what was once the tallest office building in the world, and remains the second tallest in the USA: the iconic 108 story, Willis Tower in Chicago, Illinois, formerly known as the Sears Tower. The 27th floor of this 1,451 foot skyscraper is now home to another superlative: the largest, most technologically advanced airline nerve center in the world: (UAL)’s new (NOC). At over >52,000 square feet, it makes (NASA)’s Mission Center look decidedly diminutive and old school by comparison.

Shortly after the (UAL)/Continental (CAL) merger was announced in May 2010, (UAL) quickly concluded that the existing Continental (CAL) (NOC) in downtown Houston, Texas and (UAL)’s legacy Elk Grove, Illinois facility were not adequate to support what would become once again the world’s largest airline. Construction of the new Willis Tower (NOC) took 19 weeks with 100 workers on three shifts per day, seven days a week. They installed 120 miles of category six telephone/data cabling, 590 light fixtures, 57 flat panel screens, and 341 console positions in this very abbreviated time. The facility opened in June 2012, a few months after the March 3, 2012 final stage of the operational merger, when the passenger service systems were merged and the Continental (CAL) name was consigned to history.

With separate labor contracts in force for legacy United (UAL) and former Continental (CAL) flight (FC) and cabin crew (CA), the operations of this new facility would face an additional challenge than the already difficult task of combining the two old facilities and two airlines into one. Pilots unions have signed a single contract but cabin attendants have not agreed to a single collective bargaining agreement as of yet. It is not a secret that the merger has not been smooth for employees or customers, but the new (NOC) is a clear sign that (UAL) is making big investments to improve its operations. The efforts seem to be paying off: According to FlightStats.com, (UAL)’s on-time arrivals improved from 71.83% in August 2012 to 85% in October 2013.

Mission: Center & Comfort

Airchive was invited to look behind-the-scenes of the (NOC). At first casual glance, it looks not unlike a trading floor of an investment bank with monitors and desks spread out as far as the eye can see. Having visited a number of airline (NOC)’s, they all tend to look similar but upon deeper inspection, (UAL) has really placed a premium on ergonomics, work-flow, technology, employee comfort, and indeed morale to improve communication, decision making and ultimately, Flight Operations. With the facility operating at around 300 people at any given time working three shifts around the clock, comfort and mitigating fatigue were clearly paramount. Instead of blazing fluorescents, the lighting and timed window shades adjust to match the ambient light outside the building, creating a comfortable, less stressful environment. Instead of a bunker, the (NOC) team is treated to a world-class view of the renowned Chicago skyline. Substantial attention was even paid to the acoustics. We visited on a day when there were many diversions and delays in the northeast due to summertime weather, yet the (NOC) was as calm and quiet as could be. The 341 desks throughout the facility electrically raise and lower to match a person’s taste for working sitting down or standing up. The occupants can even adjust their own lighting and ventilation – try that in a cubicle! The (NOC) even has its own dedicated air conditioning and ventilation system that circulates 21 cubic feet of air per minute to keep personnel alert, comfortable, and healthy such is the importance of situational awareness here. Given how crucial the (NOC) is, Network Ops can run on its own backup power for up to 10 hours to allow for a back-up facility to take over should there be disruption at the Willis Tower. Even the fire-alarm system is unique in continuously sampling the air to detect smoke long before a conventional smoke alarm would.

Walking The Floor: Department-by-Department

The workstations are arranged in a zigzag pattern that allows people to be close to the people they need to interact with, yet not be in each other’s way. Though there are many department systems in the facility such as (FLIFO) (flight information), Flight Planning, Weight & Balance, Flight Following, Aircraft Routing, Crew Management, Maintenance Center, Disruption Management, Ground-to-Air Communications, and Weather, the more then >60 real-time applications reside in the cloud so effectively, any user can have access to any piece of information and change their desk’s function at the stroke of a key without the individual having to change desks. Though very collaborative, (UAL) groups these systems around fleets and international/domestic flights.

First we encounter dispatch operations and load planning. This department is at the core of what the (NOC) is all about and could warrant an article on its own. At a top level, the dispatch team dispatches planes and coordinates with the Air Traffic Center (ATC) department and airport authorities, designs the most fuel-efficient and economical flight plans. They often adjust those routes when events dictate such as weather, equipment issues, and even (VIP) movements such as Air Force One. These teams can speed up or slow flights to mesh with airport and airspace ground operations. The dispatchers are really the unsung heroes of any airline behind the scenes. The load planners calculate and finalize weight of the airplane’s passenger load, fuel, and cargo payload.

Working very closely with the dispatchers is (UAL)’s own weather team. Like most airlines, (UAL) uses third-party private weather forecasters but has its own team of meteorologists tracking weather domestically and internationally. Their forecasts are not only important for safety, passenger comfort, and operation reasons but for economic reasons as well. These meteorological prognostications affect routing, scheduling, and consequently the amount of fuel taken on board.

On the opposite side of Weather is (UAL)’s own Air Traffic Center (ATC) operations. This team is in constant touch with (ATC) Centers, airports, as well as security agencies monitoring geopolitical conditions and alerting flight crews to any potential risks.

(TOMC) Fleet Coordination or Maintenance Center figures heavily into the operation of the (NOC) and (UAL). They have two primary job roles: planners who plan work on all planes and controllers who communicate with flight crew (FC) on the ground, in the air, and with maintenance teams. These teams, grouped by fleet, have many responsibilities including making sure that airplane reach their assigned base at scheduled intervals, assisting crews with any issues that may occur while in flight, and real-time monitoring of airplane systems. There is a pilot (FC) representing each airplane type in the fleet stationed at each of these groups.

Next is Pilot (FC) Scheduling, again centered around fleet and domestic/international operations. They are responsible for crew scheduling and replacements. This team also handles hotels, layovers, duty hours, and transportation. When reserve pilots get the call to get to the airport, this is the team making the call. In-Flight Crew Scheduling performs a similar task for the cabin attendants (CA) yet there is that added level of complexity. (UAL)’s cabin attendants (CA) work original (UAL) airplanes while Continental (CAL)’s work on ex-(CAL) “metal.” For this reason, two software systems are used: (UAL)’s UniMatic and (CAL)’s legacy Cosmos system. The operation and graphic interface are very different between the two, though the schedulers are cross-trained between the two systems.

At the center of the entire (NOC) named appropriately but with a nod to “Star Trek” is The Bridge. Senior staff are located here including the Network Directors who are the final decision makers for network-wide and serious flight issues. A conference table is set-up right out in the open for impromptu meetings with all affected teams. Looming in front of the bridge is an impressive bank of switchable plasma displays reminiscent of (NASA), which communicates real-time overall network system status, hub status, real-time weather maps, flight completion rate, even “Red Zone” flights that are highlighted for being not on time for departure or arrival or are diverting often due to weather and aerospace delay. A screen tracks airplanes that have been taxiing for extended periods of time. Animated red and green status meters indicate at a quick glance the overall rating for these aspects of operations.

An interesting department off to the side but very important is the Pro Team. This group deals mainly with flights when equipment issues result in a lengthy delay or when the decision is taken for an entirely new airplane and/or crew to be dispatched. When pressed into action, this team interfaces with every department to get passengers, planes, and crew to their destination as quickly as possible.

The final stop on our tour is (UAL)’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC). This “War Room” whose name suggests its use has representatives on hand from every facet of the airline beyond just the (NOC) such as Communications, Customer Care, employee care teams, senior airline executives, etc. It has been deployed for disruptive events such as "Hurricane Sandy," the Boeing 787 grounding, as well as the Asiana (AAR) 214 crash when (UAL) provided support for its Star (SAL) Alliance partner.

Through much of its history, (UAL) has been an airline of superlatives and impressive numbers. Recently, it has rededicated itself to being more user friendly to passengers and employees alike. (UAL) is using its iconic re-born “Fly The Friendly Skies” ad campaign as a rallying cry. If the commitment the airline has made to its new nerve center is any indication, (UAL)’s (NOC) mission center will contribute a lot toward mission accomplished.


December 2013: United Airlines (UAL) will begin daily, Atlantic City - Chicago (ORD) and – Houston (IAH) service on April 1, 2014.

(UAL) has opened a wide body airplane maintenance hangar at Washington Dulles International Airport. (UAL) invested nearly $45 million to construct the facility, which will handle two wide body or several narrow body airplanes simultaneously.

United Continental Holdings (UCL) has named Greg Hart as Executive VP & (COO), succeeding Pete McDonald, who is retiring after nearly 45 years with (UAL).

In his new position, Hart will be responsible for Airport Operations, Cargo, Technical Operations, Network Operations, Flight Operations, In-flight Service, Safety, and Food Services.

(UAL) Chairman, President & (CEO), Jeff Smisek said McDonald’s “leadership and tremendous knowledge of our business have been great assets to (UAL). Our team and our board of directors are confident that Greg will successfully lead our Operations groups as we focus on improving our operational quality and efficiency, while running an on-time airline with great customer service.”

Hart previously served as (UAL)’s Senior VP Technical Operations. He earlier held the role of Senior VP Network. Hart joined (UAL) in 1997 and held various leadership positions including VP Network Strategy, Staff VP Domestic Scheduling & Managing Director of Corporate Development.

United Airlines (UAL) has redesigned its fleet of Boeing 757-200s to feature in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity and premium cabin upgrades.
The redesign was completed for a total of 15 airplanes, with in-flight connectivity service provided by Gogo, and the addition of flatbed (UAL) BusinessFirst seats. (UAL) said its new airplanes will fly premium service routes on transcontinental flights between New York and California.

"Our investment in these airplanes and in the p.s. service will add greatly to our flyer-friendly customer experience on these coast-to-coast flights," said Jeff Foland, (UAL)'s Executive VP Marketing, Technology & Strategy. "This is just one more example of the many things we are doing to provide greater onboard comfort and convenience on every (UAL) flight."

By the end of 2014, (UAL) plans on equipping nearly all of its mainline fleet with Wi-Fi connectivity.

2 737-924ERs (42744, N69810; 42821, N64809), 2 757-222s (25129, N534UA; 25397, N549UA); 3 757-224s (27556, N12114; 27558, N12116; 27599, N19117), deliveries.

January 2014: SEE ATTACHED - - "UAL-2013 TOP WORLD AIRLINES A/B-2014-01."

United Continental Holdings (UCH), parent of United Airlines (UAL), is reporting fourth-quarter 2013 earned net income of +$140 million, reversing a -$620 million net loss posted during the fourth-quarter of 2012. The figure includes special charges, which include costs associated with the temporary grounding of (UAL)’s 787 fleet. Not counting special charges, (UCH) is reporting fourth-quarter net income of +$298 million.

For the full-year 2013, (UCH) posted a net profit (including special charges) of +$571 million, turning around the -$723 million net loss reported for 2012. Not counting special charges, (UCH) is reporting 2013 net earnings of +$1.08 billion, an 84% year-over-year improvement.

(UCH)’s fourth-quarter operating revenue increased +7.2% year-over-year to $9.3 billion, and operating expenses fell slightly, down -0.8% to $9.1 billion, producing an operating profit of +$235 million, reversing an operating loss of -$465 million reported in the fourth quarter of 2012.

For the 2013 full-year, (UCH)’s operating revenue increased +3% year-over-year to $38.3 billion. Operating expenses were trimmed 0.2% to $37 billion, producing an operating profit of +$1.3 billion, reversed from an operating loss of -$39 million reported in the fourth quarter of 2012.

United Cargo’s struggles moderated somewhat in the fourth-quarter as freight operating revenue came to $220 million, a -9.5% year-over-year drop (as opposed to the -19.1% year-over-year drop posted in the 2013 third-quarter). United Cargo’s fourth-quarter (CTM)s fell only -0.3% year-over-year to 599 million. For the entire 2013 year, United Cargo’s reported operating revenue is $882 million, a -13.4% year-over-year drop. United Cargo’s (CTM)s for the entire year came to 2.2 billion, a -10% year-over-year drop.

For the full year, (UAL)’s cumulative mainline traffic fell -0.5% year-over-year to 178.6 billion (RPM)s on a -1.5% decrease in capacity to 213 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 83.8% LF, up +0.9 point year-over-year. Mainline passenger yield increased +1.3% to 14.56 cents. 2013 passenger traffic on United (UAL)’s regional network grew +2% year-over-year to 26.6 billion (RPM)s on a -0.6% capacity decrease to 32.3 billion (ASM)s, resulting in a load factor of 82.2% LF, up +2.1 points. The consolidated passenger load factor for 2013 was 83.6% LF, a year-over-year increase of +1 point. The company’s consolidated (PRASM) for 2013 increased +3.1% year-over-year, to 13.5 cents. Consolidated passenger yield for 2013 increased +1.8% to 16.14 cents.

During 2013, (UAL) took delivery of 24 Boeing 737-900ERs and two 787-8s. The company said 23 757-200s, plus “the last of its 737-500s and 767-200s exited from scheduled service.” (UAL) increased its 787 Dreamliner order to 65 during 2013, including an order for the 787-10. Additionally, United (UAL)’s existing order for 25 Airbus A350-900s was converted into A350-1000s and an additional ten airplanes were added to that order. In 2014, the company plans to introduce 70 Embraer EMB-175s into its United Express fleet. The company reported ending 2013 with $6.1 billion in unrestricted liquidity.

United Continental Holdings (UCL) will furlough 688 flight attendants (CA), as part of a cost-cutting strategy outlined in November to cut $2 billion in annual costs and increase yearly ancillary revenue by -$700 million by 2017.

(UCL) flight attendants (CA), represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), have called on management to “work collaboratively to find solutions and prevent any involuntary job loss.”

United (UAL) Master Executive Council President, Greg Davidowitch said, “At the very basic level, this announcement is a failure by management to recognize protections of our contract. Despite our recommendations to pursue options that would mitigate the company’s staffing overage, management declined to do the right thing and make the right choice for (UAL)’s success.” He said (AFA) will “continue to pursue any and all opportunities that mitigate the devastating effects this decision will have on those being laid off, and on our company as a whole. We will continue to advocate to management to find alternatives that avoid job loss, and work collaboratively for creative and reasonable solutions. It’s not too late to turn this thing around, management can still choose to do the right thing.”

United Continental (UCL) said “We have offered opportunities to flight attendants (CA) for both voluntary furloughs and job-sharing programs in order to mitigate involuntary furloughs, but these programs did not generate enough volunteers and we are faced with the difficult step of furloughing 688 flight attendants (CA). We are disappointed that on three occasions, the subsidiary United (AFA) rejected a voluntary cross-over program that would have provided flying opportunities to hundreds of flight attendants (CA) that may otherwise be involuntarily furloughed.”

February 2014: United Airlines (UAL) plans to launch 6x-weekly, Los Angeles (LAX) - Melbourne (MEL) flights from October 26, 2014, using a Boeing 787-9.

(UAL) will be the first North American airline to take delivery of the 787-9 and Melbourne will be the first international destination on which it will use the 787-9, which is currently being flight tested by Boeing (TBC). The route, which will be operated to (MEL) every day except Tuesday and to (LAX) every day except Thursday, is subject to government approval.

“We are excited about using the newest version of the 787 Dreamliner, the 787-9, to provide nonstop transpacific service to Melbourne,” (UAL) Vice Chairman & Chief Revenue Officer, Jim Compton said.

Flying time will be approximately 15 hours and 45 minutes westbound to Melbourne and 14 hours and 35 minutes eastbound to Los Angeles. “(UAL) has timed the new flights to conveniently connect at Los Angeles with an extensive network of service throughout the United States, Canada, and Latin America,” (UAL) said, adding that (UAL) passengers in 37 USA cities will able to reach the Australian city in one-stop via (LAX).

The 787-9 operating the (LAX) - (MEL) service will be configured with 252 seats: 48 business (C)/first (F) class seats and 204Y economy seats, including 63PY premium economy seats.

Air New Zealand (ANZ) is slated to take delivery of the first 787-9 mid-year. (UAL) currently has nine 787-8s in its fleet. It expects to receive three more 787-8s this year as well as its first two 787-9s.

4 737-924ERs (42176, N69816; 42745, N66814; 43531, N69813; 43532, N67815), deliveries.

March 2014: United Airlines (UAL) has tentatively won USA government approval to operate a daily flight between San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND).

USA airlines are allowed to operate four daily round-trip flights to/from Haneda, Tokyo’s downtown airport, that began handling international flights in 2010. The new (UAL) (SFO) - (HND) route, tentatively approved by the USA Department of Transportation (DOT), would replace American Airlines (AAL)’s New York (JFK) - (HND) service, which (AAL) dropped in December 2013.

(UAL) beat out Hawaiian Airlines (HWI) for the available (HND) slot pair; (HWI) had sought to operate a daily service between Kona, Hawaii, and (HND). The other three USA roundtrip flights to (HND) are operated by (HWI) from Honolulu and by Delta Air Lines (DAL) from Los Angeles and Seattle. (DAL) originally operated a Detroit - (HND) service but moved it to Seattle.

The (DOT) said it “determined that (UAL)’s San Francisco - Haneda service proposal would provide the best use of the one available opportunity. The (DOT) tentatively found that (UAL)’s proposal would introduce a new USA carrier at Haneda and would promote competition by giving business and leisure travelers an additional choice for connecting service to Haneda via (UAL)’s well-established San Francisco hub.”

Any objections to the (DOT)’s tentative awarding of the (HND) slot pair to (UAL) must be submitted to the (DOT) by March 10th.

For the second consecutive month, after 15 months of reported declines, full-time equivalent (FTE) employment at USA scheduled passenger airlines has registered a monthly increase year-over-year.

For the second consecutive month, after 15 months of reported declines, full-time equivalent (FTE) employment at USA scheduled passenger airlines has registered a monthly increase year-over-year.

In February, USA scheduled passenger airlines employed 381,985 full-time workers, up +0.4% year-over-year, according to figures from the USA Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

It was the third consecutive month in which full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs at USA scheduled passenger airlines increased year-over-year. The February total registers +1,571 more (FTE) jobs among USA scheduled passenger carriers than in February 2013.

Among the USA major/network carriers, year-over-year increases in February (FTE) jobs were seen at US Airways (AMW)/(USA) (up +3.6%), Alaska Airlines (ASA) (up +2.7%), American Airlines (AAL) (up +0.4%) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) (up +0.2%). United Airlines (UAL) reported losing -1.8% of its (FTE) positions year-over-year. Overall, the USA major/network carriers saw a +0.1% year-over-year increase in February (FTE) employees.

Hawaiian Airlines (HWI), a major carrier classified by (BTS) as an “other carrier” (airlines that operate within specific niche markets) reported a year-over-year February increase of +332 (FTE) positions, up +7.5%.

Overall, (FTE) positions at the major USA low-cost-carriers (LCCs) grew +0.7% year-over-year in February. Spirit Airlines (SPR) had the largest concentration of year-over-year growth, expanding its February (FTE) job count by +16.8%, to 3,534 (FTE) employees; Allegiant Air (WJE)’s monthly (FTE) job count grew as well, up +14.3% from February 2013, to 2.134 (FTE) employees. Increases also occurred at Virgin America (VUS) (up +6.7%) and JetBlue Airways (JBL) (up +4.9%). February (FTE) job declines were seen at Frontier Airlines (FRO) (down -7.4%) and Southwest Airlines (SWA) (down -1.7%).

Sun Country Airlines (SCA), a national carrier/(LCC) classified by (BTS) as an “other carrier,” registered a year-over-year February increase of +169 (FTE) positions, up +17.4%.

Ranked by (FTE) workforce, the top 10 passenger airlines for February were: United Airlines (UAL) (80,694 (FTE) employees), Delta Air Lines (DAL) (73,602), American Airlines (AAL) (59,699) (less US Airways (AMW)/(USA) - see later, Southwest (SWA) (45,091), US Airways (AMW)/(USA) (31,604), JetBlue Airways (JBL) (13,301), and Alaska Airlines (ASA) (10.192).

4 737-924ERs (42177, N69818; 42747, N68817; 43533, N69819; 43534, N63820), and 1 787-8 (34826, N26910), deliveries.

April 2014: United Continental Holdings, parent of United Airlines (UAL), reported a first-quarter net loss of -$609 million, including $120 million of special charges, deepened from a net loss of -$417 million in the 2013 first-quarter. Subtracting special charges, (UAL)’s first-quarter net loss was -$489 million, compared to first-quarter 2013’s net loss, excluding special charges, of -$358 million.

Total revenue was $8.7 billion, down -0.3% year-over-year. First-quarter consolidated passenger revenue decreased -2.3% year-over-year to $7.4 billion on a consolidated capacity reduction of -0.3%.

First-quarter consolidated (PRASM) fell -2% year-over-year to 12.91 cents. Weather-related cancellations reduced first-quarter consolidated (PRASM) by -1.5% points. “The winter storms severely impacted the operations in the first quarter. In total, we canceled 35,000 flights, including 30,000 flights in our regional operations,” (UAL) Vice Chairman & Chief Revenue Officer, Jim Compton said. “This number represents two-and-a-half times the cancellations we had in the first quarter of last year. Put another way, this is the equivalent of not flying for seven of the 90 days this past quarter.”

First-quarter operating expenses increased +0.7% year-over-year to $9 billion, resulting in an operating loss for the quarter of $349 million, surpassing by $85 million the operating loss (UAL) reported in the year-ago quarter.

(UAL)’s first-quarter consolidated traffic decreased -0.3% year-over-year to 46.4 billion (RPM)s on a -0.3% capacity decrease to 57.2 billion (ASM)s, producing a passenger load factor of 81.1% LF, which remained flat compared to the year-ago quarter. Adverse weather conditions during the quarter drove the decreases, (UAL) said. Passenger yield fell -2% year-over-year to 15.92 cents.

“Our financial performance in the first quarter was disappointing,” (UAL) Chairman, President & (CEO) Jeff Smisek said. “Although the historic winter weather adversely affected our result this quarter, we know we can do better. We are committed to expanding our profits this year and to improving our profitability each year after that.”

In the second quarter, (UAL) will launch nonstop service between San Francisco and Chengdu, China, representing “the second phase of [United’s] Pacific strategy, which focuses on secondary Asian cities.”

United Airlines (UAL) is to resume 747-400 services out of Chicago O'Hare despite a 2013 decision to limit their operations to San Francisco only. According to the "Chicago Business Journal," initial destinations will include Frankfurt International, Shanghai Pudong, and Tokyo Narita.

The limitation on 747 services was imposed to allow (UAL) to perform overhaul and maintenance work on the airplanes needed to improve its operational reliability.

United Airlines (UAL) and Amadeus signed a new global multi-year agreement for worldwide distribution services. Under the new agreement, Amadeus subscribers around the world are guaranteed continued access via the Amadeus System to (UAL)’s full range of content.

United Airlines (UAL)’s first Boeing 787-9 rolled out of final assembly during the evening of April 8th at Boeing’s final assembly facility (FAL) in Everett, Washington - - SEE ATTACHED - - "UAL-2014-04-787-9 ROLLOUT." The rollout marks the first major milestone in the airplane’s production ahead of its expected delivery this summer. (UAL) will be the first North American carrier to take delivery of the 787-9.

(UAL) has previously announced plans to launch 6x-weekly Los Angeles (LAX) - Melbourne (MEL) 787-9 flights from October 26.

Over the next several months, the 787-9 will move to the next phase of completion, which includes final cabin configuration and painting. (UAL)'s 787-9 will be configured with 252 seats (48FC in (UAL) business first class and 204Y in (UAL) economy class, which includes 88PY economy plus seats with added leg room and increased personal space.

(UAL)’s first 787-9 will also be one of five airplanes used by Boeing (TBC) in a flight test program to certify the airplane.

Boeing (TBC) delivered the 8,000th 737 to come off the production line to United Airlines (UAL). The Next-Generation 737-900ER (3432, N75432), features a special "Eco Skies" on the fuselage to publicize the green environmental program - - SEE ATTACHED PHOTO - - "UAL-737-900ER-GREEN-2014-04." Since 1994, (UAL) has improved its fuel efficiency by 32%.

May 2014: United Airlines (UAL) expanded its presence at Munich (MUC), with the addition of its fourth route, this time from Houston Intercontinental (IAH) on April 24th. The 8,718 km sector to the capital of the German state of Bavaria will be served daily, utilising (UAL)’s 242-seat 767-400s and will face no direct competition from other operators. (UAL) is already flying to Munich from New York Newark, Washington Dulles and Chicago O’Hare, all of which are served with daily flights. Commenting on the route launch, Stephanie Buchanan, VP of Houston hub, (UAL), said: “We are pleased to give Houston Intercontinental business and leisure travelers direct access to Munich and convenient connections on our partner Lufthansa (DLH) and its affiliate airlines to 71 cities beyond. (UAL)’s new service to Munich underscores Houston’s role as a top travel destination and a premier international gateway.”

United Airlines expanded its presence at Edinburgh (EDI) with a new seasonal service from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) on May 22nd. The 5,975 km sector to the Scottish capital will be operated five times weekly until October 5th, utilizing the Star (SAL)Alliance member’s 169-seat 757-200s. (UAL)’s second route to Edinburgh, as it already operates from New York Newark with twice-daily operations, will face no competition from other carriers and will see a frequency increase to daily from June 13th.

June 2014: London Heathrow Airport (LHR)’s new Terminal 2 officially opened June 4, following a £2.5 billion/$3.8 billion upgrade. United Airlines (UAL) was the first carrier to arrive at the revamped terminal. According to the Star (SAL) Alliance, 23 of its members operate to (LHR), the highest number of (SAL) alliance carriers coming together at any airport. About 12 million Star (SAL) Alliance passengers are expected to pass through (LHR) annually. Currently, (LHR) handles 121 Star (SAL) Alliance flights per day to 45 destinations in 25 countries.

The new T2 can handle 20 million passengers annually, “but the terminal is designed to expand if necessary,” Star (SAL) Alliance VP Customer Experience & Information Technology, Justin Erbacci said. Erbacci said the (SAL) alliance is “expecting a dramatic reduction of operation costs for our member airlines,” which became part of the synergies of having all member airlines under one roof. “In the last two years, we have worked very hard to bring all the airlines together in the terminal,” Erbacci said, adding that no one else in the industry has achieved a project like this.

Star (SAL) Alliance carriers, which are currently spread out over three (LHR) terminals, are being transferred to T2 from June 4 through October. Aer Lingus (ARL), Germanwings (RFG) and Virgin Atlantic Airways (VAA) are to operate from T2.

T2, which was (LHR)’s first terminal, closed after 54 years of service in 2009 and was demolished in 2010. The new T2 is the latest phase of an £11 billion transformation of (LHR).

United Airlines (UAL) on June 4th became the first airline to operate into and out of London Heathrow (LHR) Airport’s new Terminal 2, signaling the official opening of the renovated terminal following a £2.5 billion/$3.8 billion upgrade. (UAL) operated 17 departures from the terminal on June 4th, bringing all its operations at (LHR) (previously split between Terminals 1 and 4) under one roof for the first time.

According to the Star (SAL) Alliance, all 23 member airlines operating at (LHR) will move over the next six months. Air Canada (ACN), Air China (BEJ), and (ANA) are the next new occupants, transferring their operations to T2 from June 18. In July, Aegean Airlines (CRM), (EVA) Airways, Thai Airways (TII) and Turkish Airlines (THY) move in, together with Avianca (AVI) (which will launch a service between London and Bogota on July 4).

“After a break for the European summer holiday period, moves will resume in September with EgyptAir (EGP), Ethiopian Airlines (ETH), Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), and Singapore Airlines (SIA). Then finally, October sees the arrival of Air New Zealand (ANZ), Asiana Airlines (AAR), Austrian Airlines (AUL), Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA), Croatia Airlines (CRH), (LOT) Polish Airlines, Lufthansa (DLH), South African Airways (SAA), SWISS (CSR), and (TAP) Portugal.”

United Airlines (UAL) is ready to start taking advantage of the (FAA)'s NextGen airspace modernization program in Houston, Texas, where (UAL) recently collaborated with the (FAA) and the National Air Traffic Controller's Association (NATCA) to implement new Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) flight procedures.

At the end of May, a total of 50 new airspace procedures were implemented, all aimed at allowing airlines to take advantage of modern avionics systems and (PBN). Houston is one of 13 Metroplexes (a system of airports with shared airspace serving one or more major cities) where the (FAA) is working with the industry to implement (PBN) procedures.

According to Ron Renk, Chief Technical Pilot for Flight Operations Technology at (UAL), the overhaul of the Houston metroplex will allow (UAL)'s pilots (FC) to start using the Flight Management Systems (FMS) on the airplane in new ways. "(UAL) will take advantage of the Flight Management Computer (FMC)'s ability to plan a path descent that is efficient for the airplane in the particular weather conditions during the arrival. While the legacy system used the (FMC) to plan the lateral path the airplane flew, Air Traffic Control (ATC) would control the vertical with a series of descents and level-offs," said Renk. "(UAL) will now have near idle descent profiles which will save fuel, reduce noise and reduce emissions."

Among the new procedures that were implemented, there were 20 new Area Navigation (RNAV) Standard Terminal Arrivals and 20 new (RNAV) Standard Instrument Departures (SID) along with six modified Instrument Landing System (ILS) transitions.

On average, (UAL) flies nearly 560 flights per day within the Houston metroplex. Renk said that beyond the new (FMS) usage, the (PBN) procedures also enable improved communications between pilots (FC) and (ATC) in the airspace. "Once you are issued a descent via or climb via clearance the airplane will fly the predetermined lateral and vertical path without the need to issue headings, speeds and altitudes," said Renk. "We also expect to see improved arrival rates (throughput increases) as a result of airplane procedures and taking advantage of the technology we already have on the airplane."

Houston Air Route Traffic Control Center has also published a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) for airplanes using the airspace that are not properly equipped to perform the new (PBN) procedures.

(UAL) was also the lead carrier working with the (FAA) in the Denver Metroplex project, which was modernized in 2013 with a network of 51 satellite-based, according to (FAA) Deputy Administrator, Michael Whitaker. All of (UAL)'s airplanes are equipped with avionics to enable satellite-based procedures, which are estimated to save them -100 to -200 pounds of fuel per arrival there.

Renk said the Houston project was one of the first where there was a high level of collaboration between the (FAA) and the industry. "The Houston Metroplex is the first fully implemented (FAA) Metroplex project. We were very pleased with the collaborative efforts brought forth by the Metroplex program. This is one of the first times that the (FAA), (NATCA) and the airline industry all worked together to re-design airspace. Having pilots (FC), controllers and various branches of the (FAA) involved, really helped identify the best way to get procedures that benefited everyone and could be implemented smoothly," said Renk.

(UAL) is altering its MileagePlus frequent flyer program to reward miles based on ticket price rather than distance flown. The new structure will take effect March 1, 2015. (UAL) follows Delta Air Lines (DAL), which in February became the first major international USA legacy airline to announce a shift in its loyalty program to reward dollars spent, rather than miles flown. (DAL)’s new frequent flyer structure will take effect January 1, 2015.

(UAL) said MileagePlus members will earn five miles for every dollar spent on both the base fare and ancillary fees. Members with “premier” status will be able to earn up to 11 miles per dollar. A (UAL) frequent flyer will be able to earn a maximum of 75,000 miles per ticket. “In addition, next year, (UAL) plans to offer members new opportunities to use their award miles, including for single-flight purchases of extra-legroom (UAL) Economy Plus seats and to purchase Economy Plus and checked-baggage subscriptions.”

Passengers issued tickets by United partner airlines, such as Star (SAL) Alliance carriers, “will still earn award miles based on distance flown and purchased fare class.”

July 2014: United Airlines (UAL) parent, United Continental Holdings earned net income of +$789 million for the second quarter, up +68.2% over a net profit +$469 million in the prior-year period, on a +3.6% rise in revenue to $8.98 billion.

(UAL) has lagged the USA industry’s financial recovery, reporting a first-quarter net loss of -$609 million, but appears to be making some headway toward consistent profitability. Chairman, President & (CEO), Jeff Smisek said he was “pleased with the progress we’ve made,” but “our entire management team is focused on improving our financial performance.”

(UAL) is focusing on maximizing scheduling at its hubs and managing capacity. For example, it plans to seasonally adjust capacity. As a result, in 2015 it will operate +25% more capacity in July than in February. In 2012, (UAL)’s capacity gap between those two months was just 13%. It is also restructuring Asia flying by adding more direct flights to secondary cities and operating fewer flights to Tokyo.

“We are beginning to see the benefits of the changes we’re implementing to our network and revenue management processes,” (UAL) Vice Chairman & Chief Revenue Officer, Jim Compton said. “We have more work to do, however, and will continue to make the appropriate adjustments.”

(UAL)’s second-quarter expenses rose +2.1% year-over-year to $9.42 billion and operating income was $900 million, up +17.7% over an operating profit of +$770 million in the 2013 June quarter. (UAL)’s mainline second-quarter passenger traffic increased +0.8% to 47.1 billion (RPM)s on a +0.3% rise in capacity to 55.19 billion (ASM)s, leading to a load factor of 85.3% LF, up +0.4 points. Passenger revenue yield increased +3.8% to 15.18 cents.

(UAL) took delivery of 10 Boeing 737-900ERs and one 787-8 during the second quarter. It retired nine 757-200s. (UAL) expects to take delivery of its first 787-9 during the third quarter.

United Airlines (UAL) said its application for seasonal service to Mexico still will leave one available designation for another USA carrier to serve the routes, thereby dismissing Southwest Airlines (SWA)’s letter of support for (UAL)’s application. At issue are two routes to Mexico — Houston - Puerto Vallarta and - San Jose del Cabo (for which (UAL) has applied for permission from the USA Department of Transportation (DOT) to begin operating November 1). (UAL) is applying for the routes with SkyWest, which will replace the ExpressJet regional service that currently holds the designation.

By the terms of the USA - Mexico bilateral air services agreement, the two governments can designate a limited number of carriers to serve any given city pair between the two countries. (SWA) argued in May that although it does not currently operate these routes, it might do so in the future. (SWA) supported (UAL)’s application with the proviso that the (DOT) should require United (UAL) to surrender one of its designations on each route should (SWA) (or another USA carrier) express an interest in the routes.

In a filing before the (DOT), (UAL) said (SWA)’s request was “without merit.” (UAL) argued that even if the (DOT) grants it the route authorities, there will be one available designation on each route, and “(SWA) is well aware” of this. “[(UAL) and SkyWest] made clear that SkyWest’s United Express service would simply replace the existing ExpressJet United Express service on these routes and that no additional designations would be required.”

(UAL) added that (SWA)’s request does not apply yet. “Moreover, (SWA) has no immediate intent to serve these routes.” However, (SWA) late last month raised concerns about when ExpressJet would return the designation it currently holds and said then the decision was entirely “within (UAL)’s discretion.” Although (SWA) does not now serve the routes, (SWA) said it is likely to be interested “within the next year or so.”

United Airlines (UAL) will outsource 637 customer-service and baggage-handling jobs at 12 airports, while bringing those jobs in-house at three other airports as it seeks ways to cut costs.

Rolls-Royce (RRC) and United Airlines (UAL) have agreed to extend TotalCare support for the lifetime of (RB211-535)s operated on (UAL) Boeing 757s. The agreement incorporates ideas from (RRC)'s new TotalCare Flex, an approach currently in development to provide the most effective management of mature engines.

August 2014: United Airlines (UAL) expanded its USA domestic offering with three new routes, all of which are operated daily. On August 19th, (UAL) inaugurated its second route to Lafayette, Louisiana, from Denver (DEN), served by ExpressJet Airlines’ 50-seat ERJ 145s. On the same day, (UAL) launched flights from Houston Intercontinental (IAH) to Williston, North Dakota (ISN), using again ExpressJet Airlines’ 50-seat ERJ 145s. Furthermore, on August 20th, (UAL) continued expanding its presence at Houston Intercontinental, TX (IAH), and this time adding services to Boise, Idaho (BOI). The Star (SAL) Alliance member’s seventh route to Boise will be operated utilizing SkyWest Airlines’ 64Y-seat CRJ 700s. There is no competition on any of (UAL)’s latest additions.

United Airlines (UAL) on August 6 became the first USA airline to offer travelers the ability to scan and verify their passports to check-in for international flights through the United mobile app. Passengers can now bypass passport verification at the airport check-in counter, saving time without sacrificing security. (UAL) is powering this with Jumio’s in-app technology, which uses the mobile device’s camera to both scan and verify passport information.

(UAL) customers checking in for international flights now can scan their passports via their iOS and Android mobile devices. (UAL) says it is the first USA airline to add that option.

Customers will be able to access the passport-scanning feature, when checking in via (UAL)'s mobile app for international flights. Check-in is allowed within 24 hours before departure. International customers using the app's check-in feature will be receive an option to verify their existing stored passport data or scanning their passport. For those who chose to do so, the app uses the mobile device's camera feature to capture travelers' passport information, "similar to a mobile banking deposit," (UAL) says.

Once the passport scan is verified, customers can retrieve their boarding passes. However, fliers who need additional travel documentation (such as those on trips that require visas) must continue to check-in at the airport).

"We are focused on building the most useful travel app in the industry for our customers," Scott Wilson, (UAL)'s VP of Merchandising & e-Commerce, said. "The new passport scanning feature saves valuable time and provides customers with more options to control their travel experience."

(UAL) says it will look for ways to improve the option as it rolls out. The airline says it "will collect feedback during the testing phase of passport scanning functionality with the goal of further improving the product and launching additional customer-friendly features utilizing this technology."

Ethiopian Airlines (ETH) and United Airlines (UAL) will begin code sharing on August 30 on Addis Ababa - Washington Dulles service and other points in Ethiopia and the USA. The airlines are both Star (SAL) Alliance members.

2 737-924ERs (44562, N66831; 44563, N65832), ex-(N5200K), deliveries.

September 2014: United Airlines has taken delivery of the first of 14 Boeing 787-9s it has on order. (UAL) is the first North American airline to receive the 787-9, which is 20 feet longer than the 787-8.

(UAL) said the 787-9, which can fly 300 miles farther than the 787-8, will give it “more flexibility and range.” (UAL) will have 12 787-8s in its fleet by the end of this year. It also expects to receive one more 787-9 by the end of the year.

(UAL) plans to briefly put the 787-9 in domestic service in late September, flying primarily between Houston and Los Angeles, before launching it on 6x-weekly, Los Angeles - Melbourne service on October 26.

(UAL) noted Los Angeles - Melbourne will become the longest 787 Dreamliner flight in the world. Flying time will be approximately 15 hours and 45 minutes westbound to Melbourne and 14 hours and 35 minutes eastbound to Los Angeles. The 787 will be configured with 252 seats: 48C/F business /first class seats and 204Y economy seats, including 88PY premium economy seats

(UAL) said all of its 787-9s will be equipped with factory-installed Wi-Fi connectivity. (UAL) “plans to equip the vast majority of its mainline fleet with Wi-Fi by mid-2015,” it said.

October 2014: News Item A-1: United Airlines (UAL) had a busy time launching a total of five routes, including the 12,746 km sector from Los Angeles (LAX) to Melbourne (MEL), which is operated by a mixed fleet of the Star (SAL) Alliance member’s 219-seat 787-8s and its 252-seat 787-9. Noteworthy is the fact that (UAL) is the first North American carrier to deploy a 787-9 on international flights; nevertheless, starting November 16th, the Melbourne sector will be operated only by (UAL)’s 787-9. Furthermore, on October 27th, (UAL) also resumed operations on the 3,209 km airport pair from Guam (GUM) to Seoul Incheon (ICN), a route last served by Continental Airlines (CAL) in 1997. Overall, (UAL) will face direct competition on three of the new additions, with the sector to South Korea being the most extensively contested.

Guam (GUM) to Seoul Incheon (ICN) 737-800 7x weekly, vs Jeju Air (JJA) 14x.
Jin Air (JIN) 7x, Korean Air (KAL 7x.
Los Angeles (LAX) to Melbourne (MEL) 787 6x, vs Qantas (QAN) 7x.
San Francisco (SFO) to Tokyo Haneda (HND) 777-200 7x, vs Japan Airlines 7x.

News Item A-2: USA Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx recently awarded $10.2 million (FAA) grants to six airports to reduce emissions and improve air quality through the (FAA)’s Voluntary Airport Low Emission (VALE) program.

(VALE) is designed to reduce all sources of airport ground emissions in areas of marginal air quality. The (FAA) established the program in 2005 to help airport sponsors meet air quality responsibilities under the Clean Air Act. Through (VALE), airport sponsors can use Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds and passenger facility charges to help acquire low-emission vehicles, refueling and recharging stations, gate electrification, and other airport-related air quality improvements.

The airports include: Albuquerque International Sunport ($431,479: — to help the airport upgrade the infrastructure to low-emission technology by replacing four boilers in the airport’s central utility plant); Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International ($102,456: — to enable the airport to purchase two alternative-fuel garbage trucks and convert two passenger vans to cleaner burning fuel instead of diesel); Chicago O’Hare International Airport ($2 million: — to allow the airport to install an underground fuel-hydrant system, eliminating the need for diesel-powered fuel trucks); Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport ($2 million: — to help the airport install 12 electric gates at Terminal B and install and connect seven pre-conditioned air units for parked aircraft); Seattle-Tacoma International Airport ($2 million: — to allow the airport to install 43 charging units in Terminals A and B to support electric ground support equipment (GSE) such as luggage loaders and aircraft tugs); Yeager Airport in West Virginia ($3,678,168: — to fund both gate power units and pre-conditioned air units at seven of the airport’s gates).

“These grants will allow the airports to take advantage of the remainder of the construction season by beginning or completing the construction process,” (FAA) Administrator, Michael Huerta said. “The airports can continue to be good neighbors to residents in the surrounding communities.”

News Item A-3: United Airlines (UAL) announced plans to outfit more than >200 two-cabin United Express regional jets with Wi-Fi and personal device entertainment, with the first Wi-Fi-enabled flights expected later this year. (UAL) intends to install Gogo's ATG-4 advanced air-to-ground Wi-Fi product on Embraer EMB-170, EMB-175 and Bombardier CRJ700 airplanes; installations should be complete by next summer.

See United Airlines (UAL)'s new safety video:

See (UAL)'s 1st 787-9 flight LAX - IAH Business first video:

November 2014: News Item A-1: All Nippon Airways (ANA) is seeking permission to form a transpacific cargo joint venture (JV) with its Star (SAL) Alliance partner, United Airlines (UAL).

(ANA) filed its antitrust application to the Japanese transport ministry (MLIT), with the aim of creating “a more efficient and comprehensive” transpacific cargo network.

In a stock market disclosure, (ANA) said the two carriers are looking to “jointly manage transpacific air cargo business activities including scheduling, pricing and sales.”

It said the (JV), which needs Japanese and USA clearance, would be the first of its kind between the USA and Asia, delivering “substantial service benefits,” greater choice and enabling the partners to compete more effectively with other airlines.

“United Airlines (UAL) and (ANA) are members of the Star (SAL) Alliance, and this cargo joint venture (JV) will expand the relationship they have established on passenger service to the area of cargo service to further increase customer benefits,” (ANA) said. The Japanese carrier already has passenger joint ventures (JV)s in place with United Airlines (UAL) (transpacific), Lufthansa (DLH), Swiss International Air Lines (CSR), and Austrian Airlines (AUL) (Japan - Europe).

The move forms part of (ANA)’s cargo expansion. It recently created a new (ANA) Cargo business unit to manage its freight activities and fleet of 10 Boeing 767F freighters, which operate from its Okinawa cargo hub.

News Item A-2: United Airlines (UAL)will transfer 36 Embraer ERJ-145 airplanes from ExpressJet Airlines to Trans States Airlines between February 2015 and early 2016. The announcement comes as ExpressJet parent, SkyWest Airlines continues to try to improve the carrier’s financial position.

Utah-based, SkyWest executives have repeatedly said they inherited unusually unfavorable contracts, when they bought ExpressJet and said on the third quarter earnings call, that they were working with (UAL) to improve the situation.

(UAL) spokesman, Charles Hobart said the change was made to “balance” the network and “ensure operational reliability.” He said Trans States will fly the 50Y-seat jets mainly out of (UAL)’s Denver and Washington Dulles hubs.

Trans States now operates 25 ERJ-145s airplanes as United Express, as well as four as US Airways Express. ExpressJet, meanwhile, operated 234 ERJ-145s and nine Embraer ERJ-135s for United Express at the end of the third quarter. SkyWest told investors that the average remaining ExpressJet flying contract time for United is approximately 3.2 years, with the final agreement expiring in 2020.

In its most recent form 10-Q filed with the USA Securities & Exchange Commission, SkyWest detailed its plans for shrinking ExpressJet’s ERJ-145 and ERJ-135 fleet. Between January and September 30 of this year, it removed 16 ERJ-145s, returning them to (UAL) once their contracts expired. Another 18 ERJ-145s airplanes will leave the fleet in December 2014 and January 2015. The nine ERJ-135s will be removed in early 2015.

“We do not currently anticipate that we will reach an agreement with (UAL) to extend the flying contract term with these airplanes and ExpressJet will return these airplanes to (UAL),” ExpressJet said in the filing.

According to the filing, ExpressJet lost $9.75 million from January through September 30, +$3.6 million more than it lost in the same period in 2013.

The SkyWest segment of the business made $52 million in the first nine months up this year, up 7.7% from last year.

December 2014: News Item A-1: United Airlines (UAL) expanded its international network with the addition of two new services, both of which are operated daily. Firstly on December 3rd, (UAL) started flights on its third route to Panama City (PTY), this time from Denver, Colorado (DEN) using its 118-seat 737-700s. (UAL) is already flying to the capital and largest city of the Republic of Panama from New York Newark (nine times weekly) and Houston Intercontinental (17 times weekly). Secondly, (UAL) launched 214-seat 767-300 operations to its first destination in Chile, to Santiago (SCL) from Houston Intercontinental, Texas (IAH) on December 7th. None of the new additions will face direct competition from any carrier.

News Item A-2: With Southeast Asia seeing a slowdown in route expansion as carriers seek to balance tight yields with rising load factors, the north Asia region is taking up the slack—especially on north Pacific Asia - USA routes.

Both All Nippon Airways (ANA) and United Airlines (UAL) have announced increased capacity from Tokyo Narita and Chengdu, China, respectively, for next year.

(ANA) is also boosting its north Pacific schedules with a daily nonstop service between Tokyo and Houston to be introduced mid-June next year. (ANA) will use Boeing 777-300ERs for the new route.

(UAL) will add a daily flight to its nonstop Chengdu - San Francisco services, initially for three months from June 2015. (UAL) currently runs 3x-weekly service using 787-8s on the 14-hour flight. (UAL) also plans to add a second daily nonstop on San Francisco - Shanghai starting in May next year. This service will use Boeing 777-200s.

According to USA consulate sources, some three million tourists are expected to visit the USA from north Asia and China in 2016.

News Item A-3: United Airlines (UAL) has filed an administrative complaint against the operator of Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), accusing it of “imposing excessive, unreasonable and discriminatory charges” to generate surpluses it uses to fund non-airport expenses.

News Item A-4: Inmarsat ((ICAO) Code: LSE: (ISAT.L)), a leader in global satellite connectivity for the aviation industry, has announced the appointment of Captain Mary I McMillan as VP Aviation Safety & Operational Services. A 30-year veteran of the aviation industry, Captain McMillan has recorded over >12,000 hours flight time in airplanes ranging from 747, 767 and A320s.

"The appointment of Captain Mary McMillan to head up our aviation safety services is a real coup for Inmarsat," said Leo Mondale, President, Inmarsat Aviation. "Mary brings a unique combination of airline, air traffic, regulatory, and international aviation experience, which will be of great benefit our partners, airlines and Inmarsat as we continue to see the introduction of new satcom aviation services, driven by an unprecedented investment program in our aviation business. "With live trials of SwiftBroadband safety services underway, the continuing roll-out of our world leading (GX) Aviation satellite constellation and the development of a unique European Aviation Network, Inmarsat Aviation is strengthening its position as the world leader in mobile satellite-based aviation connectivity services. Inmarsat is supporting airlines from flight deck to cabin by enhancing safety and operational capabilities for flight crews (FC)s and bringing a new dimension to passenger connectivity."

Prior to joining Inmarsat Aviation, Captain McMillan was Senior VP Aerospace Safety & Environment at Tetra Tech (AMT). In this role, Captain McMillan was responsible for the development of safety risk strategies and safety management systems for air navigation service providers, airports and airlines, and subject matter expertise in the area of aviation safety reporting and data analysis.

In parallel with her role at Tetra Tech (AMT), Captain McMillan was, from 2010, the independent safety advisor to the Airservices Australia's Board of Directors, the Canberra-based air navigation services provider.

From 2008 to 2011, Captain McMillan was engaged by (CSSI) Inc, a Washington DC based Engineering, Technology & Applied Research firm, to provide development expertise and support for the creation of the (FAA)'s Air Traffic Safety Action Program (ATSAP). (ATSAP) is the largest voluntary safety reporting system in the world and is providing key qualitative safety input to the US National Airspace System.

For almost 20 years, Captain McMillan was a pilot (FC), standards captain and flight operations duty manager with United Airlines (UAL). As Flight Operations Duty Manager, Captain McMillan was responsible for overall tactical management of Flight Operations for United (UAL)'s worldwide system. Additionally, she authored the first edition of the (UAL) Flight Safety Manual.

During her career, Captain McMillan served in a number of capacities for the Airline Pilots Association, International. This included roles as both Chairman of (UAL) Central Air Safety Committee and Chairman of the President's Aviation Environmental & Energy Task Force. In August 2008, Captain McMillan received a Presidential Citation for developing and fostering (ALPA) Aviation Environmental policy at the Airline Pilots Association, International.

About Inmarsat: Inmarsat plc is the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services. Since 1979, Inmarsat has been providing reliable voice and high-speed data communications to governments, enterprises and other organizations, with a range of services that can be used on land, at sea or in the air. Inmarsat employs around 1,600 staff in more than >60 locations around the world, with a presence in the major ports and centers of commerce on every continent. Inmarsat is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE:ISAT.L). For more information, please visit www.inmarsat.com.

News Item A-5: SEE ATTACHED - - "UAL-2014-12 - UPDATE-A/B/C/D/E/F/G/H/I/J."

January 2015: News Item A-1: United Airlines (UAL) parent, United Continental Holdings posted 2014 net income of +$1.13 billion, up +98% over a +$571 million net profit in 2013, as the Chicago-based company appears to finally have serious earnings momentum after several years of financial and operational struggles. “We improved our operation meaningfully throughout 2014,” Chairman, President & (CEO), Jeff Smisek said, noting that he expects the company to achieve even “far better results” in 2015. (UAL)’s mainline capacity increased just +0.5% year-over-year in 2014 and Smisek said (UAL) will maintain capacity discipline going forward, even as profits rise and fuel prices decrease.

“We will only grow (UAL) as demand dictates,” he said. “(UAL) will continue its discipline, growing capacity less than the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) regardless of the price of oil. We’re going to run (UAL) for profit maximization and we’re very focused on capacity discipline.”

Smisek added that he did not know whether other USA airlines would be able to resist growing capacity. “We can only speak to (UAL),” he said. “We will absolutely not lose our capacity discipline.”

(UAL) did take a -$237 million loss related to fuel hedging in the 2014 fourth quarter and expects a -$190 million fuel hedging hit in the 2015 first quarter. But (CFO), John Rainey said United (UAL) is set up to “participate 84% in future declines of the price of oil” beyond the March quarter.

(UAL)will take delivery of 11 Boeing 787-9s in 2015 and believes the airplane will contribute to achieving its goal of a +7.3% increase in (UAL)’s overall fuel efficiency in 2017 compared to 2013.

United (UAL)’s 2014 revenue increased +1.6% year-over-year to $38.9 billion, but expenses decreased -1.4% to $36.53 billion, producing a +$2.37 billion operating profit, up +90% over operating income of +$1.25 billion in the 2013 December quarter.

(UAL)’s 2014 mainline traffic increased +0.2% to 179.02 billion (RPM)s on a +0.5% rise in capacity to 214.12 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 83.6% LF, down -0.2 point. Mainline passenger yield improved +2.7% to 14.96 cents.

News Item A-2: Air Transport World (ATW) Editor, Karen Walker in her (ATW) Editor's Blog titled "Not-So-Friendly Skies according to 2014 ranking of USA carrier performance:"

There’s an interesting article here by Wall Street Journal, "The Middle Seat" Editor, Scott McCartney, providing his annual scorecard on the performance of the eight biggest carriers in 2014.

The survey assesses the carriers on service parameters such as flight delays, cancellations, lost baggage and complaints (all of which increased last year, despite the USA airlines being in a much better financial position, McCartney pointed out.

His report showed that USA airlines canceled nearly +66,000 more flights last year than in 2013, and the percentage of canceled flights jumped to +2.7% from +1.9% the previous year, according to flight-tracking firm FlightStats Inc. The number of complaints filed with the Department of Transportation (DOT) over airline service, meanwhile, increased by a steep +26%.

Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Virgin America (VUS) score best; Delta (DAL) also stood out for a very good performance among the “Big Three” consolidated carriers.

American (AAL) and United (UAL), not so. Indeed, (UAL) is hunkered down in either last or second from last place on every ranking, making it the clear worst performer on all counts.

With carriers like (ASA) and Virgin America (VUS) changing the game in USA airline customer service, and Gulf carriers (with their excellent service reputations) growing their North American footprints on international routes, (UAL) has some real work to do.

(Note to Jeff (Smisek): I know a man named Gordon (remember your previous leader, Mr Bethune at Continental Airlines (CAL), who famously took (CAL) from 'worst to first.' You may want to seek his advice!)

Addendum: A colleague of mine recently boarded a Delta (DAL) 737-900ER at Detroit, bound for Washington DC, and texted me, raving about the cabin. Mood lighting!, clean, comfortable seats!, in-seat video!, (USB) port!, - - Go Delta!

News Item A-3 "Maintaining Capacity Discipline"
January 28, 2015 by Aaron Karp, (ATW) in his AirKarp blog.

Huge profits. Low fuel prices. Strong demand. In the past, those factors would likely have led major USA airlines to ramp up capacity, but no longer. The USA’s three global full-service airlines (Delta Air Lines (DAL), United Airlines (UAL) and American Airlines (AAL)) have all vowed to maintain strict capacity discipline.

(UAL) and (AAL) both plan to stay below <3% capacity growth in 2015. (DAL) has not provided full-year capacity guidance (though President, Ed Bastian has said domestic capacity will probably grow “somewhere in the +2% to +3% range”), but has said its March quarter capacity will rise just +3% schedule-over-schedule (factoring in all of last year’s winter storm-related cancellations, (DAL)’s first-quarter capacity could rise as much as +5%). That follows low growth in 2014, a year in which all three airlines stayed below <3% year-over-year capacity expansion ((UAL) +0.5%, (AAL) +2.4% and (DAL) +3%).

“We are not making any changes to our 2015 capacity plan in light of the lower fuel prices,” (DAL) (CEO), Richard Anderson told analysts and reporters when discussing (DAL)’s 2014 earnings. “In fact, we continue to trim capacity on the margin to maintain yields and our (RASM) premium.”

Similarly, (UAL) Chairman, President & (CEO), Jeff Smisek told analysts and reporters last week, “We’re going to run (UAL) for profit maximization and we’re very focused on capacity discipline. We will absolutely not lose our capacity discipline.” (UAL) plans to grow capacity no more than >2.5% this year.

(AAL) plans to increase 2015 capacity +3% year-over-year domestically and +1.5% internationally. (CFO), Derek Kerr said, “You won’t see any changes from us in the near future” on the capacity plan.

USA airlines have been burned badly in the past by moving too aggressively to increase capacity. “We’ve seen this movie many times in the industry,” Anderson said. “You’ve got to run the company conservatively and we’re trimming capacity as we speak.”

News Item A-4: "US carriers should tread carefully in their anti-Gulf carrier campaign" January 21, 2015 by Karen Walker in Air Transport World (ATW) Editor's Blog:

Following a bit of saber-rattling last year, leaders of the “big three” USA consolidated carriers, American (AAL), Delta (DAL), and United (UAL), are believed to be ramping up their campaign in Washington DC against the major Gulf carriers, which are looking to expand their North American footprints.

The USA carriers should tread carefully. There are risks to a strategy that could lead to regulatory intervention on what is essentially a "marketplace" issue.

Firstly, airlines do themselves no favors if they play the game of (rightly) rejecting regulation where it is not necessary, but (wrongly) seeking it when it suits them. Lawmakers should stay out of airline business practices such as ancillary fees, use of phones (when operationally safe), and other product-related decisions where rules are not applied to other travel businesses and have nothing to do with safety, security and anti-competitive behavior. Requesting help to keep out competition, sends mixed signals to Washington and opens a back door to the era of heavy-handed economic regulation. Remember when the (CAB) defined what could count as a “sandwich?"

These same USA carriers are turning to the Asia market and transpacific routes to get a bigger slice of that fast-growing market; one made possible through "Open skies." If USA carriers seek regulatory help to fend off Gulf competition in North America, then they have no recourse should Asian flagships do the same to them.

That isn’t to say a competitive threat doesn’t exist. In a report headed by Professor Martin Dresner, a member of the University of Maryland faculty and one of the country's leading aviation economists, empirical results suggest that greater competition by Gulf carriers in USA international markets is associated with significant growth in USA - Middle East traffic volumes and small but statistically significant traffic losses and fare reductions for USA carriers in route markets connecting the USA with Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe.

But the answer isn’t to whine about competition to Congress; rather, USA carriers must work to ensure their customer products remain the popular choice. As Emirates Airline (EAD) President, Sir Tim Clark said in Chicago last year, “Don’t worry about us. Get on with the job. Focus on what you’re doing.”

Second, the “government subsidy” accusations that the USA carriers use as the foundation for their anti-Gulf carrier campaign, fall into the “people in glass houses” category. Each of the carriers that are leading this campaign have benefited from Chapter 11, allowing them to clean their balance sheets and void obligations to creditors and employees. They also enjoy legacy rights on some of the world’s most lucrative hub airports and routes, particularly in the transatlantic market. Individual USA states provide millions of dollars of incentives that help support, attract and keep their local carriers.

Whatever ‘subsidy’ accusations are leveled at the Gulf carriers, each effectively started from scratch, and built their global networks and customer bases on their service reputations, not on inherited rights. In other words, the customer chose the product. That’s the market at work, and that’s where USA carriers should invest their time and resources, not in lunches on Capitol Hill.

News Item A-5: Qatar Airlines (QTA) & the (IAG): "Shifting sands in the global reach of the Gulf carriers" January 30, 2015 by Karen Walker in (ATW) Editor's Blog:

The announcement that Qatar Airways (QTA) has acquired a 9.99% stake in (BAB)/(IBE) parent company, the International Airlines Group (IAG) is an interesting development in the ongoing change in the international airline landscape prompted by the growth of the Gulf carriers.

(QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker describes the taking of a stake in the (IAG), worth about $1.7 billion, as an “excellent opportunity to further develop our Westward strategy.” (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh said he was “delighted” about the investment, and opportunities to work more closely with (QTA).

There’s an interesting history to the (IAG) and (QTA) connection. Al Baker and Walsh are long-time, firm friends who each hold the other in high respect. In October 2013, (QTA) joined the Oneworld (ONW) global alliance, becoming the first of the major Gulf carriers to join a global alliance. British Airways (BAB), a founding (ONW) member, was (QTA)’s sponsor and Walsh spoke very enthusiastically about the importance of having (QTA) join. My understanding is that his enthusiasm was not matched by every (ONW) member (CEO).

Dubai-based Emirates (EAD), meanwhile, remains alliance-independent, but in 2013 it entered a five-year alliance with Qantas (QAN), another Oneworld (ONW) Alliance founding member. And Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways (EHD) owns a 29% stake in airberlin (BER), another (ONW) airline. (EHD) has its own version of an alliance, taking stakes in relatively small carriers and creating a constellation of airline equity partners that includes airberlin (BER), Air Serbia (JAT), India’s Jet Airways (JPL), Virgin Australia (VOZ), Air Seychelles (ASY) and Aer Lingus (ARL). Interestingly, the (IAG) wants to buy Aer Lingus (ARL), a move, which if it happens, would further tangle the (IAG)-Oneworld (ONW)-Gulf carrier web.

(EHD), of course, is also now a 49% owner of Alitalia (ALI) (to keep you on track with the alliance matings here, (ALI) is a SkyTeam (STM) Alliance member). But (QTA)’s stake in the (IAG) is the first time that one of the “Big Three” Gulf carriers has invested in one of the “Big Three” European airline groups of the (IAG), the Lufthansa Group and Air France (AFA) - (KLM).

It will be fascinating to see if the (QTA) - (IAG) deal marks the beginning of more such equity partnerships (within the caps of the (EU) airline ownership rules) between Gulf carriers and their European counterparts. The fact is that it’s becoming increasingly challenging for the “traditional” global hubs of Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Heathrow, and Paris to compete with the “modern” world hubs of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Qatar.

In the USA, meanwhile, there is growing awareness that what happened in Europe regards Gulf competition could happen in America. A campaign is being run by North America’s “Big Three” (American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL) and United Airlines (UAL)) to try and get lawmakers to review "Open Skies" policies and the international air transport competitive landscape to take account of the rise of the Gulf carriers.

Flying under the radar so far in the shifting sands of air transport power houses is Turkish Airlines (THY), which is a Star (SAL) Alliance carrier and which has developed an extensive network, very large and modern fleet and highly successful global hub in Istanbul. It will be interesting to see whether that continues to be the case if, as Al Baker described it, a “Westward strategy” by Gulf carriers begins, in some eyes at least, to look more like a "Westward" invasion.

News Item A-6: United Airlines (UAL) informed union employees at 28 airports that their work may be contracted out. Workers represented by the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers at such airports as Hartsfield-Jackson, Hartford, Connecticut, San Antonio International, St Louis and Kansas City were told jobs are on the line as the airline reviews costs.

News Item A-7: Boeing (TBC) delivered two new 737-900ERs to United Airlines (UAL).

February 2015: United Airlines (UAL) introduced its second route to Sarasota (SRQ) in Florida on February 12th, when it commenced daily seasonal flights from New York Newark (EWR). The 1,664 km route will be operated until May 5th, using (UAL)’s 166-seat 737-800s. (UAL) is also flying to Sarasota with 15 weekly flights from Chicago O’Hare (ORD). The Star (SAL) Alliance member will face no competition on its new addition. Sarasota is located on the southwest coast of Florida, to the south of Tampa and to the north of Fort Myers.

March 2015: News Item A-1: American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL), and United Airlines (UAL) joined with a number of unions March 4th to accuse the three major Gulf carriers of receiving government subsidies totaling more than >$40 billion.

Representatives of the USA airlines, the Air Line Pilots Association International, the Allied Pilots Association, and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants held a joint press conference in Washington DC as part of the USA carriers’ campaign against Emirates Airline (EAD), Etihad Airways (EHD) and Qatar Airways (QTA).

The USA carriers claim the subsidies that the Gulf carriers receive from their government owners in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar contravene fair competitive practices requirements of the "Open Skies" agreements that the USA has signed with Qatar and the (UAE).

The (CEO)s of (AAL), (DAL) and (UAL) held behind-closed-doors meetings with White House and government officials earlier this year and showed them financial documents they say support their claims of large government subsidies.

Today, they made public those documents. They did not explain why the documents were not revealed earlier.

Among their allegations, the carriers say that Qatar Airways (QTA) benefits from billions of dollars in interest-free, unsecured loans from its state owner that it does not have to pay back. Etihad (EHD), they say, has received $6.3 billion in direct equity infusions plus $4.6 billion in interest-free loans. Emirates (EAD) removed $2.4 billion in 2014 oil hedging losses from its books, the USA carriers say, and has benefited from $2.3 billion in subsidies for Dubai airport expansions.

The USA carriers said the financial details came from statements that the carriers have to file with other countries where they operate, including New Zealand and Singapore.

The USA carriers also accuse their Gulf rivals of “skyrocketing capacity” at more than three times the growth rate of global (GDP) (+11% versus +3%) and of starting to penetrate the transatlantic market via fifth freedom routes such as New York - Milan - Dubai.

They have requested USA government officials not to allow any of the Gulf carriers to add new flights to the USA, while they discuss the situation and their allegations are considered. To date, they say, their case has been taken “very seriously” and being looked at “diligently” by the government officials with whom they have met.

In February, a group of Washington lobbyists and a FedEx Express (FED) executive said the campaign by the USA carriers was an effort to roll back "Open Skies" and keep out international competition.

News Item A-2: The heads of Emirates Airline (EAD) and Qatar Airways (QTA) have strongly defended their airlines against allegations of large government subsidies leveled at them by the three big US carriers (American Airlines (AAL), Delta Airlines (DAL), and United Airlines (UAL)).

News Item A-3: "In "Open Skies" War Game, Gulf Carriers 3: USA Carriers 0," by Karen Walker in (ATW) Editor's Blog, March 5, 2015.

Today, after two years of “investigation” and a largely behind-closed-doors campaign (apart from the Delta (DAL) (CEO)’s unfortunate (CNN) TV interview), the three major USA carriers finally made public the document that allegedly proves their Gulf carrier rivals are operating only because of more than >$40 billion subsidies from their state owners.

Representatives of American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL) and United Airlines (UAL) held a press conference jointly with representatives of major airline unions to defend their campaign, provide an outline of the document, and insist that they are taking action not because they don’t believe in "Open Skies" (they love the other 112 USA agreements, they just don’t like those with the (UAE) and Qatar) or are against competition (“bring it on,” but it must be fair).

You can read the news summary of the press conference here, and responses from Emirates (EAD) President, Sir Tim Clark and Qatar (QTA) Group (CEO), Akbar Al Baker here.

But what was my quick take from this press conference? In my view, not a lot. It only raised more questions about the USA carrier (CEO)s’ true motivations behind this strange campaign.

First, any time that the three biggest international USA carriers join forces (backed solidly by their union groups) you have to wonder at the real story. Job protectionism is fine, but (like competition itself) must be done on a sound basis. I don’t see a case made.

Second, if the so-called “breakthrough” (their words) by the USA carrier investigation into Gulf carrier financials was the simple discovery that they could access the numbers via countries like New Zealand and Singapore, why did it take two years to compile a report? And, if the evidence is so damaging, why was this not made public much earlier, rather than shuffling secret documents around White House and government rooms? Unfair competition is a serious allegation: if you have the proof, show it and take it to Justice. The USA carrier reps were posed that question today by a reporter. Their reply: “We just didn’t.”

The third question relates to Chapter 11, a uniquely USA system that allows airlines in dire financial straits (for whatever reason) to hold off their creditors, wipe out debts and restructure. Outside the USA, Chapter 11 is seen as a subsidy. The USA carriers insisted today it was not a subsidy in the view of the USA. That’s irrelevant in a global market. It’s what counts as a subsidy in global eyes that matters.

The USA carriers also said today that Chapter 11 means you have to shrink your airline. So how come (AAL), fresh out of bankruptcy protection, is now the world’s largest carrier and investing heavily in new airplanes and products?

I’ll leave the last word for now to a response to the press conference from USA - (UAE) Business Council President, Danny Sebright. “Before claiming government support for international competitors, the Big 3 [USA carriers] may first want to check their own balance sheets. Since 2006, the Big 3 transferred billions of dollars of pension liabilities directly to Uncle Sam, while leaving creditors holding the bag for billions more, through multiple bankruptcies. They received billions in cash payments and guaranteed loans in a direct government bailout, while enjoying the advantages of antitrust immunity to fix transatlantic fares with their European partners,” Sebright said.

The USA airlines should “stop complaining and start competing,” he added.

Unless and until American (AAL), Delta (DAL), and United (UAL) have a more compelling case that is not so clearly about closing the competitive door after they got what they wanted via Chapter 11, I suggest that’s good advice. By my count, they are already several points behind in this game, and they now risk scoring home goals.

News Item A-4: "European Union (EU) Seeks Mandate for Talks with Gulf States Over Subsidies" by (ATW)'s Aaron Karp, March 18, 2015.

Citing “distortions in the market,” European Union (EU) Transport Commissioner, Violeta Bulc said she will seek a new mandate from (EU) countries to open talks with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar and Saudi Arabia over “unfair subsidies to airlines.”

Bulc said the request for talks with Gulf states was initiated by France and Germany. She pointed to the study recently issued by major USA airlines, alleging more than >$40 billion in state aid to Gulf airlines over the last decade. “Gulf carriers compete with Europe’s airlines on international flights,” Bulc said. “The subsidies they receive, create distortions in the market, denting the competitiveness of (EU) and USA carriers, critics say. According to the [USA airlines’] study, Gulf airlines received interest-free loans, free land and low airport charges, among others.”

French Secretary of State for Transport, Alain Vidalies and German Transport Minister, Alexander Dobrindt said in a joint statement, “European airlines are losing market share against the Gulf companies because of their unfair competitive practices, and in particular because of the significant public subsidies and guarantees they enjoy.” The two ministers said they want the European Commission to develop a “common strategy on controlling foreign airlines’ operations with traffic rights in the (EU).” They said the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, and Austria support their position.

Bulc said the mandate she is seeking to “curb market-distorting state aid to airlines” could also extend to China, Brazil, and Turkey.

Emirates Airline (EAD) President, Tim Clark, speaking to reporters in Washington DC, said his company will issue a “line by line response” to the USA carriers’ report. “We will do it in a very methodical, clinical manner,” he said.

Responding to Lufthansa Group Chairman & (CEO), Carsten Spohr announcing his support for the USA airlines’ campaign against Gulf carriers, Clark said, “Once we have disproved the allegations against us, then let’s have a talk about who is saying what. We have been dealing with the question of subsidies for many, many years in the European area and other parts of the world, and we have successfully dealt with that.”

News Item A-5: "FedEx: Don’t ‘Capitulate’ to USA Passenger Airlines on "Open Skies" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, March 19th, 2015.

FedEx Corporation (FED) is pushing back hard against major USA passenger airlines that, in the cargo giant’s view, are trying to get the USA government to alter "Open Skies" agreements with Middle East states that are integral to FedEx (FED)’s business.

American Airlines (AAL), United Airlines (UAL) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) have accused the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar of providing more than >$40 billion in state “subsidies” to Emirates Airline (EAD), Etihad Airways (EHD) and Qatar Airways (QTA) over the past decade, and appear to want the USA government to limit those airlines’ access to the USA by revisiting "Open Skies" agreements with the (UAE) and Qatar signed in 1999 and 2001, respectively. (EU) transport minister Violeta Bulc cited the USA airlines’ allegations when announcing she is seeking a new mandate from (EU) countries to open talks with the (UAE), Qatar and Saudi Arabia over “unfair subsidies to airlines.”

FedEx (FED), however, said "Open Skies" deals with Middle East states are crucial to its air cargo business and is urging the USA government not to “capitulate to the interests of a few carriers who stand ready to put their narrow, protectionist interests” ahead of the USA’s broader economic interests. (FED) is especially concerned about potential restrictions to its air cargo hub in Dubai.

Speaking to analysts, (FED) President & (CEO), David Bronczek said, “Our view is very simple. We believe in "Open Skies" and free trade, and we’ve been doing this for decades now. We base our whole business model on "Open Skies." We have a lot of business in the Middle East, a lot of business in Asia, and around the world. And of course for us, competing in an "Open Skies" environment is critical for us.”

In a letter recently sent to USA Secretary of State, John Kerry, Bronczek said, “Retrenchment in any way from "Open Skies" by the USA would jeopardize the economic growth benefits that air cargo provides. Retrenchment would result in higher fares and fewer options for flying passengers. Retrenchment benefits only a very few.”

Specifically, Bronczek said the "Open Skies" agreements the USA has with Middle East nations “are very valuable” to FedEx (FED), noting the Memphis-based express delivery operator’s Dubai hub was enabled by the USA - (UAE) "Open Skies" accord signed in 1999. “FedEx (FED) flights from the USA crisscross with our flights from India and Asia [at the Dubai hub] in order to move USA products into local markets,” he wrote. “This hub also acts as our gateway to Africa.”

Bronczek said (AAL), (UAL) and (DAL) “believe they have little to risk by limiting foreign carrier access to USA markets. What they want is for the USA government to protect them from competition from able, attractive new entrants.” He noted that “FedEx (FED) alone operates almost two-thirds more flights to the Middle East than all the USA passenger carriers combined. Modifications to [the USA - (UAE) "Open Skies"] agreement might spell the end of these opportunities.”

FedEx (FED) Founder, Chairman & (CEO), Frederick Smith told analysts this week that (FED) remains “very much in support of continuation of "Open Skies” and said the USA passenger carriers’ effort is part of a “very concerning trend” globally of “protectionism over the last several years.”

News Item A-6: United Airlines (UAL) will begin re-banking its Chicago O’Hare (ORD) hub this month, and reports success with last year’s re-banking of its Denver and Houston hubs.

The re-banking is part of a plan to improve operational reliability and profitability, (CFO), John Rainey told investors recently. “Re-banking allows us to shorten our connection times as well as improve directional flows in many of our hubs, and this is particularly important in our hubs that rely on East - West traffic flows,” he said. “We are pleased with the results we’ve seen already in the re-banking of Houston and Denver, and that is something we can see pretty quickly, but a lot of the changes we are making to our network are simply pieces of a puzzle.”

(UAL) expects departures at O’Hare (ORD) to fall -8% in some periods while gauge, or size of airplanes, will rise +10%, allowing (UAL) to increase revenue and maximize use of valuable slots, Rainey said. Systemwide, (UAL) is reducing departures -4% and increasing gauge +6%, which will result in a +1.5% to +2.5% increase in capacity this year.

Airlines un-banked many hubs in the early 2000s as a cost-cutting measure. Un-banked schedules are cheaper and less complex to run, because in a banked schedule, an airline has to staff for the peak periods, even at the lulls during the day. However, banked schedules offer more connecting opportunities and thus can yield higher revenues.

American Airlines (AAL) began re-banking its hubs at Dallas/Ft Worth, Miami, and O’Hare last year, after un-banking them in the early 2000s.

Separately, (UAL) is reporting some “softness” at its Houston hub, as oil and energy-industry traffic falls, due to depressed oil prices, Rainey said. However, the benefits of lower fuel prices for (UAL) more than offset any softness in Houston demand, he added.

News Item A-7: United Airlines (UAL) pilots (FC) have asked management to overhaul training programs to place a greater emphasis on communication and ensure crews (FC) follow standard operating procedures more closely.

News Item A-8: United Airlines (UAL) pilots (FC) on the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 fleets will stop starting the auxiliary power unit (APU) after arrival to save money.

The shift, which is coming in stages, is a return to an operating procedure used by (UAL) in the mid-2000s, before its merger with Continental Airlines (CAL). As part of the change, most narrow bodies will arrive at the gate with the No 1 engine continuing to run until the airplane is attached to ground power. (UAL) said the switch is part of “Project Quality,” an airline-wide cost-saving effort.

In a 45-day trial at Denver International Airport recently on the 737 and A320 fleets, (UAL) said it saved 30,000 gallons of fuel and $200,000 due to the changes. “The difference between those who start the (APU) on taxi-in as compared to those who don’t is a reduction of (APU) run time by 23 minutes,” (UAL) said in a pilot (FC) bulletin dated March 10.

The change is being rolled out in phases. As of last Wednesday, A320 pilots at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the second airport in the rollout, are being reminded by the ramp tower and Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) not to start the (APU). At first, the new system is being used at only four gates at (LAX), all in Terminal 8.

“This expansion to (LAX,) and eventually all hubs, is intended to verify these cost savings and demonstrate ground personnel are able to safely and expeditiously handle Airbus and 737 arrivals when the No. 1 engine remains running until ground power is connected,” United said in the bulletin.

News Item A-9: Boeing (TBC) has delivered the first 787-9 assembled at its North Charleston, South Carolina facility to United Airlines (UAL). The 787-9 is the 250th 787 Dreamliner to be delivered.

March 2015: United Airlines (UAL), which grew by +2.7% at Houston Intercontinental Airport in 2014, expanded its network with the addition of three new routes. On March 5th, (UAL), the Star (SAL) Alliance member introduced new domestic links from Houston Intercontinental (IAH) to Northwest Florida Beaches (ECP) and Peoria (PIA) with twice-daily and daily flights, respectively, both of which are operated using ExpressJet Airlines’ 50-seat ERJ 145s. Two days later, (UAL) added a new seasonal service from Washington Dulles (IAD) to San Jose del Cabo (SJD) in Mexico with weekly (Saturdays) flights until May 2nd, using its 179-seat 737-900s. (UAL) will face no direct competition on any of the three new additions.

April 2015: News Item A-1: United Continental Holdings (UCH), parent of United Airlines (UAL), reported a first-quarter net profit of +$508 million, including $74 million of special charges, a $1.12 billion year-over-year (YOY) swing to profitability from (UCH)’s -$609 million net loss in the 2014 March quarter.

Excluding special charges, (UAL)’s first-quarter net profit was +$582 million, a $1.07 billion (YOY) swing from (1Q) 2013’s net loss, excluding special charges, of $489 million.

“It was the highest first-quarter in (UAL)’s history,” (UAL)’s Chairman, President & (CEO), Jeff Smisek said. “We are making significant progress on our long-term plan to reduce costs, improve our margins and grow our earnings, and expect our second-quarter pre-tax margin to be between 12% and 14%, excluding special items.”

(UAL)’s special charges in the 2015 first-quarter included $50 million related to a voluntary severance program for flight attendants (CA) and $36 million in mark-to-market losses related to fuel hedges settling in future periods (losses eased in (1Q) 2015 by -$32 million in prior period losses on fuel contracts settled during the quarter).

Total operating revenue was $8.6 billion, down -1% (YOY). First-quarter consolidated passenger revenue was up +0.5% (YOY) to $7.42 billion as consolidated capacity held nearly steady, with a +0.1% (YOY) increase in (ASM)s. First-quarter consolidated (PRASM) advanced 0.4% (YOY) to 12.96 cents. Consolidated yield increased +0.4% (YOY) to 15.98 cents. Ancillary revenue per passenger “increased +8.6% (YOY) to more than >$23 per passenger,” (UAL) said.

(UAL)’s operating expenses fell -13% (YOY) to $7.87 billion, creating a first-quarter operating profit of +$741 million, a +$1.09 billion swing from -$349 million in operating losses (UAL) recorded in (1Q) 2014.

(UAL)’s first-quarter consolidated traffic stayed consistent, growing +0.1% (YOY) to 46.44 billion (RPM)s on a +0.1% capacity increase to 57.27 billion (ASM)s, producing a passenger load factor of 81.1% LF, the same as in the year-ago quarter. (UAL) flew 31.5 million passengers on its combined mainline and regional operations during the March quarter, down -1.2% (YOY).

(UAL) also announced imminent changes to its fleet plans, “adjustments [that] will accelerate the company’s network initiatives as it transitions flying into the mainline operation from the regional operation, increases average gauge and reduces reliance on 50-seat airplanes,” (UAL) said.

Among the changes: complete removal of over >130 50-seat airplanes by the end of 2015, with additional removals to occur in subsequent years as airplanes come off lease; an exchange of 10 Boeing 787 orders for 10 777-300ERs for delivery in 2016; installation of winglets, reliability improvements, and interior modifications on all 21 of its 767-300ER airplanes; reconfiguration and transition of 10 777-200 airplanes from international to domestic routes; shifting of some of (UAL)’s trans-Atlantic 757-200 flights to domestic and Latin America markets; and acquisition of additional narrow body airplanes as “(UAL) is in final negotiations regarding the lease of 10 to 20 used narrow body airplanes for delivery over the next few years,” (UAL) said.

News Item A-2: All Nippon Airways (ANA) has secured Japanese antitrust clearance for its transpacific cargo joint venture (JV) with Star (SAL) Alliance partner, United Airlines (UAL).

The (JV), which was first announced last November, has been approved by Japanese transport ministry (MLIT). The partners said the partnership will create “a more efficient and comprehensive” transpacific cargo network. “This antitrust immunity and any additional government approvals, enables (ANA) and (UAL) to jointly manage activities covered by the air cargo (JV) (including network planning, pricing, sales and handling) on specified transpacific routes. This cargo (JV) is the first of its kind between Asia and the Americas, and would generate substantial service benefits for freight customers, including an expanded network, greater capacity and expedited transport,” (ANA) said.

(ANA) already has (JV)s in place with (UAL) (transpacific), Lufthansa (DLH), Swiss International Air Lines (CSR), and Austrian Airlines (AUL) (Japan - Europe).

News Item A-3: In an effort to avoid “costly [public relations (PR)] and litigation,” United Airlines (UAL) will open a Digital Operations Center at its Chicago headquarters to more effectively monitor social media, message boards and other online channels, (UAL) told employees in a recent note.

News Item A-4: "United Airlines (UAL) is Moving Tech-Ops Data, Considering New Systems - - (UAL) is exploring new Information Technology (IT) systems for its Maintenance & Engineering Data"
by Lee Ann Shay, "Aviation Daily," April 15th. 2015.

(UAL) is doing “dress rehearsals” for migrating its Technical Operations data into the Sceptre (IT) system, according to Mark Miner, (UAL)’s Managing Director Technical Operations applications integration.

This big project is one of the last pieces of merging the operations of Continental (CAL) and United (UAL). Airlines frequently save the Tech Ops piece as a last step because of the complexity and scope (as well as the process changes that are first required). The merger of (UAL) and (CAL) occurred in 2010.

Miner said (UAL) is starting with migrating material data, which should commence in the third or fourth quarter. Airplane data (by tail number) will follow, with the last scheduled to enter the system in second-quarter 2016.

Before the airlines merged, (CAL) used the Sceptre system for Maintenance & Engineering, and (UAL) operated various ones, including (AMIS). Although the Technical Operations divisions of both had considered adopting newer (IT) systems before merging, the airlines decided it was too risky to move to a new platform as part of their integration (so the decision was made to first migrate all data into one common platform and then consider future options).

And that time is now. “We’re exploring options for new systems as well as beefing up Sceptre,” with a new front end, Miner said on the sidelines at Aviation Week’s "(MRO)) Americas" Conference.

News Item A-5: United Airlines (UAL) said that it has swapped 10 orders of Boeing 787 Dreamliners for 10 larger 777-300ER jets, marking a victory for Boeing (TBC), as it seeks to sell out the 777 planes before their production ends.

The news follows months of speculation that Chicago-based United Continental Holdings Inc would make the swap, which allows it to move airplanes on to different routes to better fit customer demand.

(UAL) also said it is in final negotiations on the lease of 10 to 20 used narrow body airplanes for delivery over the next few years. It said it plans to retire 130 of its more than >200 50-seat planes by the end of 2015 as part of its fleet reorganization.

For Boeing (TBC), the deal signals steady demand for its wide-body 777 airplanes before it switches to production of the new 777X model later this decade. Boeing (TBC) said that its 777 production line is sold out for 2016 and half sold out in 2017, with sales extending into 2018. The additions from (UAL) were part of the 25 firm orders and commitments for 777s that Boeing (TBC) has won this year, just short of half of its target, spokesman Doug Alder confirmed in an email.

“We always work with our customers on their evolving fleet needs and we’re pleased (UAL) chose the 777-300ER,” he said. Analysts have expressed concern that (TBC) might have to cut prices to shore up any 777 production gap.

(UAL) said it will accept delivery of the 777-300ER airplanes beginning in 2016, adding that 777-300ER “will provide attractive upgauge and range opportunities to the company at competitive economics.”

(UAL) added it intends to extend the life of all 21 of its Boeing 767-300ER airplanes and switch some of its Boeing 757-200 airplanes from transatlantic to USA and Latin American routes.

(UAL) will switch to Boeing 767s from 757s on four longer European routes departing Newark Liberty International Airport, a move that will improve operational reliability by reducing unplanned fuel stops during the winter season.

News Item A-6: See attached "UAL-2015-04 - TOP 25 WORLD TRAFFIC.jpg"
and "UAL-2015-04 - TOP REGIONAL TRAFFIC.jpg."

May 2015: News Item A-1: United Airlines (UAL) will spend $100 million to acquire a 5% stake in Azul Brazilian Airlines (AZL), and the two carriers have entered into a strategic partnership that will include code sharing and reciprocal loyalty program benefits.

Subject to government approval, (UAL) plans to place its code on (AZL) flights from São Paulo Guarulhos “to key destinations throughout Brazil.” (UAL) will also place its code on (AZL)’s Airbus A330 flights from São Paulo Campinas to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (AZL) will place its code on “(UAL) routes throughout North America and the Caribbean.” (UAL) currently operates daily flights to Brazil from Chicago O’Hare, Houston Intercontinental, Newark, and Washington Dulles.

The announcement comes the same week the Star (SAL) Alliance, of which (UAL) is a founding member, confirmed that (AZL) will join the Star (SAL) Alliance on July 22. (SAL) (CEO), Mark Schwab said (SAL) is “talking to a second carrier in Brazil” about joining and (AZL) would appear to be a prime candidate, particularly now that (UAL) has taken an ownership stake in (AZL).

“Brazil is an important market in (UAL)’s global route network and this partnership with (AZL) further strengthens our ties to the region," (UAL) Vice Chairman & Chief Rrevenue Officer, Jim Compton said.

Azul (AZL) (CEO), David Neeleman added, “Through this partnership, Brazilians will have access to destinations in (UAL)’s world wide route network, while USA customers will be able to fly conveniently to famous destinations in Brazil such as Belo Horizonte, Iguazu Falls, and the Amazon.”

News Item A-2: The USA government is “taking very seriously” the request Delta Air Lines (DAL), American Airlines (AAL), United Airlines (UAL) and their labor groups have made that consultations begin with the governments of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar on alleged subsidies for the airlines from those countries, a USA Department of State official said.

The government is doing its “due diligence” on the subsidy claims the USA carriers have made against Emirates Airline (EAD), Etihad Airways (EHD) and Qatar Airways (QTA), Tom Engle, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Transportation Affairs, said, speaking at the Phoenix International Aviation Symposium. The effort is an interagency affair, with State, Transportation & Commerce leading the investigation, with help from the USA Trade Representative and the Council of Economic Advisers, Engle said. He declined to describe a timeline for when the government will decide if it will proceed with consultations. Public comment is being solicited on a website, and the government will provide the opportunity for rebuttals before making a decision.

Consultations, or formal government-to-government talks, are provided for under the "Open Skies" treaties should one party have a grievance or dispute. At issue is whether the three Persian Gulf carriers receive subsidies that distort the market, making it difficult for USA carriers to compete for lucrative international traffic, particularly to South Asia.

Representatives from (DAL), (AAL) and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) drove this point home forcefully at a panel discussion here, while also reiterating their support for "open skies" as a policy.

But at issue is that the three Gulf carriers are “instruments of government policy,” existing solely and subsidized to carry out Qatar’s and the (UAE)’s aims to flow passengers over their hubs in Doha, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi, Ben Hirst, (DAL) Chief Legal Officer said. “We are concerned about USA policy that opens the doors of this huge market to entities that basically are arms of the state,” (AAL) Senior VP Government Affairs, Will Ris said.

John Byerly, the former State Department official who negotiated more than >70 "Open Skies" policies and is now a consultant to Emirates (EAD), rejected the USA airlines’ claim to support "Open Skies." Asking for Gulf carriers’ capacity to be frozen at the January 28 level until consultations play out, is an abrogation of the treaty. "Open Skies" liberalize the market. “They [the Gulf carriers] are beating [the USA airlines] in the market place,” Byerly said. “These USA airlines had a nice, comfortable little nest, with alliances and joint ventures (JV)s.”

The international aviation playing field has never been level; rather, it has always had “bumps and hills,” Byerly said. "Open Skies" allow the market to function as freely as it can in such a regulated industry, he said.

Video clip: The (MSNBC) news program looked at the Gulf carrier subsidies dispute:

News Item A-3: "USA Anti-Gulf Coalition Claims Grass Roots Support Across USA" by (ATW) Editor, Karen Walker, May 22, 2015.

The coalition of USA airlines and labor groups that is campaigning against the three major Gulf carriers, has claimed broad support from USA lawmakers, local chambers of commerce, and local unions.

The "Partnership for Open & Fair Skies," a coalition of (AALO), (DAL), and (UAL) plus a number of pilot (FC) and transport workers unions, has been briefing local leaders, newspapers and organizations across the USA during the past few weeks on a report commissioned by the three USA carriers that alleges Emirates Airline (EAD), Etihad Airways (EHD) and Qatar Airways (QTA) have benefited from $42 billion of subsidies from their state owners. The USA carriers say this contravenes fair competition rules of the "Open Skies" agreements between the USA and the (UAE) plus Qatar.

The three Gulf carriers strongly deny the allegations. (EHD) has commissioned and released a counter-report that accuses the three USA airlines and those they have merged with of benefiting from $71.5 billion—mostly from having debt wiped out under Chapter 11 restructuring.

This May 22, (EHD) issued a second report that it commissioned that also refutes the excess capacity accusations that the USA campaign has made against the Gulf carriers.

The USA carriers have asked the Obama Administration to hold government-to-government consultations with the (UAE) and Qatar on Gulf carrier activity within the two "Open Skies" agreements. It is not yet clear if such talks will be held, but the USA departments of Commerce, State & Transportation are conducting a review of the USA allegations and are seeking comments. The deadline for comments is the end of May.

The "Partnership for Open & Fair Skies" says it now has the support of more than >260 members of the House of Representatives, the USA Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, mayors of multiple major USA cities, and a coalition of trade leaders in North Carolina. New Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel wrote a letter to the Secretaries of Commerce, State & Transportation expressing his concerns for the future of USA hubs like Chicago if the Gulf carrier operations are not addressed.

The USA-Gulf spat has spread across the Atlantic, with some European countries asking the European Union (EU) Commission (EC) to review Gulf carrier operations to their major cities and freezing service expansions by the Gulf carriers. Dutch Secretary of Transport, Wilma Mansveld said two wide body flights a day from Dubai to Amsterdam does not correspond to market demand and has frozen Emirates (EAD) at one daily flight.

Not all European airlines are opposed to the Gulf carriers, however. The (IAG), parent of British Airways (BAB), has made clear its support for open competition and has taken a stand against the Association of European Airlines (AEA), withdrawing the memberships of (BAB) and Iberia (IBE) because it says the (AEA) is protectionist. Qatar Airways (QTA) has a 10% stake in (BAB). Airberlin (BER), an equity partner with Etihad (EHD), has also withdrawn from the (AEA).

News Item A-4: The funding and governance structure of the (FAA) needs to change and air traffic control (ATC) operations should be removed from the (FAA), United Airlines (UAL) Chairman, President & (CEO), Jeffrey Smisek told the USA Senate.

News Item A-5: United Airlines (UAL) expanded its transatlantic offering with the addition of its third route to Rome Fiumicino (FCO) on May 16th, when it started services from Chicago O’Hare (ORD). The 7,738 km route, which is already flown by American Airlines (AAL) (daily) and Alitalia (ALI) (5x weekly), will also be served by the Star (SAL) Alliance member with five weekly departures until September 23rd, using its 269-seat 777-200s. However, (UAL) will increase its frequency on the new airport pair to daily from June 4th. (UAL) is also flying daily to Fiumicino from both New York Newark and Washington Dulles.

737-71Q (29048, N17752), ex-(HP-1370CMP), 2 737-924 (42200, N61881; 42201, N61882), 2 767-322ER (25094, N644UA; 25284, N647UA), and 787-9 (37814, N38955), deliveries.

June 2015: "United Airlines (UAL) Invests $30 million for Stake in Fulcrum BioEnergy" by (ATW) Graham Warwick, June 30, 2015.

(UAL) has invested $30 million for a stake in renewable fuels producer Fulcrum BioEnergy in a deal that could see (UAL) buy 90 million gallons a year of jet fuel made from municipal waste.

The equity stake in Fulcrum is the largest single investment by a USA airline in alternative fuels, (UAL) Executive VP & General Counsel, Brett Hart said. Hong Kong-based, Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT) made an undisclosed equity investment in Fulcrum in August 2014.

(UAL) has also signed a long-term supply agreement with Fulcrum giving it the opportunity to purchase at least 90 million gallons of sustainable jet fuel a year for a minimum of 10 years, beginning in 2018, at a cost competitive with conventional jet fuel.

Cathay (CAT) has negotiated a supply agreement for an initial 375 million gallons over 10 years. This would be supplied by Fulcrum bio-refineries at multiple locations, primarily in North America, described as strategic to (CAT)’s network.

The (UAL) agreement covers the joint development of up to five refineries located near (UAL)’s USA hubs, with the combined capacity to produce up to 180 million gallons a year. Fulcrum (CEO), Jim Macias said the five locations are “complementary” to those covered by the Cathay (CAT) agreement.

Macias said the five locations for (UAL) are included in the eight USA plants included in Fulcrum’s initial build-out plans. “We have secured all the feedstocks necessary for the first eight plants under 20-year contracts that guarantee our costs and eliminate volatility,” he said.

Fulcrum’s process gasifies pre-sorted municipal solid waste to produce syngas, which is then converted to liquid fuels using the Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) process. Synthetic paraffinic kerosene produced via (F-T) is already approved for use in airplanes in blends up to 50% with conventional jet fuel.

Fulcrum has just awarded contracts to begin constriction of its first commercial-scale bio-refinery in Reno, Nevada, which is scheduled to become operational in 2017. The majority of initial jet-fuel production is committed to Cathay (CAT) and United (UAL) said Macias.

Based on Fulcrum’s build-out plans, (UAL) expects to reach the 90 million gallons a year purchase level (enough to fuel 20,000 flights) by 2021, said Angela Foster-Rice, (UAL)’s Managing Director of Environmental Affairs & Sustainability.

The waste-to-jet fuel will reduce life-cycle carbon emissions by more than 80% compared with conventional jet fuel, she says, adding that Fulcrum process meets its sustainability, fuel cost and commercial scalability requirements.

United in 2013 signed the airline industry’s first long-term biofuel offtake agreement with a three-year deal with AltAir Fuels. Foster-Rice says AltAir will finish upgrading its refinery in the next few weeks and United expects to begin biofuel flights out of Los Angeles “later this summer.”

Hart says United has invested in Fulcrum “to help make biofuels salable and scalable” and to provide “a hedge against future fuel price volatility and carbon regulation.” Foster-Rice says “we need to be willing to invest to take out some of the risk” in scaling up to commercial quantities.

July 2015: News Item A-1: See "AAL-2015-07 - World Airline Report-A/B/C/D/E" which shows United Airlines (AAL) is one of the top three airlines in the world.

News Item A-2: United Continental Holdings Inc said on July 9 its pretax profit margin for the second quarter will be in the lower range of its earlier outlook and said the strong USA dollar has hurt demand from travelers abroad.

(UAL) said it expects a pretax margin of 12 to 13% for the quarter ended June 30. Its prior forecast was for a pretax margin of 12 to 14%.

It said its quarterly capacity grew some +2.3% from a year earlier, in the lower range of earlier guidance of 2.25 to 3.25% growth. Investors have called on USA airlines to taper their capacity growth to match weaker demand.

(UAL) said it expects passenger revenue per available seat mile, which measures sales relative to the capacity and distance of flights, to have fallen between -5.25% and 5.75% year-over-year, within the range of the prior outlook.

(UAL) said it expects gross capital expenditures were higher than it previously forecast for the quarter because of a change in timing of airplane-related deposits. It now expects to have spent between US$1.24 billion and US$1.26 billion, up from prior guidance of $885 million to US$905 million.

It said it had US$5 billion in unrestricted cash and short-term investments at the end of the second quarter.

United Airlines (UAL) reported record second-quarter net income of +$1.2 billion, up +51.2% from the same period last year, as (UAL) continues to reap the synergies from the merger with Continental (CAL).

(UAL)’s board further authorized a $3 billion share repurchase program. “This quarter’s record results reflect the progress we’re making on our long-term plan,” (CEO), Jeff Smisek said. “The $3 billion share repurchase program we announced today demonstrates the confidence we have in our future.”

Total revenues for the quarter fell -4% from the same period in 2014 to $9.9 billion. Costs fell -10% from last year to $8.5 billion. (UAL) reported an operating profit of +$1.5 billion, up +60% from +$906 million last year.

Consolidated passenger traffic for the second quarter was up slightly from last year, reaching 54 billion (RPM)s on capacity that was up +2.3%, to 65 billion (RPM)s, resulting in a load factor of 83.9% LF, down -1.4 points from 2014.

Yields were down -4% to 15.98 cents as (RASM) dropped -5.6% to 13.41 cents. Systemwide (CASM) fell -12% to 13.09 cents. (CASM), excluding fuel and special charges was flat at 9.34 cents.

“We will continue to invest in our customers, assets and our people, and remain committed to improving our balance sheet, expanding our margins and improving our return on invested capital, and expect our third quarter pre-tax margin to be between 13.5% and 15.5%, excluding special items,” Smisek added.

News Item A-3: United Airlines (UAL) is shifting some wide body flights among its hubs, as it seeks to ensure more departures are flown by local pilots (FC) and tries to more closely align airplane size with demand.

News Item A-4: United Airlines (UAL) said it was "recovering" after a technical issue with its computer systems caused the nationwide grounding of all its mainline flights for more than >90 minutes during Wednesday morning, July 8th.

"We experienced a network connectivity issue," (UAL) said, explaining the grounding. The (FAA) issued a nationwide ground stop for (UAL) that was lifted shortly after 10 am (EDT). According to flightaware.com, (UAL) delayed 1,095 flights on July 8th, while canceling 34 flights.

(UAL) President, Chairman & (CEO), Jeff Smisek told The New York Times that (UAL) was "working on a root-cause analysis to find out what it was" that led to the disruption.

(UAL) said on its website that it was waiving change fees and difference-of-cost charges for passengers changing flight tickets within the same class category between July 8 and July 10.

News Item A-5: Avionica announced the (FAA) has issued a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) to approve installation of Avionica’s satLINK Max Iridium SATCOM System on Next Gen Boeing 737-400/737-500/737-600/737-700/737-900 and 737 BBJ airplanes. (UAL) is the launch customer. The satLINK MAX is the aviation industry’s first air traffic control (ATC) voice and data qualified Iridium satellite-based communications product.

News Item A-6: "United Airlines (UAL) Pays Man a Million Miles for Reporting Bug" By Kim Zetter, Wired.com July 14, 2015,

Two Months after (UAL) launched a "bug-bounty" program to reward researchers who report flaws in (UAL)'s web site and apps, a researcher has received 1 million air miles in the first reward given.

After submitting information to (UAL) about a remote-code execution flaw in (UAL)'s web site, Jordan Wiens was awarded his mileage. It was the first time Wiens, owner of the Florida-based security firm, "Vector 35," had submitted to a bug-bounty program.

(UAL) is the first airline to launch a "bug bounty" program. (UAL) announced the program in May, after receiving harsh criticism for banning a security researcher from one of its flights.

(UAL) offers bounty submitters only air miles as a payout, rather than cash, as most vendor bug bounty programs do. The amounts paid by other bounty programs can vary between US$500 and US$250,000. The cash value of the 1 million miles Wiens received, is about US$25,000.

The miles (UAL) will pay out, depend on the type of bug reported. (UAL) will award 50,000 miles for cross-site scripting bugs, for example. An authentication bypass bug can earn US$250,000. But remote-code execution flaws (which allow an attacker to remotely run whatever malicious code they want on a vulnerable web site or system) earns the top payout.

"There were actually two bugs that I submitted that I was pretty sure were remote code execution, but I also thought they were lame and wasn't sure if they were on parts of the infrastructure that qualified," Wiens told the "ThreatPost" security blog. "My expectation was that they counted, but I figured they'd award me 50,000 miles or something smaller."

Instead, after confirming he was a US citizen and that his research was done in the USA, (UAL) told him to check his mileage account, where he discovered the massive deposit.

News Item A-7: "United (UAL) (CEO) Plays Fast and Loose With Facts in NY speech on Gulf Carriers" Karen Walker in (ATW) Editor's Blog, July 31, 2015.

United (UAL) (CEO), Jeff Smisek was practically punching the air in a hard-hitting speech in New York that focused mainly on the Gulf carriers, which he said represent the single biggest threat to USA aviation. But how correct were the many accusations he flung?

I was at the Wings Club lunch event, which was oversold despite it being the club’s first July event. I reported and posted the main content of Smisek’s speech, which you can read here (the first covers his Middle East points, while the second covers the initial part of the speech, which focused on airlines behaving like businesses).

Let me say that Smisek’s remarks on USA airlines operating like businesses were bang on point. He never mentioned the (DOJ) and (DOT) investigations launched this summer into alleged collusion and price-gouging (both ridiculous in my mind), but this part of the speech was clearly aimed as much at Washington, as it was customers who buy overpriced sodas and hotdogs at a stadium and do not question why they should pay more for a stadium seat with a good view, but think it outrageous to pay for a better seat on an airliner or for a bag that costs more for the airline to transport.

So good for Smisek for saying it clear and loud: airlines are businesses and it’s time everyone recognized that.

Smisek then moved to the Gulf carriers and why (UAL), (DAL) and (AAL) are sticking to their guns in their campaign against the expansion of Emirates (EAD), Etihad (EHD) and Qatar (QTA) in the USA market through their countries’ "Open Skies" agreements.

A couple of things I’d like to note. Smisek delivered his speech away from the podium and without any notes. It was a very slick, engaging and dynamic speech with several soundbites that he knew would be attention-grabbers and raise a laugh, which they did. The Gulf carriers had been “caught with their subsidies down by their ankles;” “it’s good to be king” (a reference to Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s power while flashing an organizational chart of (UAE) leadership that all pointed to Maktoum).

My feeling was that he has given close versions of this speech several times before to those people and organizations that the so-called "Partnership for Fair & Open Skies" has reached out to support their campaign.

There were many pilots (FC) in the room from several airlines, including (UAL), (AAL), (DAL) and (SWA). Pilot unions were among the first to support the campaign and Smisek several times referred to hundreds of USA job losses that would result from Gulf carrier expansion.

But what about some of the points he presented as facts? Below are my counterpoints to some of those “facts” and why this was in the end a clever speech, but not one that did the USA campaign much credit.

Smisek: “All three Gulf carriers are losing tons of money”
Counterpoint: All the evidence with (EAD) is that it is very profitable; (ATW) figures show the Emirates Group posting a +$1.5 billion net profit for 2014. The report commissioned by (AAL), (DAL) and (UAL) made a significant error saying (EAD) passed on fuel hedge losses to the Dubai government and (EAD) documented the real facts in its report. (EHD) reported a 2014 net profit of +$73 million, its fourth consecutive year of profit.

Smisek: “Airline traffic should grow at about the same rate as Gross Domestic Profit (GDP); the Gulf carriers have been growing almost four times (GDP).”

Counterpoint: My thanks to Airline/Aircraft Projects Inc consultant, Craig Jenks who was in the room and points out that in growth economies, such as those the Gulf carriers predominantly serve, airline traffic typically grows at about twice that of (GDP).

Smisek: “Lufthansa (DLH), Air France (AFA) - (KLM), and British Airways (BAB) have been decimated by the Gulf carriers.”

Counterpoint: None of these airlines are decimated. All three carriers, as reported in the (ATW) 2015 World Airline Report, ranked in the top 10 of world carriers by passenger (RPK)s for 2014 and by operating revenue. (BAB) owner, the (IAG) was the world’s sixth most profitable, with a net profit of $1 billion. Lufthansa (DLH) and (AFA) - (KLM)’s financial problems are at least in part related to their internal struggles with unions to restructure costs and be competitive with Europe’s successful low cost carriers (LCC)s. Smisek did caveat this statement, saying (BAB) was “a little better protected” because of its Heathrow (LHR) hub. But that gives scant credit to (IAG)’s smart management and, as a side note, ignores the fact that (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh has made clear that the USA campaign (and adjacent campaigns in Europe) are protectionist. Qatar Airways (QTA), by the way, now owns a 10% stake in the (IAG) and is a Oneworld (ONW) Alliance member alongside (BAB) and (AAL).

Smisek: “These [Gulf] carriers would not exist without government subsidies.”

Counterpoint: Many, if not all legacy European carriers and many Asian carriers, too, exist only because of the initial funding and support they received from their then-government owners. A similar sentence could be said of the three consolidated majors: none would exist today without Chapter 11 and the ability to wipe out debt through Chapter 11-protected restructuring. And, as the (ATW) 2015 World Airline Report shows, (EAD) and (EHD) are profitable.

Smisek: The Gulf carriers represent “the biggest single threat to our new-found prosperity.”

Counterpoint: With thanks again to (AAP)’s Jenks, who calculates that without the Gulf carriers, (UAL) might perhaps run three extra India flights and one extra Frankfurt flight, due to alliance partner Lufthansa (DLH) being able to operate better (FRA) - India service; not a make-or-break for prosperity

Smisek: The USA/(UAE) "Open Skies" agreement gave (UAE) carriers “unfettered access to the USA market, while the USA got access to Dubai.”

Counterpoint: The size of the country is not the point of "Open Skies" treaties. Indeed, the case could be made that it’s the smaller country that should fear being swamped by USA airline capacity. Regardless, the USA has "Open Skies" agreements with The Netherlands, Singapore, Panama and many other small-country states.

Smisek: (referring to a question about (EAD)’s Dubai - Milan - New York (JFK) fifth freedom route) “They are flouting their right to stop and refuel in Europe to add point-to-point business, even though today’s aircraft technology doesn’t need refueling to get from the Emirates to the USA”.

Counterpoint: Commercial fifth freedom rights are in all "Open Skies" agreements and have nothing to do with “fuel stops.”

Smisek: [Etihad (EHD)’s] new "Residence-class suites with butler service" is something that “no one would pay for” and can only be offered by a subsidized airline.

Counterpoint: (EHD)’s first Residence booking on its Abu Dhabi - (JFK) route, which starts December 1, sold within hours of becoming available.

Smisek: If airlines were governed by (WTO) rules, Gulf carrier activity “would be a clear case of dumping.”

Counterpoint: Irrelevant. Airlines are not under (WTO) jurisdiction and it’s the last thing USA airlines (and unions) want, because it would open them up to changing their current ownership/citizenship and cabotage protections.

Finally, back to that “good to be the king” remark. Actually, Maktoum is Vice President & Prime Minister of the (UAE) and is the Emir of Dubai.

A day later, four other USA airlines said they have formed a new coalition to oppose the campaign to fight expansion of the Gulf carriers in the USA. The (CEO)s of Atlas Air (TLS), FedEx (FED), Hawaiian Airlines (HWL), and JetBlue Airways (JBL) submitted a joint letter to the USA government saying that what (AAL), (DAL), and (UAL) are seeking would be a breach of the "Open Skies" treaties and are a political maneuver to reduce competition.

(FED) operates a freight hub in Dubai, (HWI) uses "Open Skies" rules to serve multiple destinations in Asia. JetBlue (JBL) partners with (EAD) and (EHD) to feed its domestic flights.

USA exports made possible through "Open Skies" agreements will contribute $900 billion and 347,000 jobs to the USA economy, according to a study commissioned by FedEx (FED) to support its opposition to the anti-Gulf carrier campaign, headed by (AAL), (DAL)s and (UAL).

August 2015: News Item A-1: United Airlines (UAL) is likely to use Boeing 787s to serve secondary cities in China. UAL) launched San Francisco - Chengdu 787-8 flights last year and already served Beijing and Shanghai when it launched the Chengdu service.

News Item A-2: United Airlines (UAL) is continuing the expansion of its In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) with the launch of free personal device entertainment on two-cabin United Express regional jets, among other enhancements. (UAL) has begun rolling out personal device entertainment on its fleet of more than >120 Wi-Fi-equipped EMB-170, EMB-175 and CRJ700 regional jets and plans to offer the service on all Wi-Fi-equipped regional jets by the end of this month.

(UAL) has also launched a pilot program offering tablets for rent on Boeing 777 flights between the continental USA and Honolulu and between Honolulu and Guam. (UAL) plans to install personal device entertainment on more than >650 mainline and regional airplanes, including its intercontinental fleet.

News Item A-3: "United BusinessFirst Lie-flat Seats"
See photo - - "UAL-2015-08 - BusinessFirst Lie-Flat Seats.jpg" being offered on Boeing 757 Premium service at New York (JFK) and Newark on October 25.

News Item A-4: United Airlines (UAL) has launched a new wholly-owned ground-handling subsidiary named United Ground Express (UGE). (UGE) will provide airport ground handling services (including customer service, station operations, and ramp and cargo services) at select second- and third-tier airports across (UAL)'s domestic network.

It will not, however, be present at any of (UAL)'s mainland USA hubs, which include Chicago O'Hare, Denver International, Houston International, Los Angeles International, Newark, San Francisco California, and Washington Dulles.

United Ground Express (UGE) will roll out operations this autumn at select stations, and will also provide ground handling for (UAL)'s new service to and from Kalamazoo, Michigan, starting December 9.

News Item A-5: United Airlines (UAL) named Gerald Laderman as acting (CFO). He succeeds John Rainey, who has resigned to become Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at PayPal Holdings. Laderman has held legal and financial positions of increasing responsibility at the company for 27 years.

September 2015: News Item A-1: "(UAL)'s Head, Smisek’s Stunning News" by (ATW) Karen Walker in (ATW) Editor's Blog, September 8, 2015.

The September 8th announcement that United Airlines (UAL)’s Chairman, President & (CEO), Jeff Smisek has resigned and stepped down is stunning!

There was no public sign of this coming, but the departure is immediate, and a new President & (CEO) was already named (former (CSX) Corporation President & (COO), Oscar Munoz).

So what to make of Smisek’s departure (along with those of two other United execs)? Here’s what the (UAL) statement says: “The departures announced today are in connection with the company’s previously disclosed internal investigation related to the federal investigation associated with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The investigations are ongoing and the company continues to cooperate with the government. “The company’s internal investigation and the related circumstances do not raise any accounting or financial reporting concerns.”

No question, then, that the departures were deemed a necessary action directly related to an ongoing federal investigation. The investigation concerned, though not detailed, appears to be that of former New York & New Jersey Port Authority Chairman, David Samson and regular United Express flights he took between United (UAL)’s Newark, New Jersey hub and Columbia, South Carolina.

Smisek became (UAL)’s (CEO) in 2010 after it was merged with Continental Airlines (CAL), where he was also Chairman, President & (CEO). He joined (CAL) in 1995 (and was hired by former (CAL) (CEO), Gordon Bethune, who remarked on (CNN) News on September 8th of the dangers of getting “too close to those New Jersey sleazebags”). Smisek is an executive with considerable industry knowledge and expertise, who ran one of the world’s top three largest airlines.

All this makes the September 8th’s news even more surprising. On the one hand, it’s difficult to believe that a man of this knowledge and caliber would cross any legal lines; on the other, why such a sudden departure?

Smisek was in New York in August as the guest speaker at the "Wings Club." He addressed two topics (first, the need for airlines to be able to conduct business like any other for-profit, privatized company; and second on the dispute over the Gulf carriers and government subsidies.

On the second subject, Smisek has been one of three airline (CEO) leaders that have led the controversial campaign, along with American Airlines (AAL)’s Doug Parker and Delta Air Lines (DAL)’s Richard Anderson, to reassess the USA government’s "Open Skies" agreements with the (UAE) and Qatar "Big3."

On the first subject, Smisek was essentially having a public dig at lawmakers and regulators, who treat airlines differently than they do other companies. The USA Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Transportation (DOT) began investigations this summer into what they say might be cases of unlawful behavior by the airlines. The (DOJ) has been investigating alleged collusion by the USA majors to fix capacity so that they could charge higher fares, while the (DOT) has been looking at whether the USA majors: Southwest Airlines (SWA) and JetBlue (JBL) had inflated air fares in the USA northeast market, after a serious and fatal Amtrak raiways crash had shut down key rail routes in that region.

Ahead of the Spisek speech, I had asked Smisek for his thoughts on those (DOT)/(DOJ) investigations, and his response was pretty ripe (and not for quotation). But to sum up, he made a strong and very credible case as to why he and his peers at the other airlines would never be involved in unlawful behavior (and he was clearly very angry that Washington regulators would even suggest such).

The (DOJ)/(DOT) investigations have nothing to do with the federal investigation that prompted Smisek’s departure, but it strikes me as odd to believe he would knowingly cross any legal lines here, any more than in the alleged collusion cases.

This (CEO) who had addressed the Wings Club just a few weeks ago, had showed no sign of leaving. It was then a very energetic speech that strongly defended the right of airlines to behave as proper businesses and which proudly touted some of (UAL)’s achievements now that it is profitable (investing in new airplanes, having an over-funded pension scheme, and being able to pre-pay debt and de-risk its business. Then, Smisek looked and sounded like someone who was looking forward to running an airline with those hard-won assets established, while taking on industry issues that he saw as wrong.

As a side note, Smisek’s stepping down is the sixth in recent months in a line of Star (SAL) Alliance (CEO) departures: following Air India (AIN), Avianca (AVI), Egyptair (EGP), (LOT), and South African Airways (SAA), whom have all seen changes at the top.

New incoming, (UAL) (CEO) Munoz may be new to the airline industry, but he won’t be the only relatively new face at the next Star (SAL) Alliance board meeting.

News Item A-2: "New United (UAL) (CEO) Oscar Munoz ‘Ready to Get to Work after Smisek Steps Down" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, September 8, 2015.

United Airlines (UAL)’s new President & (CEO), Oscar Munoz said he will focus on customer service and cost discipline, but offered few specifics on his first day at (UAL)’s helm.

Munoz, formerly the President & (COO) of rail and intermodal giant, (CSX) Corporation, was named (CEO) of (UAL) parent company, United Continental Holdings following the sudden departure of former Chairman, President & (CEO), Jeff Smisek. (UAL) General Counsel, Brett Hart said (UAL) could not provide any information on the USA government’s investigation into the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey that was cited as the reason for Smisek stepping down. “We have no control whatsoever over the timing of the federal investigation,” he said. “All we can say is we’re cooperating fully.”

Munoz served on Continental Airlines (CAL)’s board of directors from 2004 - 2010, and then on United (UAL)’s board following the United (UAL) - Continental (CAL) merger. During a conference call with analysts, he cited his 11 years on the boards of (CAL) and (UAL) as helping to prepare him for his new job. But Munoz conceded he needs to be briefed on a number of specific issues.

“I’m going to spend the first 90 days or so traveling the United (UAL) network and listening to and talking to people,” he said, adding, “I have a ton of calls [to make]. I’ll get up to speed very quickly.”

Munoz did say that he thought (UAL) and (CAL) had gone through a “rough integration” process and acknowledged the Information Technology (IT) systems failures that have hurt Chicago-based United (ual)’s operational performance and standing with consumers. “I have a very strong technology background,” he said. “Systems unfortunately have their ups and downs. We’ve made significant progress over the last several years and certainly this year [in terms of operational performance]. It’s just an absolute and complete point that we need to reach out to our customers with a better service product and that takes a lot of time and effort.”

Munoz said there “are a lot of analogs and parallels” between the airline and rail industries. “I think the airline industry has been closely watching, monitoring and following what the rail industry has done from a yield management perspective,” he said. Munoz said he will stick to the capacity discipline practiced by (UAL) recently, adding, “Capacity management seems to be something that has worked well in the [airline] industry.”

Munoz said he is “truly excited” about (UAL)’s potential. “I think the team has been doing a great job recently and the momentum is building,” he told analysts. “It is certainly a new chapter for (UAL). I’m ready to get to work.”

News Item A-3: "Five Priorities for the New United Airlines (CEO) by Karen Walker in her (ATW) Editor's Blog, September 10, 2015.

New United Airlines (UAL) President & (CEO), Oscar Munoz, who took up the post September 9th after Jeff Smisek stepped down, said he will spend his first 90 days traveling the (UAL) network listening to and talking to people.

That sounds like a good and very appropriate start, especially the listening. Here’s my list of what I think should be Munoz’ five top priorities in these early days:

1. Look out for service inconsistencies on the ground and in the air. That’s a training issue as much as a resource issue and it’s long overdue a fix.

2. Fly on other USA airlines (most especially American (AAL) and Delta (DAL) to see how much they are improving customer service and on board products, relative to (UAL). But I also recommend a couple of coast-to-coast rides on JetBlue (JBL) and Virgin America (VUS), if you want to see where USA air travel should really be heading. (And fly economy (Y) a few times; until your employees get to know your face, this will be a very useful exercise in understanding both their jobs and your customers' experience.)

3: Fly on some of (UAL)’s Star (SAL) Alliance partner airlines (especially (ANA), Air New Zealand (ANZ), and Lufthansa (DLH)) to understand what international long-haul service should and can look like, and ask how passengers who travel on (UAL) after flying on one of these airlines as part of a “seamless” travel experience, feel about the over-used word “seamless.”

4: Get to know the Star (SAL) Alliance airline (CEO)s and Star (SAL) Alliance (CEO), Mark Schwab sooner rather than later. They are a great resource.

5: De-prioritize the anti-Gulf airlines/alleged subsidy campaign. There’s too much else to do and, in any case, if (UAL)’s leadership focuses on the first four of this list, it will learn about those actionable things that will put (UAL) in a far better position to compete with the Gulf carriers or any other airline.

News Item A-4: United Airlines (UAL) has gone live with (RTS) CargoProfitOpt capacity management module to forecast capacities, predict show-up behavior, and compute optimal overbooking levels. The (RTS) solution also reacts to schedule changes and re-forecast values in real time.

News Item A-5: SkyWest Airlines and United Airlines (UAL) have amended their Capacity Purchase Agreement (CPA) to add 18 Embraer EMB-175s to SkyWest’s "United Express" service.

See photo - - "UAL-EMB-175 - United Express, 2015-09.jpg."

Utah-based, SkyWest started United Express EMB-175 service in spring 2014. It had a (CPA) with (UAL) to eventually operate 40 of the 76-seat aircraft under the "United Express" brand. The 18 EMB-175s added to the (CPA) will begin delivering in late 2016, with all 18 coming by mid-2017, according to SkyWest.

All EMB-175s operated under the United Express brand, feature 12F first-class seats.

News Item A-6: United Airlines (UAL) commenced two new routes from Denver (DEN) on September 13 to Charlotte Douglas (CLT) and Raleigh-Durham (RDU). The 2,147 Km sector to the former will be flown 2x-daily, facing direct competition from Southwest Airlines (SWA) (13x-weekly services) and Frontier Airlines (FRO) (daily). The 2,305 km sector to the latter of the two new destinations will also be flown 2x-daily, this time facing competition from American Airlines (AAL) (38x-weekly), a service inherited by (AAL) as a result of the merger with US Airways (AMW)/(USA). Both routes will be flown by the (UAL)’s EMB-175s. This brings to 127 the number of destinations that United (UAL) serves non-stop from its Colorado base.

News Item A-7: United Airlines (UAL) has asked the USA government for permission to operate seasonal flights in 2016 between San Francisco and Xi’an, China.

The transpacific service would be operated 3x-weekly with Boeing 787s from May 8 to October 27, 2016, (UAL) said. Located in the interior part of northwest China, Xi’an is the capital of Shannxi province.

(UAL) Vice Chairman & Chief Revenue Officer, Jim Compton said recently that (UAL)’s San Francisco - Chengdu 787-8 flights, which were launched last year, are a precursor to how it will develop the USA - China market. (UAL) became the first USA carrier to fly directly to the capital of Sichuan province. “So much of the demand growth out of China over the next five years is going to be from secondary cities,” Compton said, adding that the “787 is the perfect airplane to serve that developing market.” In addition to Chengdu, (UAL) serves Beijing and Shanghai in China.

If the USA Department of Transportation (DOT) approves (UAL)’s application, (UAL) would become the first USA carrier to serve Xi’an and the only airline operating Xi’an flights to/from any point in the Americas.

Flight time from San Francisco to Xi’an would be approximately 13 hrs, 5 min, and from Xi’an to San Francisco would be about 12 hr, 5 min.

(UAL) has 19 787s in its fleet, comprising eight 787-8s and 11 787-9s. It expects to take delivery of +6 more 787-9s by the end of this year. (UAL), the North American launch customer for the 787, expects to have eight 787-8s and 22 787-9s in its fleet by July 2016. It ultimately plans to have 50 787s in its fleet.

News Item A-8: Technology specialist (WIN) is expanding its e-booking system to connect independent forwarders to 16 airlines. (WIN) already connects to over 90 airlines for electronic Air Waybill (e-AWB). The carriers available for e-bookings include British Airways (BAB), Iberia (IBE), Etihad Airways (EHD), (SAS), Singapore Airlines (SIA), Jet Airways (JPL), Swiss (CSR), American Airlines (AAL), Air France (AFA), Finnair (FIN), Korean Air (KAL), (KLM), Lufthansa (DLH), United Airlines (UAL), Emirates (EAD), and Gulf Air (GUL). The all-in-one tool includes the ability for customers to look up flight schedules, create and manage bookings in real-time, transmit (e-AWB) data, and receive full (e-AWB) tracking automatically.

October 2015: News Item A-1: United Airlines (UAL) parent, United Continental Holdings posted a third-quarter net profit of +$1.61 billion, up +74.6% over net income of +$920 million in the prior-year period.

Those figures exclude a nonrecurring +$3.2 billion non-cash gain associated with the reversal of the company’s income tax valuation allowance and a similar +$4 million gain in the 2014 September quarter. Acting (CEO), Brett Hart said that it is has been “a challenging few weeks” for United (UAL). Hart is the third person to wear the (UAL) (CEO) hat just since September 7. Jeff Smisek resigned suddenly September 8 amid a USA federal investigation into the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and his replacement, Oscar Munoz, suffered a heart attack October 15 and is on medical leave.

Hart, who was promoted this week from Executive VP & General Counsel to acting (CEO), said (UAL)’s employees “have never felt more unified,” adding, “With Oscar Munoz on medical leave, this leadership team and I are working to push forward the agenda we laid out over the past six weeks by focusing on our employees, improving our processes and investing in our systems to further improve our margins. Fourth-quarter pre-tax margin is expected to be between 9.5% and 11.5%, excluding special items.”

(UAL)’s third-quarter revenue was down -2.4% year-over-year to $10.31 billion, while expenses lowered -10.3% to $8.41 billion, including a -38.2% reduction in aircraft fuel costs. (UAL)’s third-quarter operating income was $1.9 billion, up +59.4% over an operating profit of $1.19 billion in the 2014 September quarter.

(UAL)’s mainline third-quarter traffic rose +3.4% year-over-year to 50.65 billion (RPM)s on a +3.7% increase in capacity to 59 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 85.8% LF, down -0.2 points. Yield fell -5.4% to 14.32 cents.

News Item A-2: "United Airlines (CEO) Oscar Munoz Hospitalized" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, October 16, 2015.

United Airlines (UAL) President & (CEO), Oscar Munoz has been hospitalized, (UAL) confirmed. The "Wall Street Journal" reported that Munoz suffered a heart attack on October 15. (UAL) did not disclose the reason for the hospitalization, saying that it “will provide further details as appropriate.”

(UAL) added, “In the meantime, we are continuing to operate normally. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, and we are respecting their privacy.”

Munoz became (UAL)’s (CEO) last month, following the sudden departure of former Chairman, President & (CEO), Jeff Smisek.

United Airlines (UAL) announced on Monday October 19, it will “conclude the corporate governance process necessitated by the hospitalization of President & (CEO), Oscar Munoz.”

In Monday, October 19’s statement, (UAL) non-executive Board Chairman, Henry Meyer said, “The company expects to release more details either later today or tomorrow. In the meantime, the United (UAL) family’s thoughts and well wishes are with Oscar.”

(UAL) named General Counsel Brett Hart as its acting (CEO) after Oscar Munoz (CEO), 56, suffered a heart attack on October 15. (UAL) said it was too soon to know how long Munoz will need to recover.

Hart’s appointment is effective immediately. “Hart has been responsible for government and regulatory affairs, corporate real estate, customer experience, corporate security, community affairs, contact centers and food services,” (UAL) said. Hart has worked at (UAL) since 2010. Among previous positions before joining (UAL), he was special assistant to the general counsel at the USA Treasury Department.

(UAL) said Hart will “work closely” with non-executive Chairman, Henry Meyer and “United (UAL)’s experienced executive team to run the company in Munoz’s absence.”

Hart said “Oscar’s agenda is focused on customer service, teamwork and innovation, and I, along with the executive team, will continue to move quickly to implement it.”

United added, “The board of directors remains actively engaged in preparing for all potential outcomes regarding the company’s leadership structure.”

United Airlines (UAL) executives said (UAL) is preparing to make a number of customer service improvements (including new coffee) in accordance with the guidance of President & (CEO), Oscar Munoz, who is on medical leave.

News Item A-3: United Airlines (UAL) said it had a tentative deal to combine more than >8,600 maintenance technicians (MT) from (UAL) and the former Continental Airlines (CAL) under one Teamsters contract, a step toward improving (UAL)'s rocky labor relations.

(UAL) has reached an agreement with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) to ratify a proposed joint collective bargaining agreement. According to (UAL), the proposed agreement will bring together its more than >8,600 maintenance technicians (MT) and related employees under a single contract.

(UAL) and the union worked with the assistance of the National Mediation Board to reach the agreement.

(UAL) acting (CEO), Brett Hart said, “Our customers care most about taking off and landing on time, and doing so safely, and the unsurpassed efforts of our professional maintenance technicians (MT) and related employees help make this possible every day. We appreciate the efforts of the negotiating committee, as well as the assistance of the National Mediation Board in helping us reach this agreement.”

(UAL) said it has joint collective bargaining agreements covering the majority of its represented employees, including pilots (FC), dispatchers, fleet service, passenger service, reservations and storekeeper work groups. (UAL) is engaged in mediated negotiations with the Association of Flight Attendants (CA) and recently entered into discussions with its pilots (FC), represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, to consider an extension of their current collective agreement.

News Item A-4: Sabre will supply a new solution for business travelers in United Airlines (UAL)’s Economy Plus (PY) to book extra-legroom seats in the "GetThere" online booking tool. The GetThere Air Extras allows a traveler to select and pay for these seats during the booking process, when corporate travel policy does not allow for an upgraded seat. The traveler can pay with a personal credit card through the online booking tool.

November 2015: News Item A-1: "Munoz to Return to Helm of United Airlines in 2016 (1Q)."

United Airlines (UAL) President & (CEO) Oscar Munoz said he will return to duty in the 2016 first quarter after recovering from his heart attack.

News Item A-2: "Jeff Smisek Returns in (DOJ)’s Lawsuit Against United" by (ATW) Aaron Karp in AirKarp Blog, November 10, 2015.

Jeff Smisek, the former Chairman, President & (CEO) of United Airlines (UAL), who abruptly resigned in September, made a return of sorts in the federal antitrust lawsuit the USA Department of Justice filed against (UAL). The (DOJ) is quoting Smisek, both in the lawsuit and in comments to the media, to help buttress its case that (UAL) is “unlawfully seeking to maintain a monopoly” at Newark International Airport (EWR).

The irony here is rich. Smisek, after all, was forced out amid a (DOJ) investigation into the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PANYNJ). Federal lawyers are, among other things, probing whether (UAL) improperly operated low load factor flights from (EWR) to Columbia, South Carolina, near a vacation home owned by former (PANYNJ) Chairman, David Samson, presumably to curry favor with Samson and get wanted projects at (EWR) approved.

Now the feds are using a Smisek quote to, in their estimation, show that (UAL) is going back on its promise—made when the (DOJ) approved the United (UAL) - Continental (CAL) merger in 2010 (to allow fair competition at (EWR)).

Of course, Smisek is being used as an unwitting witness against (UAL). And the transaction (DOJ) is trying to prevent ((UAL) acquiring 12 (EWR) slot pairs from Delta Air Lines (DAL)) was negotiated when Smisek was still in charge of (UAL). So the (DOJ) is in effect accusing Smisek of duplicity: saying one thing to get the (DOJ) to clear (UAL) - (CAL) and then attempting to cut deals to reverse the sentiment of his statement.

The Smisek quote came after (UAL) agreed to divest 18 (EWR) slot pairs to Southwest Airlines (SWA) in 2010. That was enough to get the merger cleared by the (DOJ), which was worried about the new (UAL)’s control over then-Continental (CAL) hub Newark. Smisek was then running (CAL), but was poised to take over the merged carrier.

Here is (DOJ) Assistant Attorney General Antitrust Division, Bill Baer speaking to reporters today, citing a Smisek quote that is also used in the text of the lawsuit: “United (UAL) inherited most of its Newark slots from Continental Airlines (CAL) when those two merged in 2010. At the time, (CAL) had 894 and (UAL) held 36 [total (EWR) landing and takeoff slots]. We were concerned then that the merged airline would control too many slots. (UAL) agreed to divest all 36 of its slots to (SWA) to allay the department’s competitive concerns ((UAL) understood our concern at the time) Jeff Smisek acknowledged the importance of introducing competition at Newark. He said: ‘We think this would be a fair solution that would allow (CAL) and (UAL) to create an airline that will provide customers with an unparalleled global network and top-quality products and services, while enhancing domestic competition at Newark.’ He was right. This divestiture allowed (SWA) to introduce new low-fare competition to (UAL) on five routes, which resulted in substantially lower fares and increased service on these routes into and out of Newark.”

But Baer went on to say that “ever since then, (UAL) has been trying to acquire additional slots and stifle competition at Newark. This is (UAL)’s third attempt in the last year-and-a-half to reverse the benefits of that divestiture by buying up additional slots from its competitors at Newark.”

According to Baer, (UAL) tried to reacquire the 18 (EWR) slot pairs divested to (SWA) in July 2014, but abandoned the plan after the (DOJ) raised objections. “Then, in March 2015, (UAL) floated a proposal to acquire 18 slots from American Airlines (AAL), but when the department again voiced competitive concerns, the deal went away,” Baer said. “This proposed transaction with (DAL) is (UAL)’s latest attempt to bolster its dominance at Newark.”

There is clearly a contingent at the (DOJ) that has misgivings about the department’s clearance of the (USA)’s latest round of airline consolidation (the investigation into possible collusion on capacity planning is likely a fruit of those misgivings) and Baer is the contingent’s public voice. His and the (DOJ)’s tone today was unmistakable: From the (DOJ)’s perspective, (UAL) and (CAL) told the (DOJ) what the department wanted to hear to approve their merger, but later behaved in a way that revealed the airlines’ assurances to be disingenuous.

And so now the (DOJ) is going to court. The (DOJ) through the lawsuit appears to want to cap (UAL)’s control of Newark, where it is now, preventing any further expansion, and perhaps even diminishing (UAL)’s current level of dominance. The (DOJ) is making a big deal about (UAL) sitting on unused (EWR) slots. (UAL) “operates only 386 daily roundtrip flights at Newark, when its slots would allow it to operate 451,” Baer said.

It’s not clear legally what can be done about this (it doesn’t appear to be enough slots for (UAL) to be violating (FAA) rules). But in the court of public opinion, pointing this out can allow the (DOJ) to paint (UAL) as actively stifling competition at Newark to charge higher fares for what Baer derisively called service that “ranks among the worst.”

(UAL) has promised to “vigorously defend” itself. It will need to do so, because it is squarely in the (DOJ)’s crosshairs.

News Item A-3: "What does the (DOJ) Really Want from its Lawsuit Against United (UAL) and Delta (DAL)?" by (ATW) Aaron Karp in AirKarp Blog, November 11, 2015.

There is a lot of colorful language surrounding the USA Department of Justice’s civil antitrust lawsuit against United Airlines (UAL) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) over a slot transaction at Newark International Airport (EWR). (DOJ) Assistant Attorney General Antitrust Division, Bill Baer has accused (UAL) of “unlawfully seeking to maintain a monopoly” at EWR and of charging passengers a “Newark premium” (using its dominant position at the airport to charge higher fares for Newark flights vs. comparable flights at other New York-area airports). (UAL), he said, is “deliberately limiting its Newark service” by sitting on slots, thereby stifling competition at the hub so it can charge high fares for service that “ranks among the worst.”

But beyond the bluster, what does the (DOJ) really want? When one files a lawsuit, one asks the court to impose specific judgments. And in the (DOJ)’s lawsuit, it does ask for specific things. These include permanently enjoining (UAL) from acquiring the 12 (EWR) slot pairs it has agreed to lease from (DAL) for $14 million “or any similar acquisition that would result in (UAL) acquiring slots from (DAL) at Newark.” (DOJ) also wants the court to require (UAL) to notify the department’s antitrust division “at least 90 days in advance of any acquisition, lease, or agreement whereby (UAL) assumes long-term control of slots at Newark within the next five years.” (DOJ) additionally asks the court to force (UAL) and (DAL) to pay (DOJ)’s costs associated with the lawsuit.

Bottom line: The (DOJ) wants (DAL) to keep competing with (UAL) at (EWR) or, if (DAL) is content with lessening its presence at the airport, to give the slots it no longer wants, to another carrier that would compete with (UAL) at (EWR).

The inclusion of (DAL) as a “defendant” in the lawsuit is interesting. The (DOJ) can argue that it is a technical requirement; since (DAL) is part of a transaction that the (DOJ) believes would violate the Sherman Act, the 1890 USA federal law that prohibits anti-competitive business activities, (DAL) must be included. But the way in which the (DOJ) has framed the case seems, to me, to give (DAL) every incentive to abandon Chicago-based, (UAL) in the lawsuit, leaving the latter with less room to maneuver.

(DAL) had agreed to lease 12 of its 32 (EWR) slot pairs to (UAL) in exchange for leasing a similar number of slots from (UAL) at New York (JFK) International Airport, which (UAL) is pulling out of all together. The deal is effectively a straight swap (with each carrier agreeing to pay the other $14 million for the slots at the respective New York-area airports) but the lawsuit has revealed it is not actually technically a swap. The transactions are separate, and (DAL) has pointed out that its acquisition of (UAL)’s (JFK) slots is a done deal and not a subject of the lawsuit.

So (DAL) has nothing to lose. (DAL) may decide to stand up for the broader principle of airlines being allowed to swap and sell slots without government interference, but (DAL) is not exactly a “team player” in the USA airline industry. In fact, it has just recently made a very public departure from Airlines for America (A4A), the lobbying group that represents the USA airline industry. What’s to stop (DAL) from settling its part of the lawsuit with the (DOJ) by simply agreeing not to sell or lease its (EWR) slots to (UAL)? (UAL) is, after all, a competitor. Why should (DAL) help out (UAL)?

(UAL) does have a bigger fight here with the (DOJ). Newark is critical to its network, ever more so since it has pulled out of (JFK). If the (DOJ) is successful in this lawsuit, it would essentially mean that (UAL)’s growth at (EWR) is capped. It now controls 73% of (EWR)’s slots and this lawsuit could enshrine that as (UAL)’s limit at the airport.

This lawsuit also brings up a broader issue about the New York-area airports. In its statement responding to the lawsuit, (UAL) said, “With three major airports, the New York/Newark area is the most competitive air transportation market in the country.” One of the premises of the (DOJ)’s lawsuit appears to be that, rather than viewing (EWR), (JFK) and New York LaGuardia as part of one big market, each of the three airports is a market on its own. (UAL) will certainly argue that its position at Newark should be seen in the wider context of its overall position in the New York air transport market, where it does not have any sort of “monopoly.”

In fact, (UAL) would be gaining the slots at (EWR) after giving up slots at (JFK) and moving its premium service transcontinental Boeing 757-200 flights from (JFK) to (EWR). It can plausibly argue that, while it is gaining a greater position at (EWR), its overall position in New York is unchanged.

This lawsuit is ostensibly about just 24 slots out of more than >1,200 daily slots at (EWR). But it is really about much more.

News Item A-4: "United Airlines (UAL), Pilots (FC) Agree On Contract Extension" by (ATW) Linda Blachly, November 23, 2015.

United Airlines (UAL) and its pilots (FC), represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), have reached an agreement in principle for a contract extension covering more than >12,000 pilots (FC). The agreement, which is more than a year ahead of the amendable date of the current contract, is subject to ratification.

“The fact that we were able to reach this agreement in principle in fewer than <30 days is a direct result of the positive, collaborative relationship between (ALPA) leadership and (UAL),” Executive VP Human Resources & Labor Relations, Mike Bonds said.

(UAL) has joint collective bargaining agreements covering the majority of its represented employees, and recently announced that it will open contract negotiations early for (UAL)’s ramp service and passenger service agents, storekeepers, load planners, maintenance and fleet technical instructors, and other groups, represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

(UAL) is also engaged in mediated negotiations with the Association of Flight Attendants and recently announced an agreement with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to put a proposed joint collective bargaining agreement out for ratification by the company's Maintenance Technicians (MT) and related employees.

December 2015: News Item A-1: "United (UAL) Adds Five More San Francisco - Denver Flights" by (ATW) Brian Sumers, December 4, 2015.

United Airlines (UAL) has taken an aggressive stance toward Virgin America (VUS)’s entry into the San Francisco - Denver market, adding five additional flights on weekdays beginning in March 2016.

When (VUS) begins its 3x-daily flights on March 15, (UAL) will be flying as much as 14x between the two cities on weekdays. The approach is similar to what (UAL) tried in the past when (VUS) entered its hub-to-hub routes from San Francisco to Chicago and Newark-Liberty (EWR). While Chicago has been tricky for Virgin America (VUS) from both Los Angeles and San Francisco, (CEO) David Cush recently said Newark eventually became “a very profitable market for (VUS).” At first, though, Cush said the Newark competition was “damaging” to (VUS)’ bottom line.

“We’re no stranger to competition (in fact, we’re quite used to it,” (VUS) spokesman, Dave Arnold said. He noted that when (VUS) started flying San Francisco - Newark in 2013, (UAL) “nearly doubled” its frequencies, while the average fares in the market decreased by as much as -30%. “As is the case in (EWR) and other markets, we believe that our superior, consistent and tech-forward product and service will resonate with travelers in the Denver area,” Arnold added.

Analyst, Henry Harteveldt said it makes sense that (UAL) seeks to protect its hub-to-hub routes, but he suggested going to 14 daily flights on a mature route is an “alarming increase.” Southwest Airlines (SWA) flies the route 4x most days, while Frontier (FRO) has three daily flights. In addition, (SWA) flies 4x per day between Oakland and Denver.

* ‘Scorched Earth’

All of (UAL)’s flights will continue to be on mainline, with the airline planning to use a mix of Boeing 737-800s, Boeing 757-300s and Airbus A320s in the spring. The current weekday schedule is flown mainly by 737-800s, 737-900s, 757-200s and A320s. “Going from nine flights to 14 seems like a ‘scorched earth’ response,” Harteveldt said. “(UAL) is not growing the Denver hub, and they are not growing San Francisco outside of some international flights. In adding these five additional flights, will (UAL) end up putting in so much capacity in, that yields and load factors suffer?”

Though (VUS) probably knew it would provoke a response from (UAL), (VUS) may have had no choice. Denver is the only one of the most-popular 10 destinations from San Francisco that (VUS) does not serve. Arnold also called it “one of the most-requested destinations by our high-tech corporate accounts.”

But Hartevedlt said (VUS) may have trouble in the crowded market.
“The problem is that they will be going in with three flights a day against (UAL) and (SWA),” he said. “(VUS) is really going to have to compete exclusively for the local San Francisco - Denver travelers.

News Item A-2: "United (UAL) Vows to Beat American (AAL), & Delta (DAL) in 2016 Operational Performance" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, December 8, 2015.

United Airlines (UAL), trying to reverse its poor operational performance reputation, has promised its corporate customers that it will best American Airlines (AAL) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) in both flight completion and on-time arrival performance in 2016.

(UAL) told corporations with which it has air travel contracts that it will pay service credit if it fails to meet the pledge, which includes all international and domestic flights. “We think there’s a slim-to-none chance we’re going to pay,” (UAL) Vice Chairman & Chief Revenue Officer, Jim Compton told reporters.

Compton said (UAL) has made operational reliability a major priority in 2015 and the airline “is really making significant traction.” He added, “We actually see really good operational performance this year, particularly in the last four months.”

(UAL), ranked fifth among USA airlines in on-time arrivals in September, the most recent month for which data is available, according to the USA Department of Transportation. That was an improvement over its 9th-place ranking in September 2014. (UAL)’s September 2015 on-time arrival rate of 86.2% placed it ahead of (AAL) but behind (DAL), which topped USA airlines with a 90.5% on-time arrival rate for the month.

“We’ve made a global commitment,” Compton said. “(UAL), both in completion and arrival performance, will not be beat by (DAL) and (AAL) [in 2016].”

News Item A-3: United Airlines (UAL) and Lufthansa (DLH) plan to enhance their cooperation to include freight operations by United Cargo and Lufthansa Cargo (LUB) on routes between the USA and Europe.

The parties are discussing a wide variety of possibilities to create a seamless network for the shipping industry, including an alignment of information technology (IT) services and warehouse facilities.

The cargo cooperation, which is expected to create a more efficient and comprehensive transatlantic cargo network, is subject to finalization of the commercial arrangement and compliance with existing European Union (EU) and USA regulations and necessary government approvals.

“Competition, especially for European cargo carriers, has increased. But the North Atlantic still remains a very good market for us,” (LUB) (CFO), Martin Schmitt said recently.

The first worldwide cargo joint venture (JV) began in December 2014 by German Lufthansa Cargo (LUB) and Japan-based (ANA) Cargo. “This (JV) is working very well, but we have to increase the volume [of transported cargo],” Schmitt said.

The (ANA) Cargo agreement includes belly cargo capacities from Austrian Airlines (AUL) and Lufthansa Passenger airlines (DLH). It also includes (ANA) passenger flights to Germany, Austria - Vienna, and Lufthansa passenger (DLH) and Lufthansa Cargo (LUB) Frankfurt - Tokyo Narita flights.

News Item A-4: "United (UAL) Acting (CEO): ‘We’re Not Paralyzed’" by executive uncertainty by (ATW) Aaron Karp, December 10, 2015.

Citing significant improvements in operational performance, United Airlines (UAL)’s acting (CEO) said the company is successfully navigating the last few months’ rapid turnover in the (CEO)'s office. “We’re not a company standing still. We’re not paralyzed,” acting (CEO) Brett Hart, who became the third person to occupy (UAL)’s top job in less than two months, when he assumed his current duties in October, said. (UAL) also saw (CFO), John Rainey leave in August to become (CFO) of PayPal.

Hart said Oscar Munoz, who suffered a heart attack in October and went on medical leave just seven weeks after being named to replace Jeff Smisek as (UAL)’s (CEO), remains on track to return to the (CEO)’s job in the 2016 first quarter. “Oscar is a very important ingredient to this company’s overall success,” Hart said, explaining that Munoz “was with us for long enough to give us his perspective,” which was that (UAL) needed a renewed focus on customer service and employee relations.

Hart said Chicago-based (UAL) had “three of the best operational performance months in the history of the company” September - November. “We certainly didn’t go into this year expecting to deal with that level of uncertainty” in the executive suite, Hart conceded, but added, “You’d be hard pressed to find where we have come up short. I don’t think you see evidence of disarray.”

In Munoz’s absence, Hart said (UAL) is moving forward on all initiatives except one: filling the (CFO) position, which longtime (UAL) executive, Gerald Laderman is currently holding on an acting basis. Hart said the (CFO) search is on hold until Munoz returns. “The (CFO) ought to be selected by the sitting (CEO),” he explained, adding that the role is expected to be filled on a permanent basis “not too long after Oscar returns.”

Hart said there is “a great deal of clarity” among (UAL)’s executives on what to do until Munoz returns, but didn’t rule out changes in roles after Munoz resumes his duties. The current setup “will work until Oscar gets back,” he said. “What Oscar deserves at that point in time, is to determine what the organization should look like.”

Hart said he expects to return to being (UAL)’s General Counsel, when Munoz gets back, but added, “I serve at the pleasure of the (CEO).”

News Item A-5: Mesa Airlines and United Airlines (UAL) have expanded their agreement to operate three additional Embraer EMB-175 aircraft, bringing the total number of United Express aircraft operated by Mesa to 68. In October, the company announced an agreement for the addition of 15 new aircraft scheduled for delivery in 2016, which has now increased to 18. Mesa currently operates 30 EMB-175 aircraft and 20 Bombardier CRJ700 aircraft under the United Express brand.

News Item A-6: "Cuba & USA Reach Historic Air Agreement to Restart Scheduled Flights," by (ATW) Editor, Karen Walker, December 16, 2015.

Cuba and the USA have reached a bilateral arrangement to establish scheduled air services between the two countries, the USA State Department said. American Airlines (AAL), United Airlines (UAL) and JetBlue Airways (JBL) were among the first USA carriers to say they will seek approval to begin scheduled services as soon as possible.

The agreement, reached late December 16, means that charter operations can continue between the USA and Cuba and scheduled services can begin, although no timeline was given. The opening up of scheduled services is expected to be phased in slowly to allow Cuba to build the infrastructure that will be needed to accommodate the extra flights and passengers and to ensure Cubana’s future in the new aviation environment.

USA law will still prohibit tourist travel to Cuba by American citizens, but State said that “a stronger civil aviation relationship will facilitate growth in authorized travel between our two countries, a critical component of the President’s policy toward Cuba.”

(AAL) Chairman & (CEO), Doug Parker issued a statement welcoming the agreement. “Today’s announcement is great news for our customers as it brings us one step closer to connecting the USA and Cuba with scheduled air service,” he said. “We look forward to establishing scheduled service to Cuba in 2016, from Miami and other (AAL) hubs.”

(AAL) said it expects to submit a USA - Cuba service proposal to the Department of Transportation and hopes for timely approval of its proposal to enable (AAL) to introduce scheduled service as soon as possible in 2016.

(UAL) described the agreement as “historic” and said it looked forward to offering service between our global gateways and Cuba “as soon as we have approval to do so.”

“We hope the next dot on our Caribbean route map will be Havana, and possibly even other destinations in Cuba,” JetBlue (JBL) Senior VP Airline Planning, Scott Laurence said. “Cuba is the perfect addition to the (JBL) network.” (JBL) said it is “eager” to offer scheduled service to Cuba.

The bilateral is a major step forward in the resumption of normal relations between Cuba and the USA, a move that began a year ago with an announcement by USA President, Barack Obama of policy changes and the lifting of some travel restrictions to Cuba by USA citizens. Since then, the USA has reopened its embassy in Havana, but little else has changed.

Scheduled commercial airline services have been suspended for decades, since relations between the two countries broke down during the Cold War era. But that does not mean there have been no USA commercial flights to Cuba. Charter flights abound and are a particularly important connector, particularly from Florida, where many Cuban Americans reside. In December, (AAL) launched a regular charter from Los Angeles to Havana. USA citizen travel to Cuba is said by USA officials to be up by some +60% in 2015 over 2014, with more than >100,000 Americans visiting the country between January and September.

There is huge potential for growth in Cuba’s aviation and tourism markets, but also many constraints, primarily in ground and airport infrastructure, and in Cuba’s concerns to protect its only major airline, Cubana (CUB), which has just 26 aircraft, most of them Russian. (CUB), in its present form, would easily be outweighed by the USA carriers that are eager to start service to Cuba, including (AAL), (JBL) and (UAL).

The new bilateral is therefore expected to be phased in slowly. The airline is merging with regional carrier Aero Caribbean, which has a fleet of four ATR72s and three ATR42s and which operates domestic flights as well as services to some other Caribbean islands, including the Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, and Haiti. Cubana (CUB) is restricted to owning aircraft with no more than >10% USA-made content; essentially compelling it to use Russian-made Antonov AN-24s, Ilushin IL-96s and Tupolev TU-204s, although it does also lease four A320s from Avion Express, using those aircraft for Canadian routes.

Speaking informally during a recent dinner in Havana to mark the 70th anniversary of (IATA) (which was created in the Cuban capital) Cuba’s Head of Civil Aviation, Mayda Molina Martinez, said that any new air agreement with the USA would be phased in slowly and in such a way that would allow (CUB) to grow and adapt to the USA market.

Cuba’s air traffic management system is well positioned to handle the anticipated increases in commercial airliner movements under a more open aviation agreement. Cuban aviation authorities already liaise with the (FAA) on Air Traffic Control (ATC) issues and are recognized as being expert and efficient. In addition to the large number of USA charter flights that Cuba’s (ATC) system handles, the island nation manages well more than 70 over-flights a day.

The pain points will be on the ground, in airport terminal infrastructure and air side. Cuba has 10 international and 15 domestic airports. While the international airports are equipped with long runways, much development work will be necessary if Cuba’s airports, especially Havana, are to manage large increases in aircraft and passenger traffic. New technology will be necessary air side and on the terminal side, and there will be a need for far more automation. Self-serve check-in kiosks are non-existent and the checked baggage delivery system from plane to carousel can be hours-long.

“We have offered the government our assistance and to send people here to make a plan for what needs to be done,” (IATA) (DG), (CEO) Tony Tyler said in Havana. “We want to avoid mistakes that others have made, when they build too much, too quickly. We can help them draw up a plan so that the right infrastructure is in the right place at the right time.”

(IATA) announced in November plans to start operating a Billing & Settlement Plan (BSP) banking system in Cuba in 2016, helping to facilitate ticket transactions between airlines and travel agents.
The (BSP) system would be an important step in the gradual opening up of Cuba’s travel and tourism business, as relations between Cuba and the USA thaw. (IATA)’s (BSP) system is a critical enabler for airlines, facilitating financial transactions through travel agents via a standardized agreement and settlement mechanism. Cuba has four accredited agents with over >100 branches across the country, but no (BSP) system.

News Item A-7: Baggage fees revenues for USA airlines in (3Q) 2015 rose +6.2% year-over-year, to $1.02 billion, according to the USA Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). It is the first time third-quarter baggage fee revenues have surpassed the $1 billion threshold.

In contrast, reservation cancellation/change fees revenues for the 11 major USA reporting airlines plus two other carriers (Sun Country Airlines (SCA) and Island Air Hawaii) were down -0.4% year-over-year (YOY), to $755.2 million.

In figures released December 15 by the (BTS), a USA Department of Transportation agency, American Airlines (AAL)’s (3Q) revenue figures in both categories reflected the consolidation of its reporting following its merger with US Airways (AMW)/(USA), with extreme (YOY) boosts in revenue: for baggage fees, (AAL)’s revenue grew +88.5% (YOY), while for reservation cancellation/change fees, its revenue grew +51.7% (YOY). Looking more closely, however, if the (3Q) 2014 revenues from both airlines are combined and contrasted to the consolidated (AAL) (3Q) 2015 revenue, the (AAL)'s (YOY) changes are more realistic, with baggage fee revenue rising +3.9% (YOY), and reservation cancellation/change fee revenue falling -2.7% (YOY).

For third-quarter baggage fee revenues, after American Airlines (AAL)’s $292.1 million in revenue, Delta Air Lines (DAL) earned the most, with $236.9 million in revenue, virtually flat with its (3Q) 2014 total. United Airlines (UAL) was next, with $184.7 million in revenue, up +2.2% (YOY).

Four of the five reporting low-cost-carriers (LCCs) showed remarkable jumps in (3Q) 2015 baggage fee revenue. JetBlue Airways (JBL) reported $42.7 million in (3Q) baggage fee revenue, up +86.6% from $22.9 million in (3Q) 2014. Allegiant Air (WJE), Spirit Air Lines (SPR) and Frontier Airlines (FRO) all saw (YOY) baggage fee revenue growth of +25.2%, +23.5% and +22.6%, respectively. Virgin America (VUS)’s (3Q) baggage fee revenue fell -1% (YOY).

Southwest Airlines (SWA) reported a -34.9% (YOY) drop in baggage fee revenue, earning $11.5 million during the September quarter (compared to $17.7 million in (3Q) 2014). (SWA)’s baggage policy allows two checked pieces of baggage per customer. Excess baggage on (SWA) starts at $75 per item one-way.

(DAL) brought in the most revenue for reservation cancellation/change fees during the third quarter with $230.9 million, up +2.1% (YOY). Following (AAL)’s $217 million in revenue, (UAL) reported $202.2 million in revenue, down -4.2% (YOY).

Low Cost Carriers (LCC)s (FRO) and (WJE) both had notable increases in revenue for reservation cancellation/change fees during the quarter. (FRO)’s revenue was up +41.2% (YOY) to $9.3 million, while (WJE)’s was up +31.7% (YOY) to $2.7 million. Minneapolis-based, Sun Country Airlines (SCA) reported reservation cancellation/change fees revenue of $3.8 million during the quarter, over >5 times what the airline earned in (3Q) 2014.

News Item A-8: "A United Airlines CSeries Order Could Be Breakthrough Bombardier Needs" by (ATW) Aaron Karp in AirKarp Blog, December 21, 2015.

United Airlines (UAL) is one step closer to placing an order for new small narrow body aircraft, after a key union committee voted on December 22 to approve a proposed two-year contract extension.

Bombardier (BMB) executives were rightly exuberant over Transport Canada’s certification of the CS100, a significant milestone not just for the CSeries program but for Canadian aerospace. The performance metrics Bombardier is reporting from CSeries flight testing are impressive, but to make genuine progress on the CSeries program, Bombardier (BMB) needs a big order.

“When I’m sitting across from a [potential airline] customer, I now have a certified aircraft,” Bombardier Commercial Aircraft President & (CEO), Fred Cromer said following certification, adding that the CSeries is “starting to resonate” with airlines. “We will turn that interest into sales,” he said.

CSeries sales are stuck at 243 firm orders, and (BMB) is in desperate need of a splashy order for its foray into the narrow body airliner sector.

United Airlines (UAL) presents a major opportunity. (UAL) has signaled it could soon place an order for as many as 50 aircraft in the 100-seat size range. Some have suggested that (UAL) could go with an Airbus A319neo or a Boeing 737 MAX 7. (UAL) executives say they’re exploring all options, but the impression I get is that those aircraft are too large for what (UAL) is looking for.

(UAL) wants to become “more dependent on mainline [flying] and less dependent on [contracted] regional [flying]” in its domestic network, Vice Chairman & Chief Revenue Officer, Jim Compton said when I visited (UAL)’s headquarters earlier this month, citing, among other issues, USA regional carriers’ problems hiring new pilots (FC). “There are [domestic (UAL)] markets where a 100-seat aircraft would fit very well,” Compton said.

(UAL)’s most logical options are the CS100 and the Embraer EMB-190-E2. On the plus side for Embraer (EMB): (UAL) really likes the way the 76-seat EMB-175 is performing in its network. In fact, according to (UAL) VP Network Planning, Brian Znotins, the EMB-175 has a higher level of passenger satisfaction than (UAL)’s 737 and A320 mainline domestic aircraft.

(UAL) acting (CEO), Brett Hart told me, “The EMB-175 has been a terrific aircraft for us. It provides a very good experience for our customers. We recognize that. We would expect that, if we went to a 100-seat aircraft, we would get that level of satisfaction.”

The EMB-190-E2 and CSeries are both powered exclusively by Pratt & Whitney (PRW) geared turbofan (GTF) engines, so no advantage there for either aircraft. The CSeries is a bit larger. Delta Air Lines (DAL) plans to configure the EMB-190s it is putting in its mainline fleet with 98 seats and (UAL)’s configuration would probably be similar. With the CSeries, it could likely seat 110 passengers.

Obviously, price will be a huge issue in this decision. (UAL) has a lot of leverage. An order from a major USA airline for as many as 50 CS100s or EMB-190-E2s to place into mainline service would be a significant win for Bombardier (BMB) or Embraer (EMB).

This may turn into a limbo contest: How low will they go? Steven Udvar-Hazy has been publicly advising Bombardier (BMB) for some time to do whatever is necessary from a pricing standpoint to secure a signature order for the CSeries (would Bombardier (BMB) be willing to essentially give the aircraft to (UAL)?

One caveat: Could Boeing (TBC) or Airbus (EDS), in order to block Bombardier (BMB) from breaking through with (UAL), be willing to offer a sweet deal on 737 MAX 7s or A319neos? I mentioned those aircraft are larger than what (UAL) is looking for, but if the price is right (and if those aircraft are coupled with other Boeing (TBC) or Airbus (EDS) aircraft) could that be sufficient to scuttle a United (UAL) - Bombardier (BMB) CSeries deal?

January 2016: News Item A-1: "United (UAL) Earns $4.5 billion 2015 Net Profit; Munoz Feels ‘Great’" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, January 21, 2016.

United Airlines (UAL) parent, United Continental Holdings posted a 2015 net profit of +$4.5 billion, excluding special items, that included a $3.1 billion non-cash tax valuation benefit. Including special items, (UAL) officially reported full-year net income of +$7.3 billion.

The 2015 earnings results were a significant improvement over (UAL)’s $1.13 billion net profit in 2014, and indicate that (UAL)’s (and the USA airline industry’s) financial momentum remains robust.

(UAL) President & (CEO), Oscar Munoz, who has been on medical leave since suffering a heart attack in October, and who underwent heart transplant surgery on January 6, participated in (UAL)’s January 21 earnings conference call with analysts and reporters, and indicated he is nearing a full-time return to work. “I’m certainly darned glad to be here,” Munoz said. “I feel great [and] certainly will be back full time by the end of the first quarter.”

(UAL)’s 2015 operating revenue was $37.86 billion, down -2.7% year-over-year, while expenses decreased -10.5% to $32.7 billion. Operating profit was +$5.17 billion, well more than double the operating income of +$2.37 billion in 2014.

Acting (CEO), Brett Hart said (UAL)’s operational performance continues to make significant strides, noting that in 2015 (UAL) had its best full-year on-time performance and flight completion factor since its 2010 merger with Continental Airlines (CAL).

(UAL)’s 2015 system traffic rose +1.5% year-over-year to 208.61 billion (RPM)s on a +1.6% increase in capacity to 250 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 83.4% LF, down -0.2 point. Passenger yield fell -4.3% to 15.72 cents.

Regarding competition with ultra-low cost carriers (ULCCs), (UAL) Vice Chairman & Chief Revenue Officer, Jim Compton said (UAL) will “introduce an entry-level fare that will appeal to the purely price-driven customer” in the second half of 2016.

News Item A-2: "United (UAL) to Launch First Direct USA - Singapore Flights Since 2013" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, January 29, 2016.

United Airlines (UAL) plans to revive a direct link between the USA and Singapore when it launches San Francisco - Singapore Boeing 787-9 flights on June 1.

The daily service, subject to regulatory approval, will be the first direct route flown by an airline between any USA city and Singapore since Singapore Airlines (SIA) dropped its flights from Singapore to Newark and Los Angeles in 2013, when it retired its Airbus A340-500 fleet.

United (UAL) will get a head start on Singapore Airlines (SIA)’s planned relaunch of direct flights between Singapore and the USA in 2018 when it begins taking delivery of A350-900ULRs.

At 7,339.4 nautical miles, (UAL)’s San Francisco - Singapore flight will become the longest flight operated by a 787 and the longest flight operated by a USA airline.

News Item A-3: United Airlines (UAL) (CEO), Oscar Munoz underwent a heart transplant operation January 6 and is “recovering well,” according to a company statement.

The statement said Munoz “is still expected to return from his previously announced medical leave at the end of the first quarter or the beginning of the second quarter of 2016. Brett Hart will continue as the acting (CEO) until Munoz’s return.”

Northwestern Medicine Heart Transplant, Program Director, Duc Pham, MD, said the surgical team “was quite pleased with how the procedure went. The patient’s early course has been excellent, and the transplanted heart is functioning very well. We are very optimistic about his prospects for a complete recovery.”

Northwestern Medicine Chief of Cardiac Surgery, Patrick McCarthy said, “Given Mr Munoz’s excellent physical condition and the rapid pace of his recovery prior to the transplant, we expect a quick recovery and a return to his duties as (CEO).”

(UAL) non-executive board of directors Chairman, Henry Meyer said, “We wish Oscar well as he progresses on his road to recovery and we look forward to his expected return. We take comfort in the prognosis for Oscar’s full recovery, based both on the report from his medical team and what we have learned about transplants from our own consulting cardiologist. We will, of course, be monitoring Oscar’s progress closely and both his and the board’s focus will be on the best interests of our shareholders. In the meantime, the board is working closely with Brett and the full executive team to continue delivering on our commitments to customers and employees.”

Hart said, “I want to assure all of our customers, employees and partners that as Oscar completes his recovery, we remain focused on leading the company forward and implementing Oscar’s strategic vision.”

Munoz was stricken by a heart attack on October 15 and has since been on medical leave.

News Item A-4: "United (UAL) (CEO), Munoz Released from Hospital Following Heart Transplant" by (ATW) Linda Blachly, January 15, 2016.

(UAL) (CEO), Oscar Munoz has been released from the hospital following heart transplant surgery on January 6. In a letter to employees released by (UAL), Munoz said he feels “as strong as ever. My doctors have been impressed with my progress and foresee a quick recovery. I feel great, and it won’t be long before we are working side by side again. Until that time, I expect to participate in key meetings and be involved in strategic planning.”

Munoz added, “As I thought about my return, I gave careful consideration to what greater things we can do together, and that has spurred my recovery. We’ve made a lot of positive changes these past few months thanks to your efforts. Take pride in these accomplishments and our success. Remember, even better days lie ahead if we stay focused on consistently earning our customers’ trust. Keep up the great work, and I look forward to seeing you soon.”

Munoz was stricken by a heart attack on October 15, 2015, and has since been on medical leave. (UAL) previously announced Munoz is expected to return at the end of the first quarter or the beginning of the second quarter of 2016. “Brett Hart will continue as the acting (CEO) until Munoz’s return,” (UAL) said in an earlier statement.

"Welcome Home Mr Munoz!" by Karen Walker in (ATW) Editor's Blog, January 15, 2016.

What a great photo posted by (UAL) of (CEO), Oscar Munoz with his doctors as he prepared to return home following a heart transplant.

Mr Munoz is all smiles, looks great and says in an open letter that he feels “as strong as ever” and promises it won’t be long before he’s back in the office.

A very good note to begin 2016. From all I’m hearing, Mr Munoz made an excellent start at (UAL), focused on the right things that need prioritizing, and brought a welcome warmth to the company’s leadership.

I have not always been kind about (UAL)’s customer service standards in this blog, and there’s no doubt that there is much yet to be done to bring this airline up to same levels of not just its international competitors, but increasingly its USA rivals. It stuns me that an airline can be a founding member of the Star (SAL) Alliance, yet not take note of the huge differences between its long-haul cabins and on board service and those of Star (SAL) partners like Air New Zealand (ANZ), (ANA), and Singapore Airlines (SIA). I mean, eight-abreast in business (C) class on a 777?

However, I am going to note here that I’ve just done a round trip from Washington to Geneva (on a 767 direct outbound and on a 777 via Heathrow (LHR) on the return. The less said about the airplane and cabins, the better. BUT, on both flights the cabin crew (CA) was outstanding; friendly, engaged, happy. On the return flight, we had a two-hour delay, sitting in the plane but still at the gate. This was caused by a software glitch with the pilots (FC)’s iPad electronic flight bags (EFB). However, the (FC) chatted with passengers and brought around snacks and drinks, and genuinely worked hard to keep everyone relaxed.

So I hope this is a sign of happier employees under their new leadership. And that this is the beginning of better days to come for (UAL). And, most of all, we wish all the very best to Mr Munoz as he completes his recovery. We look forward to his return.

News Item A-5: (UAL) pilots (FC) have voted to ratify a two-year extension to their labor agreement that pushes the contract through January 31, 2019.

The ratification is a big win for (UAL), which late last year negotiated an amended collective bargaining agreement with its flight deck crew, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), even though the existing contract didn’t expire until January 31, 2017.

(ALPA)’s United Master Executive Council voted to approve the new deal just before Christmas and sent it to rank-and-file pilots (FC) for a ratification vote. (ALPA) said in January 22 that 90.9% of the 10,569 pilots (FC) eligible to vote participated, with 79% casting ballots in favor of the extended, amended contract.

(ALPA) said that the accord “provides increases in compensation putting (UAL) pilots (FC) at the top of the industry, restores pay and vacation value to previously furloughed pilots (FC), and enhances the scheduling rules for long-haul flights.”

(UAL) President & (CEO), Oscar Munoz added, “This extension provides further momentum for (UAL) as we work together with the shared purpose of making (UAL) the best airline for our employees and customers.” (UAL) noted the labor deal provides “an extended period of stability for the company and the pilots (FC).”

The ratification came a day after (UAL) reported a +$4.5 billion net profit, excluding special items, for the full-year 2015. The deal also comes as (UAL) moves to shift a portion of its domestic capacity from contracted regional flying to mainline flying; (UAL) is ordering 40 new Boeing 737-700s toward that purpose.

News Item A-6: "United (UAL) to Order 40 Boeing 737-700s to Replace Regional Capacity" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, January 21, 2016.

United Airlines (UAL) said it has reached an agreement to acquire 40 new Boeing 737-700s, which will be used to replace a portion of (UAL)’s domestic capacity now being operated under contract by regional airlines.

The planned order appeared to be a serious blow for Bombardier (BMB), which had hoped (UAL) would choose the CSeries for its smaller, domestic narrow body needs. (UAL) executives have said they want to become less reliant on regional carriers for domestic flying and were looking at airplanes in the 100-seat size range. The 737-700 can fit about 118 seats in the configuration (UAL) will likely use, which will include domestic first-class (F) and premium-economy (PY) seats.

However, (UAL) (CFO), Gerry Laderman left the door open for more mainline airplane orders to replace regional capacity, telling analysts that (UAL) is “continuing to pursue additional airplanes.”

The new 737-700s will begin entering (UAL)’s fleet in mid-2017. “These airplanes will replace a portion of the capacity currently operated by (UAL)'s regional partners, as the company expects to reduce by more than half the number of 50-seat airplanes its fleet by 2019,” (UAL) said.

February 2016: News Item A-1: "Free Snacks Now Back at All 3 Big USA Airlines, Even in Coach" by Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY, February 1, 2016.

Enjoy your stroopwafels, United (UAL) customers. And your rice crackers and mini pretzel sticks.

Free snacks returned to the economy (Y) cabin of (UAL)'s flights February 1. And, soon, free snacks will be back for (AAL)'s coach (C) class customers, too.

(AAL), the world's biggest carrier, announced February 1 that it will restore complimentary snacks and add more free in-flight entertainment options in the coach (C) class cabin.

The moves by (UAL) and (AAL) - - (Delta never removed its complimentary snacks) - - come as the airline industry has found stable financial footing after a tumultuous run from 2001 into the early 2010s. USA carriers lost money by the billions last decade. But a wave of consolidation subsequently swept over the industry, producing several mega-mergers that has left the USA with four giant airlines that control about 80% of the passenger traffic here.

Some consumer advocates have bemoaned that development, arguing that fewer airlines means less competition. On the flipside, USA airlines are now reporting record profits. And they've begun to use at least some of those profits to improve passengers' flying experiences. "What has changed is that the airlines have been able to fix our core business and be able to reinvest in our customers," Fernand Fernandez, American's VP Global Marketing, said to The Associated Press (AP).

The free snacks in coach (C) class may not mark a sea-change in how airlines operate, but it does signal competition among the biggest carriers. And it may be a shot across the bow to an emerging breed of "ultra" low-cost carriers (ULCC)s that are increasingly expanding at the hubs of major airlines like (AAL), (DAL) and (UAL).

Those (ULCC) discount carriers (Spirit (SPR) & Frontier (FRO) are the biggest in the USA) make their mark by offering rock-bottom fares, but charge extra for almost everything else. Even seat reservations are not free. "We know that we have customers who select our airline based on price and we're really excited to offer them a product that is superior to choosing a (ULCC)," Fernandez said to (AP).

It also allows (AAL) and (UAL) to keep up with (DAL), said Henry Harteveldt, founder of travel consultancy, the Atmosphere Research Group. Even Southwest Airlines (SWA), which offers only coach (C) class seats, has continued to offer basic complimentary snacks.

"These are token investments in the passenger experience that will not cost airlines a lot of money but are small ways to make passengers a little bit happier," Harteveld added to the (AP). "(AAL) and (UAL) realized: We don't let other airlines have an advantage on price, - - why let them have one on pretzels."

As for (AAL), its free snacks will be available this month on its transcontinental flights connecting New York (JFK) to both Los Angeles and San Francisco. (AAL) said all other domestic flights will have "an assortment of complimentary snacks . . . by April."

"We want customers to choose (AAL) every time they fly," (AAL)'s Fernandez said in a statement announcing the change. "We are giving our customer more choices to enhance their personal flying experience by offering new service and new entertainment options in all cabins."

(AAL)'s customers on flights departing prior to 9:45 am local time will receive Biscoff cookies. Passengers on later flights will get either Biscoff cookies or pretzels. (AAL)'s heartier "Food for Sale" items will continue to be sold on its flights.

Starting in May, however, (AAL)'s coach (C) class customers will get complimentary meal service on all flights between Hawaii and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW). (DFW) is (AAL)'s busiest hub.

Beyond snacks, (AAL) said it will expand its selection of free in-flight entertainment choices on domestic flights with in-seat entertainment.

Meanwhile, at (UAL), the free coach (C) class snacks started February 1. (UAL), which first announced the move in December, even went so far as to coin a "#GetTheStroop" hashtag on social media to promote its new breakfast offering.

(U8AL)'s free snacks will be offered on all of (UAL)'s flights in North America, the Caribbean and between Honolulu and Guam that did not already have a complimentary meal or snack option in coach (C) class. The move comes as new (UAL) (CEO), Oscar Munoz has tried to put customer service in the spotlight at (UAL), acknowledging earlier this fall that "the implementation of the (UAL) and Continental (CAL) merger has been rocky for customers and employees."

(UAL) said coach (C) class customers on flights that depart before 9:45 am will receive a morning stroopwafel, which (UAL) describes as "a Dutch, caramel-filled waffle that pairs perfectly with coffee or tea."

For flights that depart after 9:45 am, economy (Y) customers will get "packaged savory snacks, such as an Asian-style snack mix of rice crackers, sesame sticks and wasabi peas or a zesty-ranch mix of mini pretzel sticks, Cajun corn sticks and ranch soy nuts."

The free snacks will be offered in tandem with (UAL)'s for-pay "Choice Menu" items. Those items range from small snacks like Chex Mex (US$3.99) and Pringles (US$3.99) to a more robust breakfast, lunch and dinner options that cost up to US$9.99. The availability of the Choice Menu options varies by flight.

(UAL)'s Latin America flights that already had free meals in coach will not receive the new snacks, since (UAL) will retain its current complimentary offerings in those markets.

News Item A-2: "United Goes Big at National" by Airline Business, February 17, 2016.

United (UAL) will begin flying a 757-300 to Ronald Reagan Washington National airport in March. (UAL) will operate the 213-seat 757-300 daily from Washington National to its Denver hub on March 3, and its San Francisco hub on March 23.

(UAL) replaces a 150-seat Airbus A320 and a 166-seat Boeing 737-800 on the Denver route and a 737-800 on the San Francisco route. It means United (UAL) will have the largest regularly scheduled airplane at the airport.

News Item A-3: "United, Dispatchers Reach Tentative Labor Accord"
by (ATW) Linda Blachly, February 17, 2016.

United Airlines (UAL) and its dispatchers have reached a tentative agreement on a contract extension. (UAL)’s 420 dispatchers are represented by the Professional Airline Flight Control Association (PAFCA).

According to (UAL), the tentative agreement extends the current contract through the end of 2021 and delivers important improvements.
“This is an important milestone for (UAL) and for our dispatchers," (UAL) President & (CEO), Oscar Munoz said. “Our dispatchers do a superb job of keeping our passengers and crews safe and keeping our operations reliable, and I’m glad we were able to reach this tentative agreement within a short period of negotiations. I want to thank all of the company and union negotiators for working side-by-side to reach this positive outcome.”

The agreement is subject to ratification by (UAL)’s dispatchers.

News Item A-4: United Airlines (UAL) appointed James Olson as Senior VP Corporate Communications, effective February 1. Olson is a 25-year-veteran of public relations and employee engagement at companies that include Starbucks, US Airways (USA) and Nissan.

March 2016: News Item A-1: "USA Carriers File Applications to Start Scheduled Flights to Cuba" by (ATW) Editor Karen Walker, March 2, 2016.

All four USA major carriers and at least three independents filed applications with the USA government March 2, seeking approval to provide non-stop services to Cuba.

The flood of filings, submitted March 2, come after the USA and Cuba announced an agreement in February to resume scheduled commercial air service. Services are expected to begin late summer or early fall this year, with an initial total of 20 daily round-trip flights being allocated to USA airlines between the USA and Havana and 10 daily round-trip flights to nine other Cuban cities.

Those slots will be hard fought over as the consolidated “big four”:— American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL), United Airlines (UAL) and Southwest Airlines (SWA)) and independents Alaska Airlines (ASA), JetBlue Airways (JBL) and Silver Airways rushed to get their applications in. Ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC) Spirit Airlines (SPR), based in Florida, has also said it said it plans to apply.

(AAL) is requesting 10 daily frequencies to Havana from its Miami hub plus additional service to Havana from Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, and Chicago. (AAL)’s proposal also includes daily service between Miami and five other Cuban cities.

To Havana, (AAL) is proposing 10 daily flights from Miami, one daily from Charlotte and (DFW), and one weekly from (LAX) and Chicago. (AAL) also wants to fly 2x-daily services out of Miami to Santa Clara, Holguin, and Varadero; and daily service to Camaguey and Cienfuegos.

Delta (DAL) wants to fly daily flights to Havana from Atlanta, New York (JFK), Miami, and Orlando, using Boeing 757-200s out of its Atlanta and (JFK) hubs and Boeing 737-800s on the Miami and Orlando routes.

United (UAL)'s proposal seeks 11 roundtrip flights per week to Havana that includes daily service from New York, plus one additional Saturday flight (8x-weekly flights), along with a Saturday-only flight from Houston George Bush Intercontinental, Washington Dulles and Chicago O'Hare (3x-weekly flights). (UAL) would use 737-800s.

Southwest (SWA) wants to serve Havana from three Florida airports: (Fort Lauderdale, Tampa Bay, and Orlando) as well as fly to Varadero and Santa Clara from Fort Lauderdale. (SWA) is an all-737 operator.

New York-based, JetBlue (JBL) would put Airbus A320s and A321s on 15 daily frequencies connecting four Cuba cities with six cities. These include 2x-daily, New York (JFK) - Havana; 4x-daily, Fort Lauderdale - Havana; 1x-daily, Fort Lauderdale - Camaguey; 1x-daily, Fort Lauderdale - Holguiìn; 1x-daily, Fort Lauderdale - Santa Clara; 2x-daily, Orlando - Havana; 2x-daily, Tampa - Havana; 1x-daily, Newark - Havana; and 1x-daily, Boston - Havana.

JetBlue (JBL) said it anticipates a start date of September 8, or within <100 days after receipt of all necessary approvals, whichever is earlier.

Alaska Airlines (ASA) (seemingly the only USA carrier with a concept of Cuba’s still limited and fragile infrastructure) has placed a relatively modest request to fly 2x-daily nonstop flights from Los Angeles to Havana operating 737-900ERs.

Silver Airways, a small regional carrier that operates Saab 340B turboprops, is seeking approval to serve 10 Cuban destinations from the five Florida cities of Key West, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, and Fort Myers/Naples.

Although the restoration of an air bilateral with Cuba is widely welcomed, general USA tourist travel to Cuba is still not allowed. Initially, at least, the new arrangement will be aimed at facilitating visits by travelers who fall under one of the 12 categories authorized by the USA Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

However, USA President, Barack Obama is scheduled to make an historic visit to Cuba March 21 - 22 (the first sitting USA President to visit the Caribbean island in 88 years) as part of efforts to normalize diplomatic relations.

(IATA) and others forecast that USA tourism to Cuba will see huge growth.

News Item A-2: "Cuba is a Rare, Hot-growth Opportunity for USA Airlines" by Karen Walker in (ATW) Editor's Blog, March 3, 2016.

Large and significant as it is, the USA domestic air transport market is essentially a mature market, growing at about +4 to +5% annually. Relative to regions like China, which is seeing domestic travel increase at about +10% year over year, or India, that is seeing an astonishing +20% clip, the USA market has limited growth opportunities.

That helps to explain the mass rush to grab available frequencies to Cuba for scheduled flights that will become available later this year under the new USA - Cuba air bilateral.

American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL), Southwest Airlines (SWA), United Airlines (UAL), Alaska Airlines (ASA), JetBlue Airways (JBL), Silver Airways, Spirit Airlines (SPR), and Frontier Airlines (FRO) all want to get a slice of what is a rare new growth market right on America’s doorstep. Cuba isn’t a USA domestic destination, of course, but much of the Caribbean is regarded as “almost” domestic (especially from Florida and east coast cities (and Puerto Rico is a USA territory)) in terms of appeal and ease of access for American tourists.

What each of these airlines wants to establish is a foot in the door of this new market, then build on it as USA - Cuban diplomatic relations thaw and normalize. Here’s an opportunity to get in first on a near-USA market that is expected to see double-digit air traffic growth, akin to the emerging and much further afield markets like China and India.

India, of course, is a much tougher market for USA airlines to break into because the major Gulf carriers got ahead of that game. China, also, is a huge future market (but Chinese carriers are also growing fast, in numbers, quality, aircraft capacity and ability to compete).

Cuba has only Cubana (CUB), a small airline with very limited resources and which has been severely restricted by Havana in the types and origin of aircraft and components it can operate.

In the application filings submitted this week to the USA Department of Transportation, (AAL) made the biggest grab, seeking more than half of the 20 daily round trips that are expected to be made available to Havana, as well as some of the 10 daily round trips dispersed among Cuba’s other nine airports. (AAL)’s interest is natural, given its Miami hub, but it seems unlikely that the (DOT) will extend a large hand to the largest of the big four consolidated airlines. That probably explains why (AAL) has hedged its bets and also submitted applications for Cuban cities like Santa Clara, Holguin, and Varadero, which the other airlines are far less interested in. Havana is the prize.

What will be interesting to see is whether the (DOT) divvies this year’s flight allocations between a couple of the “big four,” enabling them to offer meaningful frequencies and connections from the get-go, or whether it will disperse them more widely so that independents like JetBlue (JBL) (which operates charters to Cuba), Alaska (ASA), or even small turboprop regional, Silver can get a foothold and keep the market competitive. My guess is the latter.

The timing of this opportunity is also interesting. A few short years ago, Southwest (SWA) would not have been a player, but since its acquisition merger with AirTran (CQT), it has become an international airline with a significant Caribbean market it wants to grow. Will the (DOT) regard Southwest (SWA) as a low-cost competitor in its decision-making, or just another one of the big four that dominates 80% of the USA domestic market and warrants as much control as (AAL), (DAL), and (UAL)?

But remember, the real growth trajectory won’t occur until the USA lifts its prohibition on regular American tourists who can visit Cuba, just as they do in their millions to the Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Mexico and the rest of the Caribbean. That’s the historic landmark that these USA airlines want to get ahead of and why these initial flight allocations are so important. It’s a critical moment for a USA airline to get in on the ground as a new market opens; and that’s a rare opportunity.

News Item A-3: "United Announces 5th New Route from Asia/Pacific Gateway: San Francisco - Hangzhou, China" by China Aviation Daily, March 08, 2016.

United Airlines (UAL) announced that it will introduce 3x-weekly nonstop flights between its West Coast Asia/Pacific hub at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Hangzhou's Xiaoshan International Airport (HGH) in China, beginning July 13, 2016 (westbound), subject to government approval. (UAL) will use one of the world's most advanced passenger airplanes, the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, to operate the service.

Hangzhou, the capital of China's Zhejiang province, will be the fifth mainland China city that (UAL) serves and the 14th Asia/Pacific destination (UAL) serves from San Francisco. With 30 years of service to China, (UAL) operates more nonstop USA - China flights to more cities in China than any other USA airline, and offers more trans-Pacific flights to more cities from San Francisco than any airline offers at competing hub airports.

"We look forward to welcoming Hangzhou to our global route network using the customer-favorite 787-9 Dreamliner," said Jim Compton, (UAL)'s Vice Chairman & Chief Revenue Officer. "We will offer customers unique nonstop flights between the West Coast and one of China's fastest-growing travel markets. Additionally, customers traveling from China to the USA will find convenient, easy connections at our San Francisco hub to many USA business centers and leisure destinations."

(UAL)'s service between San Francisco and Hangzhou will feature amenities and services designed for Chinese customers, including:

- Mandarin-speaking flight attendants;

- Personalized in-flight entertainment options, including Chinese-language services; and

- A wide selection of in-flight meals and beverages, including Chinese-style cuisine.

"At (UAL), we want to be the airline that our Chinese customers choose first," said Eliza Lin, (UAL)'s Director of Sales for Eastern China. "We are bringing our customers in China and the USA the choice, comfort and convenience they deserve, and our growing trans-Pacific network offers customers more ways to travel between the USA and China."

(UAL)'s service to Hangzhou offers business and leisure customers convenient options for travel to Shanghai and China's central coast. Located approximately 102 miles southwest of Shanghai, customers arriving in Hangzhou can access several options for rail, bus and car travel to Shanghai.

* Flight Schedule

UA 982 will depart San Francisco at 2:15 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and arrive in Hangzhou at 6:10 pm the following day (all times local). Flight time will be 12 hours, 55 minutes westbound. The return flight, UA 983, will depart Hangzhou at 11:30 am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and arrive at San Francisco at 8:25 am the same day (all times local). Flight time will be 11 hours, 55 minutes eastbound.

The Hangzhou - San Francisco flights will be available to book at a later date.

* Convenient Connecting Flights

(UAL) has timed the Hangzhou flights to connect conveniently at San Francisco with an extensive network of service throughout the USA, Canada and Latin America. (UAL) operates more than >260 flights daily from San Francisco to more than >90 destinations throughout North, Central, and South America, plus the Caribbean, including more than >69 served non-stop.

* United (UAL) in China

(UAL) celebrated its 30th anniversary of service to China in February 2016. Today, (UAL) serves Beijing with nonstop flights from Chicago, New York/Newark, San Francisco, and Washington/Dulles; Shanghai with nonstop flights from Chicago, Guam, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, and San Francisco; Chengdu with nonstop flights from San Francisco; and Hong Kong with nonstop flights from Chicago, Guam, Ho Chi Minh City, New York/Newark, San Francisco, and Singapore. (UAL) plans to operate seasonal nonstop service to Xi'an from its San Francisco hub during the period of May 8 to October 27, 2016 (westbound), subject to government approval.

(UAL) is a founding member of the Star (SAL) Alliance, the world's largest and most comprehensive airline alliance, whose other members include Air China (BEJ).

(UAL) and Air China (BEJ) have a bilateral partnership that includes code-sharing on selected routes and provides customers with both carriers additional travel benefits such as airport lounge access and frequent flyer program reciprocity.

* Onboard Products and Services

The Boeing 787-9 airplane operating the new San Francisco - Hangzhou service will feature a total of 252 seats: 48 in (UAL) BusinessFirst (FC) and 204Y in United Economy, including 88PY Economy Plus seats with added legroom and increased personal space.

(UAL) BusinessFirst (FC) offers a superior business-class (C) service. The BusinessFirst (FC) seat reclines 180 degrees into a lie-flat bed and features a personal on-demand entertainment system with a 15" touch-screen monitor. BusinessFirst (FC) amenities include laptop power, (USB) ports, noise-reduction headsets, amenity kits featuring Soho House's Cowshed skin-care products, duvet-style blankets and a multi-course meal with complimentary wines.

(UAL) Economy (Y) offers complimentary food, soft drinks, juices, beer and wine, tea, coffee and in-flight entertainment. Seats feature an adjustable headrest and seat-back monitor delivering a personal on-demand entertainment system.

(UAL) Economy Plus (PY) offers additional legroom and is located near the front of the Economy (Y) cabin. The seats give the added benefit of allowing a swifter exit from the plane upon arrival. The airplane offers satellite-based Wi-Fi and power outlets.

* Boeing 787 Dreamliner

The 787 Dreamliner is revolutionizing the flying experience for (UAL) customers and crews while delivering unprecedented operating efficiency, comfort and lower emissions. Customers have expressed a preference for the 787 versus other aircraft, given its greater comfort with improved lighting, bigger windows, larger overhead bins, lower cabin altitude and enhanced ventilation systems, among other passenger-friendly features.

The use of lightweight composites, together with its modern engines and improved aerodynamic design, allow it to fly farther, faster and more efficiently than similar-sized conventional aircraft. (UAL) currently has 27 787 Dreamliners in its fleet.

News Item A-4: United Airlines (UAL) and Air New Zealand (ANZ) announced a joint venture (JV) revenue-sharing agreement, deepening the partnership between the two Star (SAL) Alliance members. Under the new revenue-sharing agreement, the carriers said they will more closely coordinate sales and marketing in order to offer their mutual customers more travel options between the mainland USA and New Zealand, as well as to other destinations throughout the airlines’ route networks.

The arrangement will begin when (UAL) launches its nonstop service between San Francisco and Auckland on July 1, 2016, subject to government approval. “This joint venture will allow us to work more closely with Air New Zealand (ANZ) to optimize our transpacific schedules and offer more convenient flight choices to our customers in both the USA and New Zealand,” (UAL) Vice Chairman & Chief Revenue Officer, Jim Compton said.

(ANZ) (CEO), Christopher Luxon said, “We know that New Zealand is a popular destination for American leisure travelers. By working more closely with such a strong home market carrier as (UAL) we look forward to welcoming even more American visitors to enjoy our unique Kiwi tourism experience.”

News Item A-5: News Item A-2: Star (SAL) Alliance partners, United Airlines (UAL) and Air China (BEJ) said they have inked a multi-year agreement to extend and expand their strategic partnership.

The airlines said in a joint statement that they are establishing a “joint strategic initiative that will significantly deepen coordination between the two airlines.”

The initiative will include expanding connecting flight opportunities for passengers flying between the USA and China on Chicago-based United (UAL) and Beijing-based Air China (BEJ). The airlines said they will work to create “a more seamless experience for customers when traveling through key gateway airports, such as Beijing and San Francisco.” The carriers said they will also enhance reciprocal benefits for elite frequent flyers and coordinate joint marketing campaigns in the USA and China.

“The new initiative will be led by senior executives from both carriers, who will meet regularly to coordinate new initiative roll outs, promote closer cultural integration between (BEJ) and (UAL), and prepare both companies for future joint opportunities,” the airlines said. “This agreement marks a significant milestone in our long-standing cooperation and further distinguishes (UAL) and (BEJ) as the leading carriers between the USA and China,” (UAL) President & (CEO), Oscar Munoz said.

(UAL) currently serves Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu nonstop from San Francisco (SFO) and plans to add +2 more mainland Chinese destinations from (SFO) this year, subject to government approval: Xi'an on May 8 and Hangzhou on July 13.

News Item A-6: SWISS (CSR) has introduced its Boeing 777-300ER to New York (JFK) Terminal 4. (CSR) will also be flying the 777-300ER primarily on services from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Switzerland, and other European leisure cities in the summer of 2016 in code share with Star (SAL) Alliance member, United Airlines (UAL).

News Item A-7: Lufthansa Systems (LHS) announced that United Airlines (UAL) will use its SchedConnect Information Technology (IT) solution for code share management. This solution will enable (UAL) to optimize its code share management, lower costs and increase revenues.

News Item A-8: "United Airlines Starts Regular (LAX) - (SFO) Biofuel Flights" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, March 11, 2016.

United Airlines (UAL) is starting to use a fuel that is 30% comprised of biofuel on flights from Los Angeles International (LAX) to San Francisco International (SFO).

(UAL) reached an agreement with AltAir Fuels in 2013 to buy biofuel produced using Honeywell (UOP)’s renewable jet fuel processing technology, which converts non-edible animal fats and oils into fuel.

(UAL)lists nine daily mainline flights from (LAX) to (SFO), and Honeywell (UOP) said that 12,500 flights are planned to be powered by a fuel blend of 30% biofuel and 70% petroleum jet fuel. The first flights powered by the fuel blend were scheduled to be operated by (UAL) on March 11.

USA airlines have operated alternative fuel flights before, but this will mark the first time a USA carrier uses an alternative fuel to power scheduled flights on a regular basis. “(UAL)’s commitment to using renewable fuel in everyday service is a significant milestone in the adoption and use of sustainable fuels,” Honeywell (UOP) VP & General Manager, Veronica May said.

(UAL) has a deal in place to buy 5 million gallons of the fuel from AltAir annually. It also has a long-term agreement with Fulcrum BioEnergy enabling it to buy at least 90 million gallons of sustainable jet fuel annually for a minimum of 10 years starting in 2018.

Southwest Airlines (SWA) and FedEx Express (FED) both have agreements with Red Rock Biofuels to purchase fuel produced from woody biomass.

In 2011, Lufthansa (DLH) became the first airline worldwide to use biofuel in daily operations when it operated an Airbus A321 4x-daily on its Hamburg - Frankfurt route for six months with one of the aircraft’s engines running on a 50/50 mix of petroleum fuel and bio-synthetic kerosene.

News Item A-9: "United (CEO) Munoz to Return Full-time March 14" by
(ATW) Aaron Karp, March 7, 2016.

United Airlines (UAL) President & (CEO), Oscar Munoz, who has been on medical leave since suffering a heart attack in October 2015, plans to return to work on a full-time basis on March 14.

(UAL) said that Munoz will “resume all of his duties and responsibilities at that time,” adding, “Munoz has already been participating actively in all major corporate decisions and meeting frequently with employees, shareholders, and other stakeholders during his recovery.”

Munoz underwent a heart transplant in early January, but participated in (UAL)’s full-year 2015 earnings conference call on January 21, saying he was “darned glad to be here” and felt “great.”

(UAL) Executive VP & General Counsel, Brett Hart has been serving as acting (UAL) (CEO) since October 2015.

Munoz, formerly the President & (COO) of rail and intermodal giant, (CSX) Corporation, took over as (UAL)'s President & (CEO) in September, when Jeff Smisek abruptly stepped down from his post leading the airline.

“I am thrilled to return full-time to a job and the employees I love,” Munoz said in a March 6 statement. “Since September, when I became (CEO), our team has been focused on our employees, improving the operation and the customer experience, and the results are starting to show. In fact, over the past several months (UAL) has emerged as a top performer in on-time arrivals and completion factor among our largest industry peers.”

News Item A-10: United Airlines (UAL)’s more than >420 Dispatchers, represented by the Professional Airline Flight Control Association (PAFCA), have voted by a 91% margin to ratify a tentative agreement that will extend their current contract through the end of 2021.

“This contract recognizes the essential role our dispatchers play toward fulfilling (UAL)’s shared purpose, and I thank the negotiating teams from both (PAFCA) and (UAL) for swiftly reaching a deal that works for our company and our employees,” (UAL) President & (CEO), Oscar Munoz said.

News Item A-11: United Continental Holdings has appointed three new Independent Directors to its board of Directors: James Kennedy, former President & (CEO) of T Rowe Price Group; Robert Milton, former Chairman & (CEO) of (ACE) Aviation Holdings; and James Whitehurst, President & (CEO) of Red Hat, Inc. All positions are effective immediately. The board expects to appoint a fourth new Independent Director in the near term.

Expressing deep dissatisfaction with the direction of (UAL), two of (UAL)’s shareholders are nominating a slate of six new directors to the board of parent, United Continental Holdings, most prominently including former Continental Airlines (CAL) (CEO), Gordon Bethune.

News Item A-12: "United Airlines Faces Board Fight over Poor Performance" by Alwyn Scott, Michael Flaherty, "Reuters" March 08, 2016.

Two investment funds with major stakes in United Continental Holdings Inc launched a fight for control on March 8, proposing a slate of directors led by industry legend, Gordon Bethune to shake up the board of the poorly performing airline.

(PAR) Capital Management Inc and Altimeter Capital Management LP, which together own 7.1% of the second-largest USA airline, said its "underqualified, ineffective, complacent and entrenched" board had caused years of "inexcusable company underperformance" and needed an overhaul.

"We believe that our conclusion is shared by many of United (UAL)'s long-suffering stockholders, customers and 80,000-plus dedicated employees," the funds said in a letter to (UAL)'s board.

(UAL) has badly under-performed other USA airline stocks since its 2010 merger with Continental Airlines (CAL). It has suffered from a series of computer problems and poor employee morale, and its on-time performance and profits have lagged its peers.

Bethune is known for leading Continental (CAL) through a dramatic turnaround from 1994 until his retirement in 2004, during which the stock soared.

Bethune said he was asked to help by longtime (UAL) shareholders (PAR) and Altimeter, which lack a track record of starting the kind of proxy battle typical of so-called activist investors. Saturday is the deadline for board nominations. The annual meeting is expected in June.

(UAL) (CEO) Oscar Munoz warned the proposal by the Boston-based asset managers could wrest away control of the airline, and urged employees to keep improving (UAL), which fared better in late 2015 after years of underperformance. "This situation shouldn't change your focus," he said in an email to employees.

(UAL)'s flight attendants union said the investors were "creating a distraction at just the wrong time." (UAL)'s machinists union also voiced support for Munoz.

United Continental shares ended -2.2% lower at US$56.34 amid a broader sell-off in airline stocks.

Bethune, 74, said the fight was "not about Mr Munoz." "It's about . . . having someone who actually understands the airline business on the board," Bethune said in a (CNBC) interview March 8. He noted that the investors insisted he stand for election as (UAL)'s Chairman, and that he would only stay two years, if appointed.

The proposed slate of directors also includes Altimeter Founder, Brad Gerstner, former Orbitz (CEO), Barney Harford, and former Delphi Automotive (CEO), Rodney O'Neal.

(UAL) said it had tried to work with the funds and even offered to amend its bylaws to extend the deadline for board nominations, but they were "uninterested" in an agreement.

The two funds built stakes in (UAL) last year, and talks with the carrier intensified in late 2015, said a person familiar with the matter, who was not authorized to discuss it publicly.

The funds did not return calls seeking comment.

* Shaking Up the Board

"This situation is really all about shaking up what Altimeter/(PAR) thinks is an entrenched and ineffective board," said Don Bilson, Head of Event-driven Research at independent research firm, Gordon Haskett.

(UAL) has posted relatively weak earnings, among other problems. It lost -US$724 million in 2012, when rival Delta Air Lines (DAL) Inc posted more than >+US$1 billion in profit. In 2013, (UAL) earned +US$539 million, compared with (DAL)'s +$10 billion profit.

Former (UAL) (CEO), Jeff Smisek stepped down in September following the disclosure of a federal investigation into the airline's dealings with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The fund's plan to change (UAL)'s board came two days after the airline said Munoz would return on March 14 after being on medical leave since October, when he suffered a heart attack.

On March 7, (UAL) added three independent directors to its board, increasing the size. The company said some directors would step down but declined to say which ones or how many.

"(PAR) and Altimeter have unilaterally taken this hostile action with no concern that a proxy fight could distract the company from executing on Oscar's strategic plan," (UAL) Non-Executive Chairman, Henry Meyer said on March 8.

But the investors said the board changes, together with an increased stock buyback plan, were not enough.

"Yesterday's last-ditch effort - - adding just three people to its now 15-person board - - is a cynical attempt to preserve power by this entrenched board," Gerstner said.

Other investors said the proposal would have little immediate impact.

"Today's news doesn't affect our view of the company's credit profile or its trajectory," said Jonathan Root, an analyst at Moody's Investors Service, which rates ((UAL) three notches below investment grade, with a positive outlook.

News Item A-13: "Gordon’s Alive, but Not Necessarily Doing His Best by United" by Karen Walker in her (ATW) Editor's Blog, March 8, 2016.

Former Continental Airlines (CEO), Gordon Bethune’s attack on United Airlines (UAL) this week is troubling. Bethune has put his support behind two United Continental shareholders, Altimeter Capital Management and (PAR) Capital Management, which have voiced their deep dissatisfaction with the direction of (UAL) and proposed putting six new directors on the board of parent, United Continental Holdings, including Bethune.

Bethune himself appeared on the (CNBC) television network and said the (UAL) board “hasn’t been paying attention, hasn’t set the right goals, frankly hasn’t followed good governance processes and procedures.”

To which the question might be posed, why weren’t Bethune, Altimeter and (PAR) themselves paying attention years ago?

United’s problems are far from new. There was a long decline (in labor relations, customer service and financial performance relative to its main competitors) that was well documented and which happened under the leadership of (CEO), Jeff Smisek.

Smisek, a former Continental (CAL) (CEO) who worked alongside Bethune before the merger acquisition, resigned unexpectedly in September, a sudden departure that (UAL) said was in connection with the internal investigation related to the federal investigation associated with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The investigation centers on regular United Express flights former Port Authority Chairman, David Samson took between (UAL)’s Newark, hub and Columbia, South Carolina.

No one can or should take away Bethune’s industry achievements. In particular, he led Continental (CAL) on a stunning turnaround that is detailed in his book "From Worst to First."

But the time to challenge (UAL)’s direction was while Smisek was at the helm. This week, Smisek’s successor, Oscar Munoz, announced he plans to return to work on a full-time basis on March 14 following medical leave after suffering a heart attack in October 2015. In his short (and incredibly personal challenging) time at (UAL), Munoz appears to have grasped what Smisek never did; that (UAL)’s people are in need of a healing and intensive care, somewhat akin to the medical miracle he has survived.

Look after your people, give them the right resources, and the customer service (and profits) will follow. Shareholders should give Munoz the chance to follow through on that, because he has indicated he knows what needs to be done and demonstrated remarkable determination to follow through.

Bethune, for all his talents and industry knowledge, should support Munoz (and (UAL)) by staying in the background. It’s a proven fact that Bethune can turn round an airline; now is Munoz’s moment to show what he can do.

News Item A-14: United Airlines (UAL) has decided to place a firm order for 25 new Boeing 737-700s in addition to the order for 40 737-700s previously announced. (UAL) also said that, by the end of 2018, it will no longer fly 747s in scheduled service.

(UAL) currently has 22 747-400s in operation. To replace the retiring 747s, (UAL) will convert 787 orders that had been slated for delivery in 2020 and beyond into four 777-300ERs and five 787-9s that will start delivering in 2017. These conversions likely come from (UAL)’s order for 23 787-10s. (UAL), the North American launch customer for the 787, already operates 28 787s, a mix of 787-8s and 787-9s. “Retiring the 747 fleet and replacing those airplanes with more customer-pleasing, current generation airplanes creates a more reliable and efficient fleet that provides a better overall experience for our customers traveling on long-haul flights,” (UAL) Senior VP & (CFO), Gerry Laderman said.

Regarding the new order for 737-700s, (UAL) said it will utilize the smallest variant of the 737NG family to replace capacity now being operated under contract by regional airlines with regional aircraft. By the end of 2019, (UAL) expects to have fewer than 100 50-seat aircraft in its fleet. The 737-700s will begin delivering at the end of 2017. “The new 737-700 airplanes are ideal for our fleet as we continue to reduce our reliance on 50-seat aircraft,” Laderman said.

The order for additional Boeing (TBC) narrow bodies almost certainly ends any hope Bombardier (BMB) had of convincing (UAL) to order the CSeries aircraft.

April 2016: News Item A-1: United Continental Holdings earned net income of +$313 million in the first quarter, down -38.4% from a net profit of +$508 million in the 2015 March quarter, as revenue fell -4.8% year-over-year to $8.2 billion.

The parent of Chicago-based United Airlines (UAL) cut first-quarter expenses -4.1% year-over-year to $7.55 billion and the quarter’s operating profit was +$649 million, down -12.4% from operating income of +$741 million in the prior-year period.

Despite the net income drop, President & (CEO), Oscar Munoz said that (UAL) continues to make progress on several fronts, and characterized the earnings as “strong results.” (UAL) said it reported the best quarterly on-time performance since the 2010 merger of (UAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL) with a mainline on-time arrival rate of 71.9% in the first quarter. It also said it achieved its lowest quarterly mishandled bag rate since the merger.

(UAL)’s consolidated first-quarter traffic increased +0.3% year-over-year to 46.58 billion (RPM)s on a +1.8% rise in capacity to 58.27 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 79.9% LF, down -1.2 points. Yield decreased -6.1% to 15.01 cents.

(UAL) announced April 20 it had settled a proxy fight over the makeup of its board of directors.

News Item A-2: United Airlines (UAL) commenced two routes from Denver (DEN), starting on April 4 with a connection to Hartford (BDL). The 2,681 km sector will be served daily by (UAL)’s mixed fleet of short-haul Airbus and Boeing airplanes, facing direct competition from Southwest Airlines (SWA)'s daily service. Flights leave (UAL)’s Colorado hub at 15:43, arriving in Hartford at 21:27. The airplane then stops overnight at the Connecticut facility, with the return leaving at 08:04 the following morning, arriving in Denver at 10:23.

The second route launched by (UAL) from Denver was on April 5, when it commenced a 2,377 km link to Richmond (RIC). Facing no incumbent carriers, services to the Virginian airport are operated daily by the (UAL)’s fleet of E175s.

News Item A-3: "United, (DOJ) Newark Slot Standoff Ends After The (FAA) Eases Restrictions" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, April 6, 2016.

United Airlines (UAL) has dropped plans to acquire 12 additional Newark International Airport (EWR) slot pairs and the USA Department of Justice (DOJ) has dropped its lawsuit seeking to prevent (UAL) from acquiring those slots.

The moves come after the (FAA) decided to ease regulated capacity constraints at (EWR), effectively making conflicts over slots at the airport a non-issue. From October 30, 2016, (EWR) will no longer be designated by (FAA) as a “level three, slot-controlled airport.” Under (IATA)’s worldwide slot guidelines, a level three designation means an airport’s takeoffs and landings must be restricted to a certain number and allocated. For the last eight years, the (FAA) had limited (EWR) to a maximum of 81 operations per hour and slots became highly coveted at the airport, where (UAL) (and previously Continental Airlines (CAL)) is the dominant player.

(UAL) had reached an agreement with Delta Air Lines (DAL) to acquire 12 of Delta’s (EWR) daily slot pairs for $14 million (a deal related to (DAL) acquiring a similar number of (UAL) slot pairs at New York (JFK)), which would have added to the 401 daily slot pairs (UAL) already had at (EWR). The (DOJ) stepped in last November and filed a lawsuit to prevent (UAL) from acquiring the additional slots, accusing (UAL) of “unlawfully seeking to maintain a monopoly” at (EWR) since it already controlled 73% of the airport’s slots.

All of that became largely irrelevant this week when the (FAA) Administrator, Michael Huerta said (EWR)’s designation would be changed to a “level two, schedule-facilitated airport” under (IATA) guidelines, meaning there will no longer be official “slots” and carriers simply have to coordinate their schedules with FAA and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates (EWR).

“The significant improvements in on-time performance and delays at Newark allowed us to make these changes,” Huerta said. “This change will improve access to some of the most in-demand airspace in the country and has the potential to provide more options for local consumers.”

The (FAA) added, “Starting this month, the (FAA) is inviting schedule submissions from carriers for the winter 2016 season. Airlines will separately need to obtain terminal space, gates and other facility access from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the (EWR) airport operator. The (FAA) will work closely with the Port Authority and airlines to help facilitate synchronization of airport facility access and runway times for proposed schedules.”

A (UAL) spokesperson said in an emailed statement that the planned transaction to gain more slots at (EWR) was one “we believed to be in the public’s interest,” adding, “We are disappointed that the (FAA)’s decision may undo (UAL)'s significant efforts to minimize congestion-related passenger delays at Newark, and we fear that the already strained New York airspace will be further exacerbated.”

(DOJ) Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division, Bill Baer, who was the lead actor in the lawsuit to prevent (UAL) from acquiring more (EWR) slots, called the outcome “a great win for Newark travelers and for all American consumers,” adding that the “(FAA)’s action opens up Newark to more robust competition and achieves the very outcome we sought in litigation: protecting consumers from (UAL)’s plan to enlarge its monopoly at Newark.”

News Item A-4: "United Settles Board Battle; Former Air Canada (CEO) to be Chairman" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, April 20, 2016.

United Continental Holdings has resolved the proxy fight over the makeup of its board of directors by agreeing to make former Air Canada (CEO), Robert Milton the Non-executive Chairman of the board.

The parent of Chicago-based (UAL) has also agreed to add two board members nominated by activist investors, Altimeter Capital Management and (PAR) Capital Management, hedge funds that together own 7.1% of (UAL). In March, Altimeter and (PAR) had announced their intention to nominate a slate of six board members, including former Continental Airlines (CAL) (CEO), Gordon Bethune, sparking a public dispute over the makeup of (UAL)’s board.

(UAL) (CEO), Oscar Munoz, whose contract with the company had specified that he would also become Chairman of United’s board in 2017, has agreed to amend his contract so that he won’t assume the Chairman’s role until 2018.

Henry Meyer, (UAL)'s Non-executive Board Chairman and a target of Altimeter and (PAR)’s displeasure with (UAL)’s governance, will step down at (UAL)’s annual shareholders’ meeting, expected to occur in June, and be replaced by Milton. (UAL) added Milton and former Delta Air Lines (DAL) (COO), James Whitehurst to its board in early March as part of an effort to appease the hedge funds. Also joining the board in June will be (PAR) Managing Partner, Edward Shapiro and former Orbitz Worldwide (CEO), Barney Harford, nominees chosen by Altimeter and (PAR). (UAL) and the hedge funds have also agreed to add a mutually agreed board member within six months.

Gordon Bethune will not become a member of (UAL)’s board.

“With his deep experience in the airline industry, we are confident [Milton] is an excellent choice for Non-executive Chairman and he is exceptionally qualified to lead our board,” Munoz said.

Altimeter (CEO), Brad Gerstner said, “As long-term (UAL) investors, we are pleased with the reconstituted board. We are confident that the new board will provide the guidance and oversight necessary to help (UAL) make its way back to the top.”

(UAL), Altimeter and (PAR) said they will shortly file their settlement agreement with the USA Securities & Exchange Commission.

News Item A-4: "Playing the Gordon Bethune Card" by (ATW) Aaron Karp in AirKarp Blog, April 20, 2016.

By playing a single major card (the prospect of former Continental Airlines (CAL) (CEO), Gordon Bethune becoming Chairman of United Continental Holdings’ board of Directors, insurgent United (UAL) shareholders Altimeter Capital Management and (PAR) Capital Management were able to extract major concessions from the parent company of (UAL).

The proxy fight over the makeup of (UAL)’s board has been settled, and (UAL)’s management team has gained one big victory: Bethune will not be joining (UAL)’s board.

But in order to get that win, which will be popular with many of (UAL)’s employees, (UAL) had to make some major concessions: 1) Non-executive Board Chairman, Henry Meyer will step down, to be replaced by former Air Canada (ACN) (CEO), Robert Milton, who joined (UAL)’s board just last month. 2) (CEO), Oscar Munoz, who had been slated to also take on the Chairman’s role in 2017, will now not become chairman until at least 2018. 3) In addition to Meyer, two other current (UAL) board members will step down at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in June. 4) Joining the board will be two new members selected by Altimeter and (PAR): - (PAR) Managing Partner, Edward Shapiro and former Orbitz Worldwide (CEO), Barney Harford. 5) Though it isn’t a concession written in ink in the proxy fight settlement being submitted to the USA Securities & Exchange Commission, Altimeter and (PAR), who together own 7.1% of (UAL)’s shares, have demonstrated that a minority of shareholders can force significant changes at (UAL) if they don’t like what’s going on.

Altimeter and (PAR) made one shrewd move when they launched their insurgency against (UAL)’s board on March 8: Naming Bethune as one of the six Directors, they would nominate to the airline’s board at the next shareholders’ meeting and then unleashing the loquacious Bethune to speak to the media, including a particularly provocative appearance on (CNBC) on the morning of March 8, where he slammed (UAL)’s current board and management.

“I do know the front end from the back of an airplane and that would be a novel experience for the [(UAL)] board,” Bethune said, adding that a “country club atmosphere” prevailed in (UAL)’s boardroom.

This immediately led to widespread speculation that Bethune, Continental’s (CEO) from 1994 - 2004, would be riding in on a white horse to essentially take over (UAL).

Many of (UAL)’s employees bristled at the prospect of Bethune becoming the company’s Chairman, and (UAL)’s major unions quickly backed Munoz and the current board over the insurgent hedge funds. In a blistering letter to (UAL)’s 11,000 pilots (FC) from the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) (UAL) master executive council, in which the (UAL) pilots union’s leaders accused Altimeter and (PAR) of “looking to raid the corporation,” it was noted that Bethune is closely associated with “the ineffective Mr Smisek,” a reference to former (UAL) (CEO), Jeff Smisek, who resigned abruptly last September. Smisek, in fact, was famously hired by Bethune to be Continental (CAL)’s General Counsel in 1995, leaving a successful Houston law firm where he had been a partner, and was regularly publicly praised by Bethune.

The end result was that Altimeter and (PAR) put (UAL) in a corner (keeping Bethune out of the boardroom became an imperative. To settle the messy public dispute over (UAL)’s board makeup and the direction of the company’s management, (UAL) had to do what was necessary to achieve that result.

Bethune, appearing again on (CNBC) on April 20 following the announcement of the proxy fight settlement, conceded that Altimeter and (PAR) had “used me as a credible alternative” to force changes at (UAL). When asked whether he was disappointed that he won’t be joining the airline’s board or become (UAL)’s Chairman, Bethune said, “That’s fine with me. I was [part of the Altimeter/(PAR) effort] in spite of the fact that I didn’t want to go back and work very hard.”

Munoz, Bethune said, “is a wonderful man but not a veteran of the airline industry.” Munoz was formerly the President & (COO) of rail and intermodal giant (CSX) Corporation. Now that Milton will become Cairman and other airline industry veterans, such as former Delta Air Lines (DAL) (COO), James Whitehurst, have joined the board, “some people with real expertise” will be sitting in (UAL)’s boardroom, Bethune explained.

“The board itself had no airline experience,” he told (CNBC), later adding, “Somebody on the board needs to know how to fly an airplane.”

The 74-year-old Bethune, smiling and looking relaxed as he chatted amiably with cable television moderators, appeared to be more than happy to have been the hedge funds’ trump card.

News Item A-5: United Airlines (UAL) and the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers’ 30,000 employees have agreed on seven new contracts.

May 2016: United Airlines (UAL) commenced services on its latest long-haul route on May 8 in the form of a 3x-weekly (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays) service between San Francisco (SFO) and Xi’an (XIY), located in the Shaanxi province in Northwest China. The 10,416 km sector is served by (UAL)’s 787-8 fleet. United Flight # 853 would become the first scheduled trans Pacific flight ever to land in Xi’an Xianyang International airport.

“(UAL) is celebrating its 30-year anniversary of services linking the USA and China this year, and there couldn’t be a better way to honor our proud and long-standing relationship, than by being the first airline to offer customers non-stop transpacific service to Xi’an,” said Marcel Fuchs, VP for Atlantic & Pacific Sales, United. “(UAL) operates more non-stop USA – China flights, and to more cities in China, than any other airline, and we expect the addition of flights to Xi’an to continue to create opportunities for trade and collaboration between our two countries long into the future.” The seasonal service will run until October 27 facing no incumbents.

(UAL) offers 84 destinations non-stop from San Francisco, with Xi’ian becoming the carrier’s fourth Chinese route from the Californian hub after Beijing, Chengdu, and Shanghai Pudong.

(UAL) launched a second new service from San Francisco with a daily connection to Nashville (BNA) on May 5. The 3,161 km route will be flown daily on board (UAL)’s A319 fleet and faces no incumbents.

June 2016: United Airlines (UAL)’s new premium business (C) product (United Polaris) was unveiled on June 2. The product rebranding includes all aircraft interiors, digital media, in-flight service and airport lounges. It will be offered on December 1.

See photo - "UAL-Polaris Business Class - 2016-06.jpg."

"This completely reconceived experience exemplifies the new spirit of United (UAL) and the innovation, excitement and operational momentum across our airline," (UAL) President & (CEO), Oscar Munoz said.

Designed in partnership with British firms, Acumen Design Associates and PriestmanGoode, and manufactured by Zodiac Seats, United Kingdom, each (UAL) Polaris seat will offer direct access to the aisle, 180-degree flat-bed recline and up to 78 inches of bed space.

The bedding is designed by Saks Fifth Avenue and includes duvets, day blankets, plus large and small pillows. Mattress cushions are available upon request, as are gel-cooled pillows.

According to (UAL), the Polaris seat offers privacy, coat and bag storage, a pull-out table with integrated tablet holder and charging points. Additional features include integrated personal stowage with latching door, a headphone hook and mirror, a do not disturb feature, a reading light and cocktail table. Lights and seat controls can be operated from any seat position. All meal service tableware and amenity kits have been rebranded as well.

In nine (UAL) airport lounges, sleep/rest pods will be available for business (C) class passengers, as are private daybeds, showers and hot meals. The first lounge opens at (UAL)’s home at Chicago O’Hare on December 1, 2016. Following in 2017, additional lounges will open at Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Newark, Washington Dulles, Tokyo Narita, Hong Kong, and London Heathrow.

June 2016: "United, Flight Attendants Reach Agreement on Terms of Labor Contract" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, June 24, 2016.

United Airlines (UAL) and the Association of Flight Attendants - (CWA) (AFA) have reached agreement on the terms of a labor contract that would bring all 25,000 United flight attendants (CA) under a single contract.

Since the 2010 merger of (UAL) and Continental Airlines (CAL), original (UAL) flight attendants (CA) and former Continental flight attendants (CA) have operated under separate contracts, an operational impediment that increases the likelihood of flight delays and cancellations. The terms agreed to by (UAL) management and (AFA) leadership will now be voted on by (UAL) flight attendant (CA) union leadership in local districts. If the local leaders back the deal, it would formally become a tentative agreement that would be presented to rank-and-file (UAL) flight attendants (CA) for a ratification vote.

“The parties will finalize language over the weekend, and a tentative agreement is not final until approved by the directly elected leaders of the 25,000 flight attendants (CA),” (AFA) said on June 24. “The leaders will meet in special session later in the month.”

(UAL) and (AFA) both credited the US National Mediation Board (NMB) for helping to forge the agreement.

(UAL) President & (CEO), Oscar Munoz has made labor peace a key priority since becoming (UAL)’s top executive last September. Earlier this year, (UAL)’s pilots (FC) voted to ratify a labor contract extension that will last through January 31, 2019.

Munoz said that the agreement with (AFA) “honors the invaluable role that our flight attendants (CA) contribute to (UAL)’s success and brings us closer than ever to uniting them under a single contract.”
Under Munoz’s predecessor, Jeff Smisek, (UAL) believed it was close to a deal with its flight attendants (CA) in the summer of 2015, but those talks broke down.

Japan Airlines (JAL) sold 767-346 (27311, JA8397) to Unical Aviation, and re-registered (N571UA).

July 2016: News Item A-1: "United Resolves Ports Authority Affair"
by Alex Derber, MRO-Network.com, July 18, 2016.

United Airlines (UAL) has closed one of the most bizarre legal sagas in recent airline history by agreeing to pay a $2.25 million fine in exchange for a non-prosecution agreement from the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO).

Thus, the USA major will face no further action over its Newark, New Jersey - Columbia, South Carolina flights, which it allegedly re-instated as a favor to the then Chairman of the Ports Authority of New Jersey, David Samson, who had a holiday home in South Carolina.
Samson resigned from the Ports Authority in March 2014, and 4 days later, (UAL) dropped the route.

(UAL) said it "accepted responsibility for certain conduct related to the establishment of the flight between Newark and Columbia. "Also, (UAL) agreed to continue to enhance its compliance, anti-bribery and anti-corruption program policies.”

In connection with the affair, Jeff Smisek resigned as (UAL) (CEO) last year, and 2 other senior executives also left the company. Those departures, and (UAL)'s own internal investigation proved crucial to a resolution with the (USAO), which recognised (UAL)'s “early and extensive remedial efforts" in the case.

Nonetheless, the murky business raises questions over which other airlines are operating flights as sweeteners or "quid pro quo" offerings. ((UAL) had been petitioning the Ports Authority for a rail link to Newark airport in the run-up to the scandal).

Also, if Newark - Columbia was indeed operating as Samson’s personal taxi service, wouldn’t it have been cheaper (now, in hindsight) to have chauffeured him in a corporate jet?

News Item A-2: United Airlines (UAL) commenced operation on its latest transpacific route on July 13, a 10,037 km link between San Francisco (SFO) and Hangzhou (HGH).

Flown on (UAL)’s 787-9s 3x-weekly (Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays), the route will face no direct competition. “There’s a strong demand from tourists and business people to visit the cultural sites of Hangzhou, and to do business with the many high-tech companies based in the city,” said Mike Hanna, VP of (UAL)’s San Francisco hub. “The flight really connects the Silicon Valley and the ‘Silicon Valley’ in China,” he added. “We are very excited with the bookings so far, both from China as well as from the USA.”

Hangzhou becomes the 5th Chinese destination that (UAL) serves from San Francisco, with it also serving Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai Pudong, and Xi’an, with the latter having launched in May. (UAL) also links Los Angeles to Shanghai, Chicago O’Hare to Beijing and Shanghai, New York Newark to Beijing and Shanghai, and Washington Dulles to Beijing. Altogether (UAL) now operates 66 weekly flights between the USA and China. For Hangzhou Airport, which handled 28.4 million passengers in 2015, this is the 1st non-stop service to any USA airport.

News Item A-3: "DOT Proposes 4 USA Airlines for Daytime Slots at Tokyo Haneda" by (ATW) Mark Nensel, July 20, 2016

The USA Department of Transportation (DOT) on July 20 gave tentative approval to American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL), Hawaiian Airlines (HWI), and United Airlines (UAL) as proposed final candidates for daytime service to Tokyo Haneda Airport. USA departure cities proposed by the (DOT) are Los Angeles, Honolulu, San Francisco, and Minneapolis.

The applicants are aiming for five flights per day to Tokyo Haneda, which is regarded as Japan’s busiest airport and is the closest airport to downtown Tokyo.

Following the February 18 agreement between the USA and Japanese governments to open Haneda to daytime USA service, four USA airlines applied for the daytime rights.

The agreement, which was an amendment to the bilateral "Open Skies" agreement between the USA and Japan, announced that effective October 30, 2016, the four existing USA nighttime slot pairs at Haneda will be transferred to daytime hours. Additionally, a new daytime slot plus a new nighttime slot were announced and made available.

Hawaiian Airlines (HWI) was the only carrier to apply for the new nighttime opening. The (DOT) awarded the slot to (HWI) on May 13, for service between Honolulu and Haneda, and service between Kona, Hawaii, and Haneda.

Nonstop night-time flights to Haneda are already in operation from Los Angeles (operated by (DAL), (AAL) and (UAL)), Honolulu (operated by (AAL), (HWI) and (UAL)) and San Francisco (operated by (AAL) and (UAL)).

The (DOT) will receive objections to the proposed allocations through August 1, with answers to the objections due for submission the following week, on August 8. The (DOT) said it will review all of the material and make its decision soon thereafter.

Mark Nensel, mark.nensel@penton.com

News Item A-4: "United Slows Capacity Growth; 4Q Transatlantic (ASM)s to be Down -1% to -2%" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, July 20, 2016.

United Airlines (UAL) is slowing capacity growth in the second half of 2016, and on transatlantic routes will cut capacity by -1% to -2% in the fourth quarter compared to the 2015 December quarter.

The capacity adjustments come as (UAL) faces a continued weak revenue environment highlighted by flat corporate travel demand. (UAL)’s second-quarter unit revenue, as measured in (PRASM), fell -6.9% year-over-year to 11.36 cents and (UAL) is providing guidance for (PRASM) to decline -5.5% to 7.5% year-over-year in the third quarter. The transatlantic adjustments also come in the aftermath of the Brexit vote in the UK.

(UAL) executives told analysts in a June 20 conference call that full-year 2016 capacity will grow just +1% to +1.5% compared to 2015, down from prior guidance of +1.5% to +2.5% capacity growth for the year. (UAL)’s senior executives indicated that more capacity adjustments should be expected in the future.

(UAL) is “closely evaluating our capacity for the 4th quarter and 2017,” Vice Chairman & Chief Revenue Officer Jim Compton said, emphasizing that (UAL) is “willing and prepared to adjust when necessary. We’re working on our 2017 plans. It’s too early for us to comment [but] we’re focused on keeping capacity in line with demand.”

President & (CEO) Oscar Munoz said he is happy with (UAL)’s improved operational performance, which is “better than our company has ever seen,” but conceded that (UAL)’s financial performance ((UAL) posted a -51% year-over-year net profit decline in the 2nd quarter) is not adequate.

“We are currently in the middle of a self-evaluation,” Munoz said, adding, “It is a top to bottom, full-scale review of everything we do. That involves management structure [and] product offerings [and] broader issues about capacity and network planning.” He said conclusions drawn from the review, and actions taken as a result, will be shared with investors in the fourth quarter.

Aaron Karp aaron.karp@penton.com

News Item A-5: "TSA: Newark to get 17 ‘Automated’ Screening Lanes this Fall" by Aaron Karp, July 20, 2016.

New York Newark International Airport (EWR) will become the 6th major USA airport to have what the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is calling “automated” screening lanes installed.

The (TSA) said it will deploy 17 of the of the revamped security screening lanes at (EWR) in conjunction with (UAL) this fall. The (TSA) already is operating the new screening lanes, which it says increase passenger throughput by +30% in Atlanta and previously had announced plans to deploy the lanes at Chicago O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles (LAX) and Miami airports in the autumn.

The new screening lanes still require agents to inspect X-ray images of bags and manually inspect bags if an image is suspect. The “automation” lies in the conveyor system that feeds bags through X-ray machines without being pushed by passengers, and diverts a bag if it requires manual inspection. “We are working every day with the (TSA) to develop and launch innovative ways to improve the airport experience for our customers,” (UAL) Executive VP & (COO) Greg Hart said, adding that the “automated security lanes demonstrate (UAL)’s commitment to use the latest technology, to ensure our customers have a reliable and enjoyable experience every step of their journey.”

(UAL) and the (TSA) also said they have opened a temporary enrollment center for (TSA)’s Pre-Check expedited screening program at the Penn Station train station in New York and will open a temporary Pre-Check enrollment center in the lobby of the Willis Tower in downtown Chicago in August. (UAL)’s headquarters offices are in Willis Tower. “These off-airport sites will provide the airline's customers with the ability to complete the entire (TSA) Pre-Check enrollment process without needing to visit an airport location,” (UAL) said.

(UAL) and the (TSA) said they plan to jointly open permanent Pre-Check enrollment centers at Chicago O’Hare, (EWR), Houston Intercontinental, (LAX) and San Francisco airports later this summer. (UAL) and the (TSA) are already operating permanent Pre-Check enrollment centers at Denver and Washington Dulles airports.

August 2016: News Item A-1: "USA Airlines Tickets to Havana Already On Sale" by (ATW) Mark Nensel, marknensel@penton.co, August 31, 2016.

The 8 USA airlines granted permission by the USA Department of Transportation (DOT) on August 31 to operate scheduled flights between the USA and Havana have begun rolling out proposed service plans. Tickets are already on sale at Spirit Airlines (SPR) and United Airlines (UAL). All routes require approval by the Cuban government. Most airlines will not reveal start dates until the approval is granted.

* Seattle-based Alaska Airlines (ASA) is tentatively scheduling 1x-daily service involving a Seattle - Los Angeles -Havana same-airplane routing.

* American Airlines (AAL) will operate 4x-daily service from Miami and a 1x-daily flight from Charlotte, North Carolina.

* Delta Air Lines (DAL) intends to begin 1x-daily nonstop service to Havana from Atlanta, Miami and New York (JFK) on December 1. (DAL) said tickets for the proposed flights will go on sale September 10. (DAL) operated charter flights to Havana from the USA at various times since 2002, including a period from October 2011 through December 2012 in which up to 12 flights to Havana per week originated from Miami, Atlanta and New York (JFK).

* Frontier Airlines (FRO) will operate 1x-daily service from Miami.

* New York-based JetBlue Airways (JBL), which on August 31 made the first commercial airline passenger flight to Cuba in nearly 55 years, will operate 2x-daily service from Fort Lauderdale, Florida (excluding Saturday, which will be 1x-daily) and 1x-daily service from both New York (JFK) and Orlando, Florida. (JBL) announced it will offer Cuban government-required health insurance coverage as part of the ticket purchase price. Additionally, as part of the online booking process, customers can fill out the required affidavit indicating which of 12 USA Treasury Department-approved Cuba-travel reasons (ie, family visits, educational activities, religious activities, journalism, humanitarian projects, professional research, professional meetings, etc.) is applicable to them.

* Florida-based low cost-carrier (LCC) Spirit Airlines (SPR) expects to begin 2x-daily nonstop service from Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport (FLL) on December 1. Tickets for (SPR)’s flights to Havana went on sale on September 1, but (SPR)’s booking site stipulates the flight is subject to government approval. Cuban government-required health insurance is bundled into the ticket price, (SPR) said.

* Southwest Airlines (SWA) intends to offer 2x-daily nonstop service to Havana from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and 1x-daily nonstop service from Tampa, in addition to 2x-daily nonstops from (FLL) to Varadero, Cuca and daily nonstop service to Santa Clara, Cuba. (SWA) said the airline intends to launch its Cuban flights later this year.

* United Airlines (UAL) will begin daily nonstop flights to Havana from Newark, New Jersey, on November 29, pending Cuban government approval, (UAL) said. Additionally, (UAL) will have 1x-Saturday-only service to Havana from Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). (UAL)’s Havana flights went on sale on September 1. (UAL) will operate both services utilizing Boeing 737 airplanes.

News Item A-2: "The Significance of United’s (CFO) Selection" by (ATW) Aaron Karp in AirKarp Blog, August 18, 2016.

United Airlines (UAL) (CEO) Oscar Munoz is not afraid of bringing Ultra Low Cost Carrier (ULCC) attributes into (UAL)’s business.

(UAL)’s selection of former Allegiant Air (WJE) President, Andrew Levy as its permanent (CFO) brought to mind a conversation I had with Brett Hart, (UAL)'s General Counsel, last December in Chicago. At the time, Hart was serving as interim (CEO) during (CEO) Oscar Munoz’s medical leave. Two things he said stand out in light of the Levy selection.

First, while Hart emphasized that (UAL) was moving forward while Munoz was on leave (Munoz returned in March), he made a point of saying that one initiative would remain on hold: selecting a (CFO). Longtime United (UAL) Executive, Gerry Laderman has been handling the (CFO) duties on an acting basis since August 2015. It was important, Hart said, that Munoz choose the (CFO) himself and not be rushed in doing so. (CFO) is a particularly significant job at an airline, and it should be held by someone who is in lock-step with the (CEO)’s philosophy and with whom the (CEO) is completely comfortable, he explained.

The other thing of note Hart said that day that seems significant in light of Levy’s selection, was that (UAL) was unwilling to cede any customers to the USA ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC) segment. While serving global business passengers is critically important to (UAL), the airline is determined to develop a product offering that appeals to the passengers flocking to the likes of Spirit Airlines (SPR), Frontier Airlines (FRO), and Allegiant (WJE), Hart said.

Munoz clearly believes Levy is the best person for the job, but he’s also making a statement with this selection. Far from scoffing at the (ULCC) sector, he is bringing in a key figure in that sector’s rise in the USA to serve as perhaps (UAL)’s second most important senior executive (Levy was President & (COO) of Las Vegas-based Allegiant (WJE) for 5 years and prior to that was the (ULCC)’s (CFO) for seven years). That is not to say (UAL) will suddenly become a (ULCC). But Munoz is not afraid of bringing attributes from that sector into (UAL)’s business. He probably also believes Levy will keep a very close watch on (UAL)’s costs.

In his relatively short time as (CEO) (less than a year, interrupted by a four-month absence following a heart attack), Munoz has been unhesitant in saying that (UAL) needs to do things differently. The selection of Levy is another indication that Munoz will be taking a non-conventional approach to revamping (UAL).

* Compton’s retirement

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Jim Compton’s retirement, which was also announced on August 18. Compton, (UAL)’s Vice Chairman & Chief Revenue Officer, has been a top Continental Airlines (CAL) and/or United (UAL) executive since 1995. In recent years, he’s been one of the most outspoken figures in the US airline industry about the need for airlines to act and operate like real businesses that cover their cost of capital.

Compton appeared to genuinely love the airline business, and delighted in the fact that his career had taken him full circle back to his hometown of Chicago. During that same visit to Chicago last December, Compton hosted a luncheon for journalists at the top of the Willis Tower, the towering skyscraper where (UAL)’s headquarters are located. If you looked out the right window, he noted, you could see the street where he grew up.

Compton has certainly been a steadying presence at (UAL) during a tumultuous year that started when Jeff Smisek abruptly resigned as (CEO) last September.

News Item A-4: "4 Questions Arising From Scott Kirby's American-to-United Move" by (ATW) Aaron Karp in AirKarp Blog, August 31, 2016.

If you click on the (URL) for Scott Kirby’s executive bio at American Airlines (AAL), you land on a generic link on (AAL)’s website that states: “This page must have taken flight.” This is perhaps the understatement of the year in the airline business.

Indeed, Kirby’s surprise jump from the post of (AAL)’s President to United Airlines (UAL)’s President, breaking up a longtime association with (AAL) Chairman & (CEO) Doug Parker, continues to reverberate around the global airline industry. Here are four pressing questions arising from the switch:

1: Did (AAL) really decide to cut Scott Kirby loose? (AAL) has tried to spin the move as a proactive step it took, noting that Kirby (who goes from being the #2 executive at (AAL) to the #2 executive at (UAL)) is receiving a lucrative severance package ($3.85 million in cash). But for anyone who follows the USA airline industry closely, it defies belief that (AAL) would unilaterally decide to dump its top strategist and one of the brightest stars in global airline management (absent Kirby having other options and wanting out for some reason).

Kirby and Parker go back >2 decades, and Kirby has been Parker’s right-hand man through the America West Airlines (AMW) - US Airways (USA) and US Airways (USA) - American (AAL) mergers. But (AAL) is Parker’s airline to run, and it is expected to be for some time. Kirby’s exit from (AAL) is likely a combination of the opening at (UAL), where (CEO) Oscar Munoz has been revamping his executive team, and a realization by Kirby that he would have to wait a very long time to become (CEO) at (AAL).

2: Will Kirby be (UAL)’s next (CEO)? Nothing has been said publicly on this front, but there is widespread speculation that Kirby at least has been led to believe this is a possibility, whereas it wasn’t a realistic possibility at (AAL). Say one thing for Munoz, who joined (UAL) from the freight rail industry last September: he is not afraid to have deputies with high-profile credentials who are considered potential airline (CEO) material. Both Kirby and new (CFO) Andrew Levy have held the title of “President” for multiple years at other airlines despite only being in their 40s.

While there is speculation that Munoz was forced into making these hires because of the board turmoil at (UAL) earlier this year, my sense is that Munoz truly wants to turn around (UAL) by surrounding himself with talented people who, like him, are willing to think outside of the conventional box. Even if Munoz (who is well liked by (UAL)’s employees) does not end up being (UAL)’s (CEO) for a decade, being the man who finally righted (UAL) would be quite an achievement, and Munoz is assembling a team that gives him the best chance of success.

3: Does Kirby bring insider knowledge of (AAL)’s strategies and thinking to (UAL) that will hurt (AAL)? Per the terms of a separation agreement, Kirby has agreed to hold (AAL) proprietary information “confidential and will not use or disclose any such proprietary information…,” including to a new employer. In truth, USA airlines are legally forced to divulge so much information publicly that there are not too many secrets. And Kirby is a very candid talker on quarterly earnings calls with analysts and reporters (usually speaking more than Parker on (AAL)’s calls) so his views on a wide range of issues, from fuel hedging to ultra low-cost carriers (ULCC)s to Brexit, are widely known. The fact that Kirby is no longer in the room when (AAL) executives are strategizing is what hurts (AAL) most.

4: What does the pairing of Kirby and former Allegiant Air (WJE) President Andrew Levy as (UAL)’s President and (CFO) foretell? Expect (UAL) to develop a very specific product offering to appeal to passengers flying on (ULCC)s like Allegiant (WJE), Spirit Airlines (SPR) and Frontier Airlines (FRO) (a big player at (UAL)’s Denver hub). Kirby noted last year that half of (AAL)’s revenue comes from 87% of its passengers who fly only once a year. Those infrequent flyers view flight tickets as a commodity and simply want the lowest fare, Kirby has said.

“When 50% of our revenue is up for grabs, we have to compete,” Kirby, who spearheaded (ULCC) price matching at (AAL), has explained. “We can’t just walk away. If we’re going to fly head-to-head, we need to match their fares.”

Also, I would expect (UAL) to reevaluate its fuel hedging program and probably drop it altogether. (AAL) and (WJE) do not hedge (which has allowed both carriers to fully benefit from low fuel prices), and Kirby and Levy have both been publicly critical of the practice.

News Item A-5: According to FAPA.aero, United Airlines (UAL) hired 20 pilots (FC) in July and 388 (FC) year-to-date.

News Item A-6: 2 737-824 (62750, N86534; 62751, N77535) deliveries.

October 2016: News Item A-1: United Airlines (UAL) parent, United Continental Holdings reported a 3rd-quarter net profit of +$965 million, down -80% from a net income of +$4.8 billion in the 2015 September quarter.

According to (UAL)’s 3rd-quarter performance report in 2015, “after considering all positive and negative evidence, the company concluded that its deferred income taxes would more likely than not be realized. (UAL) released substantially all of its valuation allowance in the 3rd quarter of 2015, which resulted in a $3.2 billion benefit in its provision for income taxes.” As a result, (UAL)’s total net income in (3Q) 2015 was +$1.6 billion (before taxes) plus the $3.2 billion income tax benefit.

By contrast, in the 3rd quarter of 2016, (UAL)’s income before taxes was +$1.5 billion, with an income tax expense of $545 million. (UAL) said (UAL)’s effective tax rate for the 3 and 9 months ended September 30 was 36% which represented a blend of federal, state and foreign taxes and the impact of certain nondeductible items.

“We delivered another very good quarter, which included our best 3rd-quarter on-time performance in company history,” (UAL) (CEO) Oscar Munoz said. “[We] remain intensely focused on engaging our employees, running a great operation and improving our financial performance.”

(UAL)’s 3rd-quarter revenue fell -3.8% year-over-year (YOY) to $9.9 billion and unit revenue, as measured in (PRASM), fell -5.8% to 11.6 cents. “The decline in (PRASM) continues to be driven by factors including a strong US dollar, lower surcharges, reductions from energy-related corporate travel, and declining yields.”

(UAL)'s 3rd-quarter expenses decreased -1.4% (YOY) to $8.3 billion and operating income was $1.6 billion, down -14.5% from an operating profit of +$1.9 billion in the 2015 September quarter.

Mainline traffic for the quarter increased +2.4% (YOY) to 51.9 billion (RPK)s while capacity grew +2.8% (YOY) to 60.6 billion (ASM)s, producing a mainline load factor of 85.6% LF, down -0.2 point. Mainline yield declined -5.5% (YOY) to 13.5 cents.

(UAL) reported +$588 million net income in the 2016 2nd-quarter, down -50.7% from net income of +$1.2 billion in (2Q) 2015.

Year-to-date, (UAL)’s 9-month net income is +$1.87 billion, down -71.4% (YOY) from +$6.5 billion at this point in 2015.

News Item A-2: "Southeast USA Braced for Hurricane Matthew; Over >2,300 Flights Canceled" by (ATW) Mark Nensel mark.nensel@penton.com, October 6, 2016.

As Hurricane Matthew, a major Category 4 storm, bore down on Florida and the SE USA on October 6, airlines serving the region announced preemptive operational closures and flight cancellations. Nearly 2,400 preemptive flight cancellations were announced.

As of noon, October 6, Delta Air Lines (DAL) had shuttered operations at Miami International Airport, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Palm Beach International Airport, resulting in 130 total flight cancellations. Additionally, (DAL) canceled nearly 150 mainline and Delta Connection flights for Friday, October 7 to and from airports in Melbourne, Orlando, Daytona Beach, Gainesville, and Jacksonville, Florida. (DAL) said there were additional cancellations for flights Saturday, October 8 to coastal Georgia and South Carolina airports.

As of October 6, at 2:30 pm (CDT), Southwest Airlines (SWA) said about 60 flights had been canceled systemwide, and about 130 flights had been canceled for October 7. (SWA) canceled all operations at Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Nassau, Bahamas; and West Palm Beach, Florida, for Thursday and Friday, October 6 & 7. Operations in Jacksonville were canceled October 7 and resumed at 1:30 (CDT) on October 8. Operations in Orlando were canceled October 6 and October 7. (SWA) had delays and cancellations in Charleston, South Carolina for October 7. For the airports on the east coast of Florida, (SWA) said it adjusted its resumption of service as the storm passed.

JetBlue Airways (JBL) said they canceled >450 flights through October 8. (JBL) offered to waive change/cancel fees for customers traveling October 5 - 9 to/from Charleston, South Carolina; Daytona Beach, Florida; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Nassau, Bahamas; Orlando, Florida (MCO); Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina; Savannah/Hilton Head, Georgia; and West Palm Beach, Florida.

American Airlines (AAL) canceled 65 flights for October 5, with 600 flights preemptively canceled for October 6, 475 flights canceled for October 7, 130 flights canceled for October 8 and 20 flights canceled for October 10; 1,290 flights in all.

United Airlines (UAL) said it canceled nearly 180 flights in Florida through October 8, 2016.

News Item A-3: "3 Reasons why Major USA Airlines are not Planning to Grow in 2017" by Aaron Karp in AirKarp blog, October 21, 2016.

The 3 top global USA airlines (American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL) and United Airlines (UAL)) appear to be bringing growth to a near halt through next year, with little-to-no growth in the domestic market and only marginal international growth expected through the end of 2017. (DAL) has already capped system capacity growth at 1% for the 2016 4th quarter and all of 2017. (AAL)’s system capacity is expected to be flat in the 4th quarter and grow just +1% in 2017, including no domestic growth next year. (UAL) will end up growing full year 2016 capacity just +1.2% to 1.4% and, while it hasn’t given specific guidance on 2017, it is unlikely (UAL) will grow much next year. If USA carriers are so healthy from a net profit standpoint ((AAL), (DAL) and (UAL)posted nearly $3 billion in combined net income in the 2016 3rd quarter) why are they forswearing growth in 2017? 3 reasons:

1. USA airlines desperately need to get unit revenue back to +ve growth. (DAL) (CEO) Ed Bastian said recently that the USA airline industry is experiencing the “weakest revenue environment in recent memory.” Bastian said a lack of pricing power, not weak demand, is the cause of the weak revenue environment. Indeed, USA air fares are set to fall by >5% for the 2nd straight year in 2016. Since late 2014, airline unit revenue (as measured in either (RASM) or (PRASM)) has consistently declined on a year-over-year basis quarter after quarter.

Wall Street has punished airlines for this. As much as airline executives want to dismiss unit revenue as a short-term metric that isn’t very meaningful long term, sustained declines in unit revenue simply aren’t acceptable to airline shareholders. So 2017 is all about returning to +ve unit revenue growth for the major USA airlines. As Bastian said, “capacity is a significant lever” airlines can pull to affect unit revenue performance. If the airlines stop growing, a relatively strong demand environment should lead to increased pricing power, meaning higher fares and rising unit revenue. If (AAL), (DAL) and (UAL) accomplish nothing else in 2017, they want to get back to +ve unit revenue growth (not growing is probably the best way to get that result).

2. Labor costs are rising. We appear to be entering a period of labor peace in the USA airline industry, but that peace has come at a cost. (AAL)’s expenses, for example, increased +5.2% year-over-year in the 3rd quarter, driven primarily by higher labor costs. New labor contracts mean carriers’ cost base is going to rise, and 2017 will be a year of adjustment in that regard. So not growing is a way to keep some control over those costs (more capacity would mean more employees are needed and those employees’ compensation would be higher than it would have been a year ago or 2 years ago).

3. There is a feeling among USA airline executives that fuel prices bottomed out earlier this year and will only keep rising. “Year-over-year fuel prices are expected to be higher for the remainder of the year,” (AAL) (CFO) Derek Kerr said on October 20. Year-over-year gains in fuel costs have probably been exhausted. Airlines’ fuel costs in 2017 probably won’t drop much compared to 2016, and may very well increase. USA airlines have achieved strong profits in a low fuel-cost environment. While USA airline industry leaders like (AAL) Chairman & (CEO) Doug Parker insist profitability will persist even if fuel prices rise, the carriers have to prove it. Not growing is one way airline executives can ease their nerves about rising fuel costs.

November 2016: News Item A-1: The 1st commercial passenger flights in 55 years between the USA and Havana, Cuba, departed November 28, as Fort Worth, Texas-based American Airlines (AAL) and New York-based low-cost carrier (LCC) JetBlue Airways (JBL) each launched scheduled service to the island nation’s capital.

(AAL) flight 17, a Boeing 737-800, took off from Miami International Airport at 7:41 am and landed at Havana’s José Martí International Airport at 8:25 am. (JBL) flight 243, an Airbus A321, departed New York’s (JFK) International Airport at 9:45 am and landed in Havana at 12:34 pm.

The (AAL) and (JBL) flights are the vanguard of scheduled commercial passenger service to Havana from 8 USA airlines. Havana service was also awarded to Alaska Airlines (ASA), Delta Air Lines (DAL), Frontier Airlines (FRO), Southwest Airlines (SWA), Spirit Airlines (SPR) and United Airlines (UAL).

(UAL) is scheduled to begin its Havana service from Newark Liberty International Airport on November 29, with (DAL), (SPR) and (FRO) all launching Havana service December 1. (SWA) will launch Havana service December 12. (ASA) will launch its Havana service from Los Angeles on January 5, 2017.

The USA announced the resumption of commercial passenger airline service to Cuba following the signing of an agreement between the 2 countries on February 17. The 1st commercial flights between the USA mainland and Cuba began August 31, with a (JBL) flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Santa Clara, Cuba. That same day the USA Department of Transportation awarded 8 USA airlines service routes to Havana.

January 2017: News Item A-1: United Airlines (UAL) parent United Continental Holdings reported a full-year 2016 net profit of +$2.3 billion, down -69.2% from net income of +$7.3 billion in 2015.

However, (UAL)’s 2015 earnings included a one-time $3.1 billion non-cash tax valuation benefit that skews year-over-year comparisons, especially since 2016’s earnings include a one-time tax expense of $1.5 billion. On a pre-tax basis, (UAL)'s 2016 net profit was $3.8 billion, down -9.5% from $4.2 billion on a similar basis in 2015.

(UAL)’s 2016 revenue dropped -3.5% year-over-year to $36.6 billion, while expenses decreased -1.5% to $32.2 billion, producing an operating profit of +$4.3 billion, down -16% from operating income of $5.2 billion in 2015. (UAL)’s consolidated (RASM) fell -5.4% year-over-year in 2016 to 14.4 cents, but (RASM) was down just -1.8% in the 4th quarter and President Scott Kirby said (UAL) “saw meaningful improvement in the pricing and demand environment in the quarter.” Kirby added that (UAL) anticipates 1st-quarter 2017 consolidated unit revenue to be approximately flat year-over-year.

(UAL)’s full-year 2016 had 143.18 billion passengers (+2.0%), consolidated traffic increased +0.8% year-over-year to 338.39 billion (RPM)s on a +1.4% rise in capacity to 253.6 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 82.9% LF, down -0.5 point. Freight traffic was 3.82 million, +7.3% (FLF). Yield fell -4.8% to 15 cents.

(UAL), which has made improving operational performance a priority, said it achieved the best full-year on-time performance and the lowest number of flight cancellations, delay minutes and mishandled bags in company history.

News Item A-2: United Airlines (UAL) will be one of the 1st carriers to step back from the wave of new international capacity that has been introduced in the New Zealand market. (UAL) has decided to suspend its daily San Francisco - Auckland flight between April 18 and October 30. (UAL) launched the route July 1, following American Airlines (AAL)’s introduction of Los Angeles - Auckland flights on June 25.

News Item A-3: United Airlines (UAL) has decided to retire its remaining 20 Boeing 747-400s by the end of 2017, moving up the fleet’s retirement by a year.

(UAL) had previously said it would retire its 747 fleet by the end of 2018. But President Scott Kirby said in a January 11 message posted online that “the time has come to retire our 747 fleet from scheduled service,” adding, “we plan to operate our last 747 flight in the 4th quarter of this year.”

Kirby called the fleet’s retirement “a bittersweet milestone,” noting that the 747 “once represented the state-of-the-art in air travel.” (UAL) has operated the 747 since 1970, when it started flying the airplanes between California and Hawaii. “Today, there are more fuel-efficient, cost-effective and reliable wide body airplanes that provide an updated in-flight experience for our customers traveling on long-haul flights,” Kirby said.

(UAL)’s future wide body fleet will be comprised of 787s, >30 of which are already operating in (UAL)’s network, the 777-300ER, which (UAL) is slated to place into revenue service next month, and the Airbus A350-1000, of which (UAL) has 35 on order with deliveries set to start in 2018.

2 747-422 (25158, N179UA; 26901, N197UA), last revenue flight, to Victorville for storage and 757-222 (26661, N561UA), returned to lessor, 787-9 (60141, N29968) delivery, 2 A319-132 (2901, N891UA; 3020, N895UA), AerCap leased.

February 2017: News Item A-1: United Airlines (UAL) experienced a 5-hour technological problem the morning of February 8, causing delays to “<10%, under 500 flights” of its daily schedule, according to a spokesperson. No flights were canceled as a result of the outage.

A (UAL) spokesperson said the problem affected the system allowing crews to create alternative flight plans on domestic and international flights.

(UAL) last experienced a computer glitch on January 22, which resulted in a ground stoppage that led to about 200 flight delays and 12 flight cancellations. The incidents do not appear to be related.

News Item A-2: "United Airlines (UAL) and Colombia’s Avianca (AVI) Holdings are engaged in negotiations to “deepen the companies’ commercial and strategic relations,” (UAL) said.

(UAL) said it is also in talks with Avianca Brasil (ONE). (UAL), (AVI) and Avianca Brasil (ONE) are all members of the Star (SAL) Alliance.

Details of what form the strategic partnership may take were not revealed. “The board of directors of Avianca (AVI) has authorized Avianca (AVI) to carry out all the analysis and other steps that are required for a potential strategic-commercial alliance with United Airlines (UAL),” (AVI) told regulators in Colombia, according to "Reuters."

It is unclear whether the negotiations could lead to (UAL) taking a stake in Avianca (AVI) or Avianca Brasil (ONE). (ONE) (CEO) Jose Efromovich said last year that (AVI) had “opened up the door” to a potential outside investment.

“(UAL) and (AVI) have a long history of partnership through the Star (SAL) Alliance, and we look forward to enhancing our cooperation to provide even better service for our customers,” (UAL) President Scott Kirby said. “Deepening our relationship allows us to expand on our existing Star (SAL) Alliance and strategic partnerships in the region as we continue building a great network in Latin America.”

United (UAL) took a 5% stake in Azul Brazilian Airlines (ONE) in 2015.

News Item A-3: Boeing (TBC) rolled out the 1st 787-10, the 3rd and largest variant of the 787, February 17 at its manufacturing facility in North Charleston, South Carolina. Boeing started final assembly on the 1st 787-10 in December 2016. The 787-10, which Boeing has said will have 95% commonality with the 787-9, is 18 ft/5.5 m longer.

1st deliveries are scheduled for 2018 to Singapore Airlines (SIA) and United Airlines (UAL). The 787-10’s 1st flight, powered by Rolls-Royce (RRC) (Trent 1000 TEN) engines, is expected to occur later in 2017. There are currently 149 orders for 787-10s from 9 customers.

News Item A-4: 777-322ER (62644, N2333U), ex-(N5022E) and 787-9 (60142, N15969) deliveries.

March 2017: News Item A-1: United Airlines (UAL) has significantly raised its capacity growth guidance for 2017, breaking from rivals American Airlines (AAL) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) on plans to keep growth low this year.

(UAL) now believes full-year 2017 consolidated capacity will rise +2.5% to +3.5% year-over-year, up from previous guidance of +1% to +2% growth. Domestic (ASM)s are now expected to increase +3.5% to +4.5%, up from previous guidance of +1.5% to +2.5% growth. (AAL) plans to grow system capacity just +1% in 2017 with no domestic growth, while (DAL) has promised a hard 1% cap on (ASM) growth this year.

Speaking March 15 at the JP Morgan Aviation, Transportation & Industrials Conference in New York, (UAL) (CEO) Oscar Munoz acknowledged that the announcement of higher capacity growth in 2017 has “created a little bit of angst” among investors. But he defended the added growth as “the right thing to do,” and said the change from prior guidance was the result of his new management team, led by President Scott Kirby and (CFO) Andrew Levy, having a full opportunity to review (UAL)'s network and operations after joining (UAL) in August 2016.

Munoz said a bottom-up review, which has now been completed, led (UAL)’s management team to conclude (UAL) was not utilizing its airplanes as much or as efficiently as it could. “You really lay equipment down at your cost,” he explained, noting that the higher capacity would be operated without adding new airplanes to (UAL)’s fleet plan. “We’re not buying new airplanes,” he said.

Munoz said the higher growth, particularly in the domestic market, is part of (UAL)’s strategy to offer more connecting opportunities for passengers at its hubs. Kirby has said (UAL) ceded too much of the domestic market to rivals while focusing on international flying.

Explaining the previous guidance, Munoz said (UAL) had placed too much emphasis on a “cultural philosophy that said you have to be the discipline masters around capacity.” While capacity discipline will remain important, the added growth in 2017 is the result of “unique opportunities” uncovered by the (UAL) management team’s review.

The 2017 growth will be “highly accretive,” Munoz said, noting (UAL) has also lowered its 2017 (CASM) growth guidance to 5.6% to 7.2% from 6.6% to 8.2% previously. “It’s rational beyond belief,” he said, telling investors he wanted “to allay the fears that we’re just shooting from the hip.” The decision to increase 2017 capacity growth was reached after “thoughtful study,” he said.

“This is not shoot-from-the-hip, testosterone-driven activity,” Munoz said. “It’s driven purely by analytics.”

Munoz added that (UAL) is “very, very bullish about our near-term bookings” and expected second-quarter year-over-year (PRASM) growth to be in “positive territory.”

JP Morgan analyst Jamie Baker told Munoz that the prospect of “perpetual perpetuity of increased capacity really has people worried,” and asked the (UAL) (CEO) to give investors an assurance that the latest capacity increase is a “one time” initiative. Munoz declined to do so, but promised to remain disciplined. “In a network of our size and magnitude, you’re always going to have opportunity” to increase airplane utilization and therefore capacity, Munoz explained.

“We’ve slowly began to regain trust from investors and you can’t lose that trust again,” Munoz said. “We have to prove to you that whatever we do makes money. We’re going to prove to you that we can create margin-accretive growth.”

News Item A-2: United Airlines (UAL) has unveiled a redesigned security checkpoint at Newark Liberty International Airport’s Terminal C, featuring 17 new automated screening lanes built by Luton, UK-based aviation checkpoint developer (L-3) MacDonald Humfrey.

Described as “a multi-million dollar investment by (UAL) in improving the airport experience for our customers,” the new consolidated security checkpoint was designed by Houston, Texas-based architectural firm (PGAL), which worked in conjunction with the USA Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for approvals. While (UAL) recently opened new automated screening lanes at its hubs in Chicago and Los Angeles, Newark is the 1st checkpoint in the USA to exclusively feature the new lanes, (UAL) said.

Construction on the security checkpoint began in August 2016, built in phases as sufficient lanes needed to be left open to process customers. “All of the lanes opened seven months later, in March [2017],” a UAL) spokesperson said. “That’s quick for a project of this magnitude.”

The 17 new lanes feature clear signage, larger bins, motorized conveyer belts and automated bin reload technology. Passengers can approach the checkpoint at multiple stations, which can enable them to bypass slower-moving people navigating the system. Passengers can be processed simultaneously, allowing for quicker passage through the checkpoint.

“Each bin has an (RFID) tag. If the bin is tagged for additional screening, it will automatically get diverted to a secondary line,” (TSA) acting assistant administrator, Office of Requirements and Capabilities Analysis, Steve Karoly said. “Once it goes down to the secondary screening a (TSA) officer can take the bin and snap the (RFID) tag so the x-ray of the bag comes up, automatically associated with that bin.”

(UAL) said it plans to install audio and visual “enhancements” at security checkpoints at several of its hubs this summer. (UAL) is also constructing a new customer check-in area and consolidated security screening checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport’s Terminal 7, which (UAL) expects to open later this year.

MacDonald Humfrey was acquired by New York City-based (C3ISR) systems provider (L-3) Technologies in November 2016. He now operates as part of (L-3)’s electronic systems business segment under the name (L-3) MacDonald Humfrey. The company develops aviation checkpoint security solutions, as well as process automation and collaborative robotic capabilities supporting aviation and other adjacent markets. The company is collaborating with airlines and airports in the USA to reduce checkpoint delays through development of passenger and baggage tracking systems to facilitate efficient security throughputs at airports.

April 2017: News Item A-1: "United (CEO) Munoz Vows There will be No Repeat of Bumping Incident" by (ATW) Aaron Karp aaron.karp@penton.com, April 12, 2017.

United Airlines (UAL) (CEO) Oscar Munoz said an incident like the one involving a bumped passenger being violently dragged off an airplane earlier this week “will never happen again on a (UAL) flight” and promised that law enforcement would never again be used in a similar situation.

Attempting to quell the firestorm that has engulfed (UAL) since the April 9 incident, Munoz appeared on the (ABC) News program “Good Morning America” April 12, offering contrition both for the incident and his initial response to it. The television interview with (ABC) was his 1st public appearance since the incident and his initial written statements reacting to it, which sparked widespread criticism and calls for Munoz to step down.

See attached photo - "UAL-1-Oscar Munoz - 2017-04.jpg" in Management.

“The word "shame" comes to mind,” Munoz told (ABC) when asked how he felt viewing the widely seen video of the incident, adding, “That is not who our family at (UAL) is. You saw us at a bad moment. This can never and will never happen again on a (UAL) flight. That’s my premise and that’s my promise.”

Munoz said he has not considered resigning. “I was hired to make (UAL) better and we’ve been doing that and that’s what I’ll be continuing to do,” he said. Munoz promised that a law enforcement officer would never again be used to “remove a booked, paid, seated passenger” from a (UAL) flight. “It was a system failure. We have not provided our frontline supervisors and managers with the proper tools, policies, procedures that allow them to use their common sense. They all have an incredible amount of common sense, and this issue could have been solved by that. That’s on me. I have to fix that.”

Munoz said the incentive program in which passengers on overbooked flights are offered money and other compensation to switch flights “works pretty well outside at the gate,” but acknowledged that the equation changes once a passenger is seated on an airplane.

He said he and (UAL) staff have reached out to the passenger who was dragged off of the airplane to apologize directly, but have not heard back. In the (ABC) interview, Munoz backed away from a (UAL) internal memo, widely reported by media, in which he appeared to apportion some blame to the passenger. “No, he can’t be” blamed, Munoz said. “He was a paying passenger sitting on our airplane. No one should be treated that way.”

The incident on United Express flight 3411 has led to calls for stricter regulation of airline overbooking. Speaking to reporters to discuss Delta Air Lines (DAL)’s 1st-quarter results, (CEO) Ed Bastian defended the practice and said it does not create problems if it is appropriately managed. “Overbooking is a valid business process,” Bastian said. “It’s not a question of whether you overbook. It’s how you manage an overbooking situation.” He said only 1 in 100,000 (DAL) passengers were involuntarily bumped in 2016.

Bastian said it is important to give “frontline employees the tools and flexibility to empower them at the 1st point of contact” to manage overbooking situations. “I think the key is managing it before you get to the boarding process,” he said. Bastian said more regulations are not the answer, noting that a one-size-fits-all solution would be hard to devise. “I don’t think we need additional legislation,” he said, explaining that passengers sometimes need to be bumped for reasons other than the overselling of flights and airlines need flexibility. A flight can end up overbooked because of weather-related flight delays and cancellations that force passengers to be moved from one flight to another, Bastian said. In some cases, he noted, the airline may decide to bump passengers for airplane weight and balance safety reasons.

News Item A-2: "Passenger’s Attorney Said Lawsuit Against United is Being Prepared" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, April 13, 2017.

The lawyer representing Dr David Dao, the passenger violently dragged off a United Airlines (UAL) flight April 9, said he is preparing to file a lawsuit against (UAL) for using “unreasonable force and violence” against the passenger.

Attorney Tom Demetrio said in an April 13 press conference in Chicago that Dr Dao was discharged April 12 from a hospital, where he was treated for a “significant concussion, serious broken nose and injuries to the sinuses” all suffered during the incident in which Dr Dao was dragged from an airplane after being involuntarily bumped from United Express flight 3411 as it awaited to depart Chicago O’Hare for Louisville, Kentucky.

Demetrio said he is conducting due diligence ahead of filing a lawsuit, adding there will be a court hearing April 17 in Chicago regarding the preservation of evidence related to the case. (UAL) is primarily responsible, he said, but indicated other parties could also be implicated in a lawsuit.

These could include the City of Chicago, which employed the Chicago Department of Aviation law enforcement officer who dragged Dr Dao down the aisle of the Embraer E170 aircraft, he said. Demetrio also indicated he believes a flight’s Captain is responsible for everything that happens on the aircraft. The flight 3411 pilots (FC) are employees of Republic Airways Holdings, which operated the flight under contract with (UAL).

“Here’s the law. It’s real simple. Under no circumstances can (a bumped passenger be removed from an airplane) with unreasonable force and violence,” Demetrio said, adding that (UAL) has a responsibility “to provide protection and safety to fare-paying passengers. That was not done in this case. I would defy anyone to suggest there was not unreasonable force and violence used.”

Demetrio cast the incident, which has reverberated globally, as part of a “culture” of the way airlines treat passengers. “For a long time, airlines ((UAL) in particular) have bullied us,” he said. “They have treated us less than we deserve.” Demetrio said over the last several days he has heard “hundreds of tales of woe of mistreatment from (UAL).”

Demetrio said he hopes the lawsuit will lead to an “international discussion” about how airline passengers are treated. “We’re going to be vocal about the whole subject of what we as a society believe passengers are entitled to,” he said. “Are we going to be treated like cattle and bullied? There is a culture of disrespect and rudeness. Rudeness and bullying customers has gone the next step to physical.”

Demetrio took (UAL) (CEO) Oscar Munoz to task for providing a “couple versions” of his reaction to the incident. He also noted that Munoz “hesitated” when asked in an (ABC) News television interview whether Dr Dao was partially to blame for the incident before answering that the passenger was not to blame. “The public relations (PR) problem they have isn’t just limited to this video” of the incident, Demetrio said.

Demetrio and Dr Dao’s daughter, Crystal Dao Pepper, who also appeared at the Chicago press conference, said neither Munoz nor (UAL) staff had reached out to Dao or his family, contradicting Munoz’s statement that he and (UAL) had tried to contact the passenger to apologize directly. “We were horrified and shocked and sickened” by the incident, Pepper said.

A (UAL) spokesperson said in an emailed statement that “Munoz and the company called Dr Dao on numerous occasions to express heartfelt and deepest apologies.”

“This horrible situation has provided a harsh learning experience from which we will take immediate, concrete action,” the (UAL) spokesperson said. “We have committed to our customers and our employees that we are going to fix what’s broken so this never happens again. 1st, we are committing that (UAL) will not ask law enforcement officers to remove passengers from our flights unless it is a matter of safety and security. 2nd, we’ve started a thorough review of policies that govern crew movement, incentivizing volunteers in these situations, how we handle oversold situations and an examination of how we partner with airport authorities and local law enforcement. 3rd, we will fully review and improve our training programs to ensure our employees are prepared and empowered to put our customers 1st. Our values (not just systems) will guide everything we do. We’ll communicate the results of our review and the actions we will take by April 30.”

News Item A-3: "Canada's Transport Minister: United Airlines (UAL) Incident Won't Be Tolerated" by Charmaine Noronha, Associated Press (AP), April 13, 2017.

Canada will introduce legislation to address the issue of travelers being bumped from flights, the country's Transportation Minister Marc Garneau said April 13.

Marc Garneau sent a letter to the heads of every airline flying in and out of Canada to warn them that an incident like the one that injured an American doctor earlier this week cannot happen in Canada.

The letter comes 5 days after Dr David Dao, 69, was dragged off a United Airlines (UAL) flight in Chicago after refusing to leave his seat to accommodate (UAL) airline crew members. He suffered a concussion, a broken nose and 2 missing teeth when security officers forced him off the plane against his will, banging his head on armrests in the process, according to his lawyer. He has hired lawyers who told a news conference April 13 they expected to file a lawsuit against (UAL).

Garneau's warning comes ahead of legislation to introduce a passengers' bill of rights in Canada. The legislation, expected this spring, is to outline what passengers can expect from airlines in situations such as bumping from overbooked planes or for lost or damaged luggage. "When passengers purchase an airline ticket, they expect and deserve that the airline will fulfill its part of the transaction," Garneau wrote. "When that agreement is not fulfilled, passengers are entitled to clear, transparent and enforceable compensation."

He said the legislation will be introduced in the coming weeks and that co-operation from the airlines will be essential to further improve the traveler experience.

News Item A-4: "United (1Q) Net Profit Down -69%; Munoz Calls Dr Dao Incident ‘Watershed’" by Aaron Karp, April 17, 2017.

United Airlines (UAL) (CEO) Oscar Munoz said United Express flight 3411, from which passenger Dr David Dao was violently dragged after being involuntarily bumped on April 9, “will prove to be a watershed moment for our company.”

The comment came in (UAL)’s 1st-quarter earnings release, in which (UAL) reported a net profit of +$96 million, down -69.3% from +$313 million in net income in the 2016 March quarter. Sharp rises in fuel costs and higher labor expenses appeared to drive the profit decline as growth in expenses outpaced the rate of revenue gains.

Munoz has been trying to find the right words to address the April 9 incident, which has brought intense global criticism and created a public relations crisis for United and its brand. “It is obvious from recent experiences that we need to do a much better job serving our customers,” Munoz said in an April 17 statement accompanying (UAL)’s earnings release. “The incident that took place aboard flight 3411 has been a humbling experience, and I take full responsibility. This will prove to be a watershed moment for our company, and we are more determined than ever to put our customers at the center of everything we do. We are dedicated to setting the standard for customer service among USA airlines, as we elevate the experience our customers have with us from booking to baggage claim.”

(UAL)’s 1st-quarter revenue increased +2.7% to $8.4 billion, while expenses rose +7.9% to $8.1 billion, producing an operating profit of +$278 million, down -57.2% from a +$649 million operating profit in the prior-year quarter. Aircraft fuel costs were up +28.1% year-over-year in the quarter and salaries and related costs rose +6.9%. (UAL)’s 1st-quarter consolidated traffic rose +2.2% year-over-year to 47.6 billion (RPM)s on a +2.2% increase in (ASM)s to 59.8 billion, producing a load factor of 79.6% LF, down -0.3 point. Yield increased +0.4% to 15.1 cents.

“We saw positive trends in the revenue environment in the quarter and are optimistic about the year ahead,” (UAL) President Scott Kirby said. “Looking forward, we expect 2nd-quarter consolidated (PRASM) to be up +1% to +3%. This would mark the 5th straight quarter of sequential improvement and the 1st quarter of positive [year-over-year] unit revenue growth in 2 years.”

News Item A-5: "United (CEO) Won't Add Chairman Title in 2018 as Was Planned" by David Koenig, (AP) April 21, 2017.

United Airlines (UAL) said (CEO) Oscar Munoz, who came under withering criticism for (UAL)'s handling of an April passenger-dragging incident, will not be automatically adding the title of Chairman in 2018 as planned.

(UAL) said April 21st that Munoz proposed rewriting his employment contract to remove the expectation that he would become Chairman at next year's annual meeting of parent United Continental Holdings Inc.
(UAL) also said hat Munoz received US$18.7 million in compensation last year.

Munoz was widely faulted for his early responses to the April 9 incident on board a United Express plane. He 1st blamed the 69-year-old passenger who was dragged off by airport security officers, but later apologized repeatedly for (UAL)'s handling of the situation.

The incident is under investigation by Congress and the Transportation Department. Lawyers for the passenger, Kentucky physician Dr David Dao, have hinted at a lawsuit. And there have been calls online to boycott (UAL).

Airline executives said this week it was too early to know if the widely publicized incident has affected ticket sales.

(UAL)'s board of directors has supported Munoz, according to a statement last week from Chairman Robert Milton. (UAL) said April 21 in a securities filing that management and the board "take recent events extremely seriously," and will link executive bonuses partly to "improving the customer experience."

Last month (UAL) was also criticized on social media and trolled by other airlines after a (UAL) gate agent in Denver told young girls they would have to change or cover up their leggings before being allowed to board a plane.

Munoz was named (CEO) in September 2015, replacing Jeffrey Smisek, who stepped down in the midst of an influence-trading scandal. Munoz had been on (UAL)'s board while serving as (CEO) of freight railroad (CSX) Corporation.

He has focused on improving (UAL)'s tattered relations with labor unions. (UAL) has made some strides in improving its on-time performance, canceling fewer flights and losing fewer bags. However, it still generally ranks poorly in surveys of airline travelers.

Most of Munoz's compensation last year was in stock. (UAL) said April 21st in a regulatory filing that about US$6.8 million of the total was related to a signing bonus that Munoz was promised in 2016.

May 2017: News Item A-1: United Airlines (UAL) is following Delta (DAL)’s lead and ending interline deals with Emirates (EAD) and Qatar (QTA) (but not Etihad (EHD)).

News Item A-2: United Airlines (UAL) will increase flights between San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and 8 USA destinations.

The new services include (SFO) to Seattle (10x-daily using an Airbus A320) from August 1; Albuquerque (2x-daily using an Embraer E175) from August 15; Baltimore (2x-daily with an A319) from August 15; Indianapolis (2x-daily with an A319) from August 15; Kansas City (3x-daily with an E175) from August 15; Nashville (2x-daily with an A319) from August 15; Philadelphia (3x-daily with an A319); and Portland, Oregon (9x-daily with an A319).

Additionally, (UAS) will convert select regional jet flights to larger mainline aircraft in 10 markets. These daily services include (SFO) to Burbank (Boeing 737); Calgary (A320-seasonal); Dallas (A320); Kansas City (A320-seasonal); Minneapolis (A320); Palm Springs (737); and Santa Barbara (A319), all from June 8. From July 1, (SFO) - Bozeman (A320-seasonal) services and Sacramento (737) services will begin. From August 15, daily (SFO) - Fresno 737 service will launch.

(UAL) VP (SFO) Mike Hanna said, “These additional flights and larger aircraft to new cities, and those already part of our network will offer customers even more convenient flight options and easy connections to popular destinations around the USA and Canada.”

(UAL) has approximately 300 daily departures to nearly 100 destinations from San Francisco.

News Item A-3: United Airlines (UAL) will transition Boston - San Francisco flights to “premium transcontinental” service from July 1, offering 28 lie-flat business-class (C) seats on each flight between the cities.

See photo - - "UAL-2017-06 - Lie Flat Business Seats.jpg."

(UAL)’s Boston - San Francisco flights will be operated with a mix of Boeing 757s and 777s. The route joins New York Newark - San Francisco and Newark - Los Angeles as (UAL) transcontinental routes featuring lie-flat business-class (C) seats.

In addition, (UAL) said business-class (C) passengers on all 3 premium transcontinental routes will be offered new amenities starting July 1, including new dessert offerings and pre-arrival hot towel service and pre-arrival snacks. Also starting in July, economy plus (PY) passengers on the 3 routes will get meal service “including a complimentary hot fresh entrée, dessert and fruit, a pre-arrival snack and alcoholic beverages,” (UAL) said.

(UAL) VP Marketing Mark Krolick added, “Flying between Boston or the New York area and the west coast can be akin to flying from the east coast to Europe, and we want to provide a satisfying and unparalleled meal in our economy (Y) cabin. This enhancement to economy plus (PY) is our 1st step toward a premium economy (PY) offering for our customers.”

American Airlines (AAL) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) have brought back no-fee meals for all economy (Y) passengers on select transcontinental flights.

News Item A-4: "Just Get It Right!" by Victoria Moores victoria.moores@penton.com in "Need I say Moores," May 25, 2017.

Almost every day recently there has been a new headline about "an airline getting it wrong," but a recent study revealed that North American passengers are apparently happier than ever!

One day, it’s a lost guitar, the next it’s leggings, overbooking and giant rabbits. The airline industry is fertile ground for the tabloids right now. And yet despite these incidents, the recent "(JD) Power 2017 North America Airline Satisfaction Study*" revealed that airline customer satisfaction has reached its highest level ever (up +30 points to 756 out of 1,000), continuing a 5-year trend. Why?

For 1 thing, the survey data was collected between April 2016 and March 2017, which was before the recent media frenzy began. Maybe the 2018 study will shed more light on this apparent contradiction?

I am reluctant to believe that the recent media splashes reflect day-to day-reality. To draw a poor parallel, when a person goes into hospital for a minor operation and comes out with a super-bug, that’s what captures the headlines, forgetting the millions of people who emerge from hospital safe and well. The same is true for the millions of passengers who have good journeys and safely reach their destination without incident.

My feeling is there are bad apples on both sides. Some airline Customer Service staff simply shouldn’t be Customer Service staff. Airlines absolutely have to treat their customers with care and respect. I regularly fly as a passenger and have been appalled by staff attitudes at times. Some passengers are undoubtedly badly treated and their case should be heard, but others are looking to whip up a social media storm, stirring public outrage for their own gain and fame. Customers know the power of social media and they are not afraid to use it. After all, "they are always right!"

Equally, I’ve worked in front line airline Customer Service roles and I know, 1st-hand, that it is a tough job. Trying to smile and be polite in the face of extreme provocation is hard work. Safety is the absolute bottom line when it comes to air travel. Sometimes crew members have to insist on procedures, which often seem overly rigid, but are required by law. These jobs are often poorly paid (the people who are ‘paid enough to get shouted at’ are usually not the ones who are actually getting shouted at).

There is also a misconception that because airlines fly expensive assets around the world with elite premium products, they have deep pockets. The industry may seem wealthy, but this is simply not true.

The situation is made worse by regulators who have bad personal experiences, prompting them to slap more and more rules on an already highly regulated industry. Aviation’s strength is also its weakness. The industry is alluring and interesting. Being well traveled gives people a high profile in both work and leisure circles, meaning everyone has a view and they are very willing to share it.

But strong incentives for good practice are already there. Competition is fierce, particularly in Europe, and consolidation means bigger, more powerful players battling it out among themselves (not milder rivalry). And, just as the cost of fuel is incentive enough for the industry to be green, the cost of lost market share is incentive enough to give good service, or face the consequences.

Many of the things which trigger the most complaints are also misunderstood. Airlines have become extremely unpopular for packing passengers tightly into their metal tubes and charging add-on fees for just about everything, but these measures are an absolute necessity to deliver the low fares that passengers love. The industry is safer and cheaper than ever before; that’s a huge and often overlooked achievement.

My feeling is that most passengers are simply after a safe and uneventful journey. If it’s better than that, fantastic. Maybe that’s the view that the majority of people in this survey were trying to convey, but as the media coverage clearly shows, there is definitely room for improvement. According to the "(JD) Power" research, airlines are still lagging well behind other Customer Service industries.

Ultimately, passengers just want airlines to get it right. That is not a simple ask, but it is undoubtedly what airlines want also.

* The survey measures performance in 7 areas, including booking, price, ground operations and in-flight service. The findings were from a sample of 11,015 business and leisure travelers who flew on a major North American airline between March 2016 and March 2017.

News Item A-5: "Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Boosts American Airlines, Southwest Airlines Holdings" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, May 16, 2017.

Berkshire Hathaway bought more shares of American Airlines (AAL) and Southwest Airlines (SWA) in the 2017 1st quarter. USA airlines have pointed to Berkshire’s investments in the industry as evidence of its newfound strength, citing Berkshire (CEO) Warren Buffett’s past criticism of airlines as investment vehicles.

According to a USA Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) filing, during the 1st quarter, Berkshire raised its stake in Southwest (SWA) by +10% to 47.7 million shares and in American (AAL) by +8.2% to 49.3 million shares.

It also lowered its stake in Delta Air Lines (DAL) by -8.3% to 55 million shares. The company’s investment in United Airlines (UAL), in which it holds 29 million shares, did not change from the previous quarter. Berkshire now holds stock in the 4 largest USA airlines valued at a total of $9.2 billion.

News Item A-6: "The (FAA) Proposes $435,000 Fine Against United Over 787 Inspection Issue" by (ATW) Aaron Karp aaron.karp@penton.com, May 31, 2017.

The (FAA) has proposed a $435,000 civil penalty against United Airlines (UAL) for allegedly operating a 787-8 “that was not in an airworthy condition” 23 times in 2014. The (FAA) alleged (UAL) failed to perform a required inspection on a fuel pump that was replaced on the 787 on June 9, 2014. The replaced fuel pump had to be inspected before the 787 returned to service, the (FAA) said.

But “(UAL) operated the 787 on 23 domestic and international passenger flights before performing the required inspection on June 28, 2014,” the (FAA) alleged, adding, “2 of those flights allegedly occurred after the (FAA) had notified (UAL) that it had not performed the inspection. The (FAA) alleges the airplane was not airworthy during all 23 of the flights.”

(UAL) said that safety is its “top priority.” On the issue for which the (FAA) is proposing the fine, (UAL) stated, “We immediately took action after identifying the issue and are working closely with the (FAA) in their review.”

(FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta said “Maintaining the highest levels of safety depends on operators closely following all applicable rules and regulations. Failing to do so can create unsafe conditions.”
The (FAA) said (UAL) has asked to meet with the (FAA) to discuss the case.

(UAL) was the North American launch operator for the 787 and now has >30 in its fleet, a mix of 787-8s and 787-9s.

The (FAA) has proposed a $435,000 civil penalty against United Airlines (UAL) for allegedly operating a Boeing 787-8 “that was not in an airworthy condition” 23 times in 2014.

The (FAA) alleged Chicago-based (UAL) failed to perform a required inspection on a fuel pump that was replaced on the 787 on June 9, 2014. The replaced fuel pump had to be inspected before the airplane returned to service, the (FAA) said.

But “(UAL) operated the 787 on 23 domestic and international passenger flights before performing the required inspection on June 28, 2014,” the (FAA) alleged, adding, “2 of those flights allegedly occurred after the (FAA) had notified (UAL) that it had not performed the inspection. The (FAA) alleged the 787 was not airworthy during all 23 of the flights.”

(UAL) said that safety is its “top priority.” On the issue for which (FAA) is proposing the fine, (UAL) stated, “We immediately took action after identifying the issue and are working closely with the (FAA) in their review.”

(FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta said “Maintaining the highest levels of safety depends on operators closely following all applicable rules and regulations. Failing to do so can create unsafe conditions.” The (FAA) said (UAL) has asked to meet with the (FAA) to discuss the case.

(UAL) was the North American launch operator for the 787 and now has >30 in its fleet, a mix of 787-8s and 787-9s.

June 2017: News Item A-1: United Airlines (UAL) will increase flights on 11 routes connecting the continental USA and Hawaii to 40x-daily. In addition, beginning this summer, (UAL) will offer lie-flat seating on all Boeing 777-200 flights between Hawaii and 5 (UAL) hubs of Chicago, Denver, Houston, New York-Newark, and Washington DC.

Beginning December 20, (UAL) will increase service from its hubs in Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles and San Francisco to Hawaii. (UAL) will continue operating its daily nonstop service to Honolulu from all 7 hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco, Washington DC, plus Guam, and Tokyo.

From December 20, new service increases include:

* Denver (DEN) to Kona (KOA), Lihue (LIH) and Maui (OGG) will increase from seasonal to daily year-round service.

* Daily Chicago (ORD) - (OGG) service will increase to 5x-weekly, year-round.

* 5x-weekly Los Angeles (LAX) - Hilo (ITO) service will increase to daily.

* Daily (LAX) - (KOA) service will increase to 2x-daily.

* Daily (LAX) - (LIH) service will increase to 2x-daily.

* 2x-daily (LAX) - (OGG) service will increase to 3x-daily.

* 2x-daily San Francisco (SFO)- (KOA) will increase to 3x-daily.

* Daily (SFO) - (LIH) service will increase to 2x-daily, year round.

* 3x-daily (SFO) - (OGG) service will increase to 5x-daily.

News Item A-2: "Upbeat (CEO) Promises United will become World’s Best Airline" by Karen Walker karen.walker@penton.co, June 15, 2017.

An upbeat and energized United Airlines (UAL) (CEO) Oscar Munoz told a New York audience on June 15 that his company’s mission was to become the "best airline in the world!"

Munoz touched briefly on the April 9 incident in which a passenger was injured when he was forcibly dragged off a United Express aircraft to make room for Flight Crew (FC), but the main focus of his June 15 speech at the Wings Club in New York was his aspirations for (UAL)’s future.

Sounding confident and positive about (UAL)’s future, even making jokes and giving some personal insights into his journey since becoming (UAL)’s (CEO) in 2015, Munoz said the big takeaways were that “our mission is very clear—to be the best employer, have the best customer service and to become the best airline in the world.”

He described in detail the transformation plan that he initiated when he came on board to achieve that mission. It began, he said, with sitting down with employees, listening to them and realizing that they had lost trust in the company’s leadership. The 1st initiative he took was “to change the conversation from ‘what’s wrong at (UAL) to a more exciting and energetic ‘what’s next?’”

It began with some simple things, such as improving staff break rooms and serving decent coffee to customers.

Munoz confided that when he was in a “near-death situation” with a heart medical emergency, “I kept saying, I don’t have time for this; just because your heart stops doesn’t mean the world does.” Right after he was notified that a suitable donor heart had been found for a transplant (something he had to keep confidential, Munoz told his executive team he would see them on the other side). “It’s wonderful to be on this side rather than the other side,” he said, adding that he returned to work just one-and-a-half weeks after the surgery.

With a new board and a new set of executives, which he described as “an all-star team,” Munoz said he was convinced they would be able to solve “the puzzle that is (UAL)’s network, and that is something that has never been solved.”

The strategy is to grow by improving the network and margins. “The company was docile in terms of its marketplace and we will be more assertive. We will take advantage of the resources and assets we already have,” Munoz said. The (CEO) described the new labor contracts he secured across the company as a $1 billion investment well worth the price because there are high hidden costs related to a discontented work force. “We didn’t give away the farm; we now have some of the best labor relations, and therefore some of the most motivated employees,” he said.

But Munoz conceded that (UAL) (and the industry in general) needed to get a deeper sense of customer service. “That means a lot of things to a lot of people. Primarily, people want frequency, reliability and cost,” he said. It also requires more flexibility; Munoz acknowledged the discipline and rigor necessary for safety has made the industry inflexible in its customer service practices. “The rules say ‘no’; there’s an intractable element.”

He did not give a timeline for when that more flexible approach would be a reality, saying it would be a continuous effort and (UAL) was working on it “expeditiously.”

Finally, Munoz urged the new USA Administration to press ahead with air traffic control (ATC) system modernization. (UAL) was “firing on all 4 cylinders” in terms of operational performance, he said, but it was “like driving Ferraris on gravel” for as long as the USA (ATC) system is managed by a government agency.

News Item A-3: Cobham Satcom was selected by United Airlines (UAL) to supply SwiftBroadband-Safety flight deck communications platform (via Aviator 300D Satcom) for evaluation on 4 Boeing 767s.

July 2017: News Item A-1: United Airlines (UAL) is boosting its long-haul service from San Francisco (SFO) and New York/Newark (EWR) with +3 additional flights, as (UAL) continues to enter into service its 1st group of Boeing 777-300ERs delivered since December 2016.

The new flights include (SFO) to Beijing (PEK) from September 7; (SFO) to Frankfurt (FRA) from October 5 and (EWR) to Tokyo Narita (NRT) from October 28. (UAL) will begin 777-300ER service between (SFO) and Taipei (TPE) from August 1.

(UAL) is already flying its 777-300ERs on routes between (SFO) and Hong Kong (HKG); (SFO) and Tokyo Narita (NRT); and (EWR) and Tel Aviv (TLV).

(UAL)'s initial 777-300ER order comprised 14 airplanes; as of May 31, (UAL) has taken delivery of 9. (UAL) said it expects to place all 14 into service by the end of 2017.

At the Paris Air Show in June, (UAL) announced an order for +4 777-300ERs.

News Item A-2: United Airlines (UAL) will begin 3x-weekly Rome (FCO) - New York Newark (EWR) Boeing 767 service from November 9 - December 19 and January 9, 2018 - March 7, 2018; and daily, (FCO) - (EWR) service from December 20 - January 8, 2018 and March 8, 2018 - October 27, 2018.

August 2017: News Item A-1: United Airlines (UAL) will launch commercial passenger services from Paine Field in Everett, Washington State (with 6x-daily flights to its hubs in Denver and San Francisco) n the fall of 2018. “Bringing new service to Paine Field offers customers more ways to conveniently connect to the country’s largest business and leisure destinations,” (UAL) President Worldwide Sales Dave Hilfman said.

Originally constructed by the Works Progress Administration in 1936 to create jobs and economic growth in the region, the Snohomish County Airport quickly grew and served as an alternate-day landing field, and in 1939 (UAL) operated the 1st commercial flight from the airport.

Paine Field has since become the center of Boeing’s production facilities.

Chicago-based (UAL) said it operates 36 flights between Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and its USA hubs. N Seattle and NW Washington are among the fastest-growing areas in the nation.

(UAL) is set to join Alaska Airlines (ASA) in starting regular passenger services out of Everett Snohomish County Airport, (Paine Field) in 2018.

News Item A-2: United Airlines (UAL) has become the 2nd airline to serve Columbia (COU) in Missouri, with the Star (SAL) Alliance member on August 1 beginning a 2x-daily service from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and a daily link from Denver (DEN).

News Item A-3: In March 2018, Qantas (QAN) will start Perth to London, the world's longest 787 flight, surpassing previously longest United Airlines (UAL)'s Singapore to Los Angeles. The 1,075 km link to Denver will not face any direct competition. However, the 505 km link from O’Hare is already served by American Airlines (AAL) (13x-weekly), with the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance member also serving Columbia from Dallas/Fort Worth. (UAL) started serving the airport in 2013.

Both of (UAL)’s new routes will be flown by (UAL)’s 50-seat CRJ 200s.

News Item A-4: Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and Houston Hobby Airport (HOU) were closed because of severe flooding in Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, significantly affecting United Airlines (UAL) and Southwest Airlines (SWA). >5,000 flight cancellations in the USA are estimated as a result of the hurricane so far.

All scheduled flights to/from the 2 Houston airports were suspended at 12 pm local time on August 27. According to Airlines for America (A4A), (HOU) will remain closed until 8 am August 30 and (IAH) will remain closed until 12 pm August 31. (UAL) has a major hub at (IAH), while (HOU) is a key airport in (SWA)’s network.

(SWA) said all of its flights at (HOU) are canceled at least through August 29. The Houston Airport System, which operates both airports, said “flooding” had necessitated the closing of both inbound and outbound roads to/from (IAH). It added that “all roads leading into” (HOU) have been closed because of “high water.”

Flights are “stopped until further notice,” (IAH) stated on its Twitter feed. “We are doing everything we can to resume operations once it’s safe to do so.”

(UAL) (>58%) and (SWA) (>22%) have a >80% market share combined at the 2 Houston airports, according the Houston Airport System. (UAL) has >4,000 weekly departures from (IAH); (SWA) has nearly 900 weekly departures from (HOU).

(SWA) confirmed that it flew 486 passengers stranded at (HOU) to Dallas on August 27 on 5 flights specially approved by the (FAA). "A large portion of those [passengers] had Dallas as their final destination and we put the other [passengers] in a hotel overnight and are working to accommodate them to their final destination out of [Dallas] Love Field today. We currently have 10 airplanes on the ground at Hobby and we are actively working to secure flight crews (FC) to transport those airplanes to other (SWA) airports."

(UAL) said it has waived the change fee and any difference in fare for flights to/from (IAH) and a number of other Texas airports for flights scheduled between August 25 and September 13, 2017. Other airlines serving Houston have followed suit ((SWA) does not charge change fees).

(IAH) handled 41.4 million passengers in the Houston Airport System’s most recent fiscal year ended June 30, 2017. (HOU) handled 13.3 million passengers during the fiscal year.

(SWA) financed a $156 million (HOU) international concourse that opened in 2015.

Since Hurricane Harvey reached land in Texas, the ensuing flooding has forced the delay or cancellation of >12,000 flights across the USA, mostly in hardest-hit Houston and nearby airports.

From Saturday August 26 through Monday morning, the storm delayed 7,547 flights across the country and forced the cancellation of 4,539 flights.

A vast majority of those delays and cancellations have been for flights in and out of George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. As of Monday morning, access to the airport for travelers and airline staff has been hampered by flooded streets.

Harvey (which has dwindled into a tropical storm) has sent ripples throughout the nation's air transport system. >110 flights from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport were canceled or delayed Monday morning, as were nearly 100 flights from Los Angeles International Airport.

The storm has ravaged a swath of the Gulf Coast, but its effect on airline service has been moderate compared with natural disasters that have hit the East Coast, which is home to the nation's busiest airspace.

In 2012, Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast, forcing the cancellation of >18,000 flights in a 5 day period, with thousands of other flights delayed nationwide. Hurricane Irene forced the cancellation of about 15,000 flights, plus many delays, in August 2011.

United Continental Holdings is likely to take at least a -$265 million financial hit from Hurricane Harvey because of (UAL)'s reliance on Houston as one of its biggest hubs. Flights at (UAL), the 3rd-largest USA carrier will decline an estimated -1.5% in the current quarter because of the storm, with little opportunity to recoup lost sales, Helane Becker of Cowen & Company said. Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport accounts for about 17% of (UAL)'s capacity.

The projected losses would more than double the -US$125 million blow Delta Air Lines (DAL) suffered when it canceled about 4,000 flights after April storms in Atlanta. Harvey probably also will prove more troubling than Hurricane Ike in 2008, which cost Continental Airlines (CAL) -US$50 million 2 years before it merged with (UAL), Becker said.

Harvey "seems more powerful and impactful," she wrote. Sandy, the storm that hit New York in 2012, "is probably the best comp, given the impact lingered beyond just the initial airport closings. After the airports opened, there was rebuilding to be done, and people just didn't travel for a while."

(UAL) hasn't issued guidance to investors about the storm's impact yet. "Our focus right now is on resuming operations out of Houston and helping our customers and employees."

* Shares Slip

(UAL) fell less than -1% to US$62.70 at 12:56 pm in New York after a similar drop on August 28. The shares tumbled -13% this year through August 28, more than 2x- the decline of (DAL) and 3x- the slide of the American Airlines (AAL) Group.

Southwest Airlines (SWA) will probably take a -US$77 million hit in the 3rd quarter because of its major presence at Houston's William P Hobby airport, Becker said. Discounter Spirit Airlines (SPR) is in line for -US$11 million in storm-related losses, she said.

The total blow adds up to -US$353 million for the 3 airlines, assuming the airports reopen August 31. Intercontinental is expected be reopen no sooner than the middle of that day, while Hobby may reopen Wednesday, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

A computer outage last year led to a -US$150 million hit for (DAL).

(UAL) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Oscar Munoz is pledging as much as US$1 million of his own money to match donations to (UAL)'s employee-relief fund in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The (CEO) encouraged workers to contribute to its "United We Care" fund for storm-stricken employees in a letter written August 28, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.

"We are all in this together, which is why I will personally match your contributions dollar-for-dollar up to US$1 million," Munoz said, according to the letter, a copy of which was seen by Bloomberg. (UAL)
and its customers have also raised >US$1 million for a broader public relief effort for Houston, which included a US$200,000 contribution by (UAL), said a spokesman for the company. (UAL)'s hub at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport has been closed since Sunday August 27 and is likely to reopen Thursday afternoon, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

United Continental Holdings was formed after a merger with Houston-based Continental Airlines (CAL) in 2010.

News Item A-5: Azul Brazilian Airlines (AZL) will add +2 more Brazil - Florida routes in December and has reached an expanded code share agreement with New York-based JetBlue Airways (JBL).

(AZL) currently serves both Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, Florida daily from its São Paulo base and Orlando from Recife, Brazil. In December, it will launch daily Airbus A330 flights between Belo Horizonte, Brazil and Orlando and daily A320neo flights between Belem, Brazil and Fort Lauderdale.

(AZL)’s other long-haul international destination is Lisbon, to which it flies from São Paulo. The growing international network is aimed at connecting Brazilian passengers to (AZL)’s code share partners.

Azul (AZL) has code share agreements in place with United Airlines (UAL), which owns a stake in (AZL), and (TAP) Portugal, in which (AZL) owns a stake. Building on a prior interline deal with JetBlue (JBL) (also founded by (AZL) Founder David Neeleman) (AZL)l and (JBL) have agreed to put (AZL)’s code on JetBlue (JBL) flights between several destinations and Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.

Azul (AZL) and JetBlue (JBL) had announced an agreement last year to enable (AZL) codes to be placed on some (JBL) flights, but an (AZL) spokesperson said the new deal is more expansive. “Our systems are more integrated now,” the spokesperson said.

(AZL)’s international flying “is strong,” (AZL) Chief Revenue Officer Abhi Manoj Shah told analysts and reporters on August 14. “The [international] unit revenues are up year-over-year. The strengthening of the local currency is encouraging Brazilians to travel to North America and Europe more. We want to fly from where we are strong [in Brazil] to where our partners are strong, where (JBL), (UAL) and (TAP) are strong.”

News Item A-6: United Airlines (UAL) has confirmed it will shift its entire fleet of 16 767-400ERs to its Newark base with the onset of the Northern Winter 2017/ 2018 season.

September 2017: News Item A-1: United Continental Holdings Inc on September 6 said 3rd-quarter results will be sharply lower than previously forecast, as Hurricane Harvey and geopolitical tensions between the USa and North Korea weigh on (UAL)'s performance.

"Harvey" was the largest operational disruption in (UAL)'s history, it said, and will drag 3rd-quarter passenger unit revenue to down between 3% and 5%, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Andrew Levy said at the Cowen & Co Global Transportation Conference.

Prior to the storm, (UAL) had forecast that the closely watched performance metric would be flat in the 3rd quarter. Levy also blamed the standoff between the USA and North Korea, including North Korea's threat to fire missiles near US territory Guam, for some depressed performance.

"The closure of our Houston hub because of Harvey is estimated to have a significant negative impact on our 3rd-quarter financial results. Jet fuel prices have increased, even more so after Harvey, and our revenue is below our initial forecast due to a variety of reasons," Levy said in a letter to United (UAL) employees.

Shares fell as much as -1.9% to US$59.94 in midday trading on the news.

Harvey has weighed on the USA travel industry after it destroyed homes and businesses in Texas, especially in Houston, flooding entire neighborhoods and grinding travel in and out of the region to a halt. An estimated 60 people lost their lives.

Operations at (UAL)'s 2nd largest hub, George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, were suspended for >4 days, forcing >7,400 flight cancellations.

United (UAL) now projects flight capacity will be slightly lower, between 3% and 3.5%, from its earlier forecast of 4%.

"Look, we lost a lot of revenue," Levy said at the conference, adding that (UAL) will only be able to recoup a small amount of the losses in other markets. "We had to just walk away from a large amount of revenue during what is an important period of the year for us."

The USA airline industry, still recovering from Harvey, is bracing for more disruptions as Hurricane Irma approaches Puerto Rico and the USA mainland.

By September 6, numerous flights and cruises were canceled, but as Irma's path becomes clearer in the next few days, more cancellations are likely, costing the industry millions of dollars more on top of already soaring costs.

News Item A-2: United Airlines (UAL) is looking to increase its service between Houston, Texas and Havana, Cuba from Saturday (only to daily flights, and on September 26 filed an application for USA Department of Transportation (DOT) approval.

(UAL) is pushing the trade potential for the route, citing “Houston [as] a large exporter of raw materials that are high in demand in Cuba, including building materials, drainage and water supply systems, and parts and services related to the oil and gas industry, the Port of Houston exports grains, soybeans, corn and chicken to Cuba, and Houston’s central USA location makes the city a prime location for further trade development.”

In August, the Houston region experienced significant destruction and damage from flooding related to Hurricane Harvey. Local and federal government officials in Texas voiced support for (UAL)’s plan to increase flights between Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport.

(UAL) intends to use either Boeing 737-800 main airplanes or Embraer E175 regional aircraft on the route.

(UAL) opened its Saturday-only route between Houston and Havana in December 2016 as part of a wave of new commercial passenger flights to Cuba were launched following the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the USA and Cuba. However, by mid-2017 overcapacity and a dearth of customers soon caused many of the airlines caught up in the scramble (American Airlines (AAL), Southwest Airlines (SWA), Frontier Airlines (FRO), Spirit Airlines (SPR) and regional carrier Silver Airlines among them) to either trim or cancel service to the island altogether.

News Item A-3: United Air Lines (UAL) announced its last Boeing 747 flight will be November 7 from San Francisco to Honolulu.

SEE PHOTO - "UAL-747-400 - "Queen of the Skies" 2017-09.jpg."

See video:

News Item A-4: United Airlines (UAL) has converted an order for 35 Airbus A350-1000s to 45 of the smaller A350-900s, updating a previously existing deal made at the 2013 Paris Air Show.

The A350 XWB order will replace older, less efficient aircraft, supporting future growth of (UAL), Airbus (EDS) said.

“For the past year, (UAL) has done a complete review to ensure that we have the right long-term fleet strategy, and it was clear that the A350 aligns with our replacement needs and our network,” (UAL) (CFO) Andrew Levy said. “The combination of the range performance and efficiencies make the A350 an attractive aircraft for (UAL).”

Deliveries of the aircraft are being deferred until late 2022 through 2027. According to (UAL) Executive VP & (CFO) Andrew Levy, delivery of the A350-900s will be aligned to potential retirements, with the A350-900 being "a good replacement aircraft for the Boeing 777-200ER fleet," which will begin to reach 25 years of age in 2022.

In June, (UAL) converted 100 of its previous Boeing 737 MAX orders to the new 737 MAX 10 variant. The conversion made (UAL) the largest single 737 MAX 10 customer.

October 2017: News Item A-1: "Falling United (3Q) Profit Margins prompt 12% Investor Selloff" by Mark Nensel (ATW) Plus, Oct 19, 2017.

United Airlines (UAL) posted a +$637 million net profit for the 2017 3rd quarter on October 18, down -34% from (3Q) 2016 as (UAL) weathered an estimated $210 million loss in revenue from the August to September hurricanes and faced increased competition from ultra low cost carriers (ULCC)s. Last year, (UAL) posted a +$965 million net profit for the 2016 September quarter. (UAL) reported a pre-tax margin of 10.4% for the quarter, down 5.3 points year-over-year (YOY).

News Item A-2: United Airlines (UAL) launched its longest route from Los Angeles (LAX) on October 27, a 14,096 km link to Singapore (SIN), beating (UAL)’s current route to Melbourne from the Californian hub which has a sector length of 12,751 km. Flown on (UAL)’s 787-9s with a daily rotation, this becomes (UAL)’s 2nd non-stop route to Singapore from the USA after San Francisco.

Another long-haul sector launched by (UAL) this month is the 8,541 km link from New York Newark (EWR) to Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE), Argentina, a route that will be served by (UAL)’s fleet of 767-400s. Launched on October 28, the daily connection from Newark down to Argentina will face no direct competition, with (UAL)’s new USA - Asia service also not facing any incumbents. It should be noted that United already offers daily flights to Ezeiza from Houston Intercontinental on its 777-200s.

News Item A-3: North American airlines are facing headwinds in 2017 that are lowering operating margins compared to 2015 and 2016, but air travel demand in the region remains strong and the overall industry outlook remains stable, according to Fitch Ratings. In a new report issued Oct. 23, Fitch analysts said higher wages, higher jet fuel prices and “intense competition” are leading to “weaker operating margins and deterioration in credit metrics for North American carriers.

News Item A-4: Goodbye last (UAL) 747!
SEE VIDEO: https://www.facebook.com/United/videos/1520560727981464/

December 2017: News Item A-1: United Airlines (UAL) named Kate Gebo as Executive VP Human Resources & Labor Relations, succeeding the retiring Mike Bonds.

January 2018: News Item A-1: United Airlines (UAL) will begin 2x-daily Chicago to Bismarck, North Dakota Embraer ERJ service; daily Denver (DEN) to Appleton, Wisconsin Bombardier CRJ service; daily (DEN) to Norfolk, Virginia Airbus A319 service; daily Houston (HOU) to Akron/Canton, Ohio ERJ service; daily (HOU) to Dayton, Ohio ERJ service; daily Los Angeles to Eureka, California CRJ service; and daily San Francisco to Madison, Wisconsin Embraer E175 service, all on June 7.

News Item A-2: United Airlines (UAL) named Michael Leskinen as Managing Director Investor Relations. He replaces Julie Stewart, who was recently promoted to Chief of Staff to (UAL) (CEO) Oscar Munoz.

News Item A-3: 3 more carriers are banning so-called smart bags from being checked into luggage holds unless the bag’s integrated lithium battery can be removed and carried separately.

Las Vegas-based (LCC) Allegiant Airlines (WJE), Hawaiian Airlines (HWI) and Chicago-based United Airlines (UAL) have announced the new rules will take effect January 15.

They follow similar actions by other carriers including Air Canada (ACN), Alaska Airlines (ASA), Dallas/Fort Worth-based American Airlines (AAL), British Airways (BAB), Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT), Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines (DAL), Etihad Airways (EHD), Qantas Airways (QAN), Qatar Airways (QTA), Southwest Airlines (SWA) and Virgin Australia (VOZ).

Smart bags use lithium ion batteries to power electronics and embedded tracking and self-weigh devices. There is increasing concern, however, about lithium ion batteries causing runaway fires in cargo holds unless devices are properly stored and separated from items that could worsen a fire, such as cans of inflammable liquids.

The (FAA), (NTSB) and (ICAO) have issued warnings on the potential hazards associated with lithium ion batteries and guidelines to minimize fire risks.

Passengers are being told they can check their smart bag only if the battery can be removed and taken on board separately as carry-on.

News Item A-4: "The Open Skies ‘Big Deal’ That Isn’t" by Karen Walker (karen.walker@informa.com) in (ATW) Editor's Blog January 30, 2018.

American (AAL), Delta (DAL) and United (UAL) still have little to show for the millions of dollars they’ve spent on publicity campaigns and legal work aimed at curtailing the growth of Emirates (EAD), Etihad (EHD) and Qatar Airways (QTA).

While the USA airline (CEO)s and (ALPA) have issued press statements akin to victory claims, the reality is that the new USA - Qatar “understandings on civil aviation” pact, announced this month by USA Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, changes nothing about the "Open Skies" agreement between the 2 countries or Qatar Airways (QTA)’s operations to the USA.

To summarize, in return for not renegotiating the "Open Skies" deal, the Qatari government has agreed that (QTA) will release an audited financial statement within a year and assured Washington that the Doha-based airline has “no current plans” to operate 5th freedom flights to the USA.

How useful that audited statement will be to the USA carriers is anybody’s guess, but there seems to be a wide margin for interpretation of how to deliver that concession. And (QTA) does not operate 5th freedom flights to the USA (although it could do so under the "Open Skies" agreement, if it wished), so nothing changes there and the Qatari government’s assurance on this is even vaguer than the financial transparency pledge.

Tillerson’s statement was also cloaked in diplomatic assurances, emphasizing that Qatar was “a strong partner and a longtime friend of the USA,” with whom the USA is keen to deepen its strategic ties and cooperation in areas that include trade, security and counterterrorism.

The most important part of today’s statement, however, is what wasn’t mentioned: the (UAE), Emirates (EAD) and Etihad (EHD). The USA is apparently hopeful of reaching the same type of amicable handshake with the (UAE), which is unquestionably as important a strategic partner as Qatar. But the (UAE) is in a diplomatic standoff with Qatar, so there’s no reason to believe that where Qatar goes, so will the (UAE). Even more problematic, Emirates (EAD) (the world's largest international airline) does operate 5th freedom flights (via Italy and Greece) to the USA. Would a USA “civil aviation understanding” with the (UAE) require (EAD) to give those up?

Even if the (UAE) and (EAD) were to make such a concession, would they do so while still permitting USA cargo carriers to operate 5th freedom flights out of Dubai?

But let’s hypothesize that an agreement is forged with the (UAE) similar to Qatar’s. What, in reality, have (AAL), (DAL) and (UAL) achieved for their money? The "Open Skies" agreements will remain intact (a good thing, in this editor’s view); the Gulf carriers will maintain their current direct schedules to the USA; and, if they wish and if slots are available, those airlines can continue to expand their USA destination networks.

Meanwhile, the consolidated USA majors will continue to control some 80% of the USA domestic market (into which foreign carriers, including the Gulf carriers, cannot venture because of USA cabotage laws) and will maintain their dominant, anti-trust protected positions in the transatlantic market with their European partners, Air France (AFA) - (KLM), British Airways (BAB), Lufthansa (DLH) and Virgin Atlantic (VAA).

3 years on, with millions of dollars and a lot of rhetoric spent, (AAL), (DAL) and (UAL) seem to have achieved only 1 thing: securing the status quo.

February 2018: News Item A-1: "United Leads List of On-time USA Airlines" by Ben Mutzabaugh, "USA TODAY" February 10, 2018.

United Airlines (UAL) jumped to the top spot in the latest USA government rankings for on-time performance, moving up from its 5th-place finish in the month prior.

Delta Air Lines (DAL), the previous No 1, dropped to 2nd. (DAL) had been hit by 2 major schedule disruptions in Atlanta, its busiest hub. An unusual snowstorm and a power outage affected the airport.

Showing significant improvements were Alaska Airlines (ASA) and merger partner Virgin America (VUS), which jumped to No 3 and No 4, respectively. They were the 2 lowest-rated airlines during the previous month.

The ratings are for December 2017, the latest month for which the federal data is available. The federal government counts a flight as on time if it arrives no more than 14 minutes behind schedule. The federal data looks at the 12 biggest USA airlines. It also breaks out separately the regional carriers the fly under the brands of their major partners.

See the following Federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics in its latest Consumer Air Travel Report:

1. United Airlines (UAL), 84.6% (Previous month: No. 5).

2. Delta Air Lines (DAL) 83.5% (1).

3. Alaska Airlines (ASA), 83.4% (11).

4. Virgin America (VUS), 82.5% (12).

5. American Airlines (AAL), 82.0% (4).

6. Hawaiian Airlines (HWI), 80.8% (3).

7. Spirit Airlines (SPR), 80.4% (2).

8. Southwest Airlines (SWA), 79.1% (6).

9. SkyWest Airlines, 76.5% (10) (Regional Operator).

10. ExpressJet, 76.4% (8) (Regional Operator).

11. Frontier Airlines (FRO), 75.8% (9).

12. JetBlue Airways (JBL), 74.1% (7).

Total for all covered airlines: 80.3%.

Contributor: The Associated Press (AP).

News Item A-2: "INCDT: ‘Boom, Boom, Boom’: Boeing 777 Lands in Honolulu after Losing Engine Cover" by Caleb Jones, Associated Press, February 13, 2018.

Honolulu, Hawaii: — A United Airlines (UAL) flight landed safely on February 13 in Honolulu after an engine cover came off during its flight from California.

“Our pilots (FC) followed all necessary protocols to safely land the 777 airplane,” (UAL) said, adding that all passengers departed the Boeing 777 normally at the gate.

The 777 landed as emergency responders waited nearby, said Hawaii Department of Transportation spokesman Tim Sakahara. Flight 1175 was traveling to Honolulu from San Francisco.

Images posted on social media show an engine with the exterior cover missing as the plane approaches Honolulu. A video shows the engine shaking back and forth with pieces of the cover flapping in the wind.

“There was a loud bang, and then the plane really started shaking,” passenger Allison Sudiacal told Hawaii News Now. “There was a loud boom and then it was like rattling and the plane was kind of shaking like boom, boom, boom.”

“They let us know that we had to brace for impact in case there was a rough landing. It was scary. But they did a really good job,” Sudiacal said. An emergency was declared due to a vibration in the right engine, said Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokesman Ian Gregor in an email, adding that the agency will investigate the incident.

Associated Press (AP) writer Paul Elias in San Francisco contributed to this report.

News Item A-3: United Airlines (UAL) plans to place its 1st Boeing 737-MAX 9s into revenue service June 7 on routes connecting its Houston Intercontinental (IAH) hub and 5 cities, including its summer seasonal-nonstop route to Anchorage, Alaska.

The other routes for (UAL)’s 737 MAX-family airplane link (IAH) with Austin (AUS), Fort Lauderdale, Orlando (MCO), and San Diego. Most of the routes are currently flown with 737-900s, though (UAL) is using some 737-800s on (IAH) to (MCO) and Airbus A319s on (IAH) to (AUS).

(UAL) will expand the 737-MAX 9 fleet's workload on June 29, putting its newest narrow bodies on 1 Los Angeles (LAX) to Honolulu frequency as well as routes between (LAX) and (IAH), as well as (IAH) to Sacramento (IAH) to Tampa Bay.

(UAL) is expected to receive its 1st 737-MAX 9 in April and plans to have 6 when the fleet enters revenue service. It plans to take delivery of 10 by year-end—part of a plan that has it adding 24 mainline airplanes this year, including 3 used 767-300ERs. Its forecasted year-over-year capacity increase for 2018 is 3.5 to 4.5% as measured in available seat miles.

(UAL)'s 737-MAX 9s will be configured with 179 seats, including 20F in first-class and 44PY in economy plus.

March 2018: News Item A-1: Star (SAL) Alliance Partners United Airlines (UAL) and Air New Zealand (ANZ) are boosting capacity in the USA - New Zealand market, including a new route between Chicago and Auckland to be operated by (ANZ).

The new route is set to be launched in November, starting with 3x-weekly. Flight duration will be about 15 hr north bound and >16 hr south bound. The service will use Boeing 787-9s.

Chicago (ORD) will be (ANZ)’s 5th USA gateway, after Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco. (UAL) and (ANZ) operate a partnership in the transpacific market. In addition, (UAL) is extending its seasonal service on the San Francisco to Auckland route to year-round. (UAL) currently operates this as a daily flight from the end of October through March. It will be 3x-weekly starting from April, using 777-200ERs, then reverting to daily service with 777-300ERs at the end of October. (ANZ) also operates a daily flight on the Auckland to San Francisco route.

(ANZ) is scheduled to receive +2 more 787-9s this year, which will give it a total of 13. These two airplanes, as well as 1 already delivered, will have a different cabin configuration featuring a greater mix of premium seats considered more suitable for North American markets. (ANZ) plans to lease a 14th 787-9 in its 2019/2020 fiscal year.

News Item A-2: "United ‘Actively Pursuing’ More Used Airplanes" by (ATW) Sean Broderick, March 16, 2018.

United Airlines (UAL) is “actively pursuing” more used airplanes and sees its recently activated strategy of adding 2nd-hand lift to be a long-term play that provides more fleet flexibility, a top (UAL) executive said. “We have a huge order book of new airplanes, but to add also a bunch of used aircraft wherever we find that opportunity, we think makes a lot of sense,” (CFO) Andrew Levy said at the recent JP Morgan Global Aviation & Transportation Conference.

News Item A-3: And the Oscar Winner is: "The Shape of Water" See the "creature!"


April 2018: News Item A-1: United Airlines (UAL) earned a +$147 million net profit in the 2018 1st quarter, up +48.5% over +$99 million in net income in the 2017 1st quarter. Revenue was up +7.2% year-over-year (YOY) while expenses increased +8% (YOY), including a +26% jump in airplane fuel costs. Operating income was +$276 million, down -13.8% (YOY).

News Item A-2: "Kirby: United to Stay the Course on Aggressive Growth Plans" by Aaron Karp (ATW) On-Location April 12, 2018.

United Airlines (UAL) President Scott Kirby conceded the “ruckus” on Wall Street over (UAL)’s aggressive growth plan has not subsided, but said individual investors believe (UAL)’s strategy is sound, and reiterated (UAL) plans to stay the course. “I realize it’s going to take time” for the investment community to embrace (UAL)’s planned +4 to +6% annual capacity growth in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

News Item A-3: United Airlines (UAL) has taken delivery of its 1st Boeing 737 MAX-family airplane, a 737 MAX 9, and confirmed plans to start service with the newest Boeing narrow body twinjets in early June. (UAL), which has 161 737 MAX-family airplanes on order, expects to take delivery of 3 737-MAX 9s in April and 6 before the airplane enters scheduled service on June 7. (UAL) will have 10 737-MAX 9s by year-end, meaning the airplanes will make up nearly half of the 24 planned additions to (UAL)’s mainline fleet in 2018.

Initial 737 MAX 9 routes will connect United’s Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport hub and 5 cities: Anchorage, Alaska; Austin, Texas; Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Florida; and San Diego, California. The Anchorage service marks the return of a seasonal route. Additional 737 MAX 9 flights will begin June 29.

(UAL)’s 737 MAX 9s are configured with 179 seats, including 20F in first-class, 44PY in economy plus and 115Y in economy. Like (UAL)’s 787s, the 737 MAXs will feature a special livery that (UAL) said is intended to emphasize its eco-friendliness.

Meanwhile, (UAL) said its Polaris business (C) class rollout will see a retrofitted airplane join the fleet about once every 10 days through 2020. (UAL) announced Polaris in mid-2016, including a new business (C) class cabin, onboard service and lounges. Production delays at seat-manufacturer Zodiac Aerospace have delayed (UAL)’s retrofit plans.

News Item A-4: United Airlines (UAL) parent United Continental Holdings has boosted its stake in Azul Airlines (AZL) to 8% after purchasing shares in the Brazilian company from China's (HNA) Group subsidiary Hainan Airlines (HNA).

"Today is an important step forward in our partnership with (UAL)" (AZL) (CEO) John Rodgerson said. The deal builds on (UAL)'s 2015 investment in (AZL), and sets the table for greater cooperation.

(UAL) Executive VP & (CFO) Andrew Levy said (UAL) continues "to look for new ways to provide more connectivity for our customers. Following our initial investment in 2015, connecting traffic between our airlines is at an all-time high, significantly benefiting our customers traveling between the USA and Brazil."

The deal comes weeks after Brazil's government approved an "Open Skies" deal negotiated between the 2 countries in 2010. Ratification was required by USA regulators as part of a proposed tie-up between American Airlines (AAL) and Santiago-based (LATAM) Airlines (LAN).

The Open Skies agreement is expected to jump-start connections between the 2 countries and their carriers. (AZL) executives have said they are interested in forging closer ties with (UAL), including a possible joint venture (JV). "The next step for us is to get together with our partners (UAL) and start talking (JV)," (AZL) Chief Revenue Oofficer Abhi Shah said. "We have had some initial discussions, and so now we need to accelerate that and put together a commercial deal that we can submit to" regulators.

Hainan Airlines (HNA) in August 2016 purchased a 23.7% stake in (AZL) with a $450 million investment, and held 21.6% before the most recent transaction. Following the sale, (HNA) said its stake in (AZL) will be down to 17.3%. (HNA) parent, the (HNA) Group has been selling assets to help reduce mounting debt.

News Item A-5: United Airlines (UAL) resumed daily, Hamburg to New York Newark Boeing 757-200 service.

May 2018: News Item A-1: "United Airlines Taps Former USA President Obama Spokesman for Help After Public Relations (PR) Flops" by Justin Bachman, "Bloomberg News," May 03, 2018.

United Continental Holdings Inc is turning to USA President Barack Obama's former White House spokesman as its new Chief Communications Officer (CCO), tasked with helping United Airlines (UAL) work through the fallout from a series of public relations (PR) blunders.

Josh Earnest, 43, will "play a crucial role on our leadership team as we position our brand and this company for success," (UAL) (CEO) Oscar Munoz said. This airline job will be Earnest's 1st role in business after spending 20 years in politics. He worked for 8 years under President Obama and was promoted to White House Press Secretary in 2014. He also worked in Chicago for Obama's 1st presidential campaign. Earnest has been a political analyst for (NBC) News and (MSNBC) since last year.

(UAL) has been working to reverse a melange of incidents that brought it bad publicity over the past year or so. The most high-profile of those, when a passenger was dragged from a United Express jet in April 2017, sparked international condemnation. Since then, the death of a giant rabbit on a flight from London and that of a bulldog stowed in an overhead bin have stoked criticism of (UAL) on social media.

"Cutting through the noise of the modern media environment is a challenge, especially in the highly competitive airline industry," Earnest said in a news release. At (UAL), Earnest will be reunited with Frank Benenati, a spokesman who also worked for Earnest at the White House. Earnest succeeds Jim Olson, who left the company in January after 2 years.

News Item A-2: United Airlines (UAL) is adding flights on 17 routes out of Newark Liberty International (EWR) and shifting some regional-jet routes to its Washington/Dulles International (IAD) gateway as part of its winter schedule.

The moves add frequency on 15 routes out of (EWR); new seasonal nonstop services to Palm Springs, California; and upgrade Key West, Florida, services to year-round. The changes are effective October 4 except for the Palm Springs service, which starts December 19.

“We approached these schedule adjustments with our customers in mind, knowing that we wanted to create a schedule that offers customers beginning their travel in the New York City area convenient flights to many of the business and leisure destinations they frequent the most,” United (UAL) VP Domestic Network Ankit Gupta said. The New York area is the top originating point for (UAL) passengers, he added.

(UAL) also shifted flights to 3 markets: Chattanooga, Tennessee; Ithaca, New York; and Scranton, Pennsylvania, from (EWR) to (IAD).

The moves come as (UAL) adjusts its network in a bid to boost capacity +4% to 6% annually through 2020. (UAL) plans to emphasize re-connecting smaller communities to its network, but its latest moves, which add capacity to cities such as Norfolk (Virginia) and Greensboro (North Carolina) as well as mainstays such as Orlando (Florida) and New Orleans (Louisiana), show (UAL) also plans to target demand on existing routes. (UAL)’s updated full-year 2018 capacity guidance projects a +4.5% to +5.5% increase.

Moving a few routes to (IAD) also taps what the airline acknowledges is an under-utilized asset.

“Dulles is a great hub,” (UAL) Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Nocella said. “It operates 4 departure waves per day today, and only 1 of these departure waves is full from a gate perspective (so there is a lot of opportunity in Dulles. We continue to evaluate exactly how to take advantage of that).”

Re-working its flight banks to increase possible itineraries has been another priority. (UAL) reduced its banks at Houston Intercontinental Airport from 10 to 8, adding +21% more itineraries while slightly reducing aircraft movements. Re-banking returns at Chicago and Denver boosted connections +15%.

News Item A-3: United Airlines (UAL) converted 7 of 8 remaining 787-8 orders to the larger 787-10. Meanwhile, (UAL) plans to take delivery of its 1st 787-9 this month.

(UAL)’s 787-10 are not expected to arrive until 2018. The orders for the 787-8 which were converted, were not expected to arrive until 2017 and 2018.

The 787-10 will replace (UAL)’s 767-400ERs and 777-200s.

(UAL) now has 26 787-9s and 27 787-10s on order.

July 2018: News Item A-1: "United Posts $684 million (2Q) Net Profit on Strong Rrevenue, Cost Discipline" by Aaron Karp ((ATW) Plus, July 18, 2018.

United Airlines (UAL) executives said a strong revenue environment and cost discipline are enabling (UAL) to recover 75% of rising fuel prices and maintain solid profitability, reporting a 2nd-quarter net profit of $684 million, down -16.7% from net income of $821 million in the 2017 June quarter. The relatively small drop in net income year-over-year (YOY) came despite a 43.2%, or $721 million, (YOY) increase in spending on aircraft fuel.

News Item A-2: "United Regional Hub Connectivity Expands with New (IAD) to Miami Flights" by (ATW) Mark Nensel (mark.nensel@informa.com), July 30, 2018.

United Airlines (UAL), as part of its plan to boost connecting passenger traffic at its Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) hub, will launch new daily service between (IAD) and Miami on December 19. (UAL) said July 30 it will also increase flight frequencies between Washington Dulles and both Orlando and Tampa for the coming winter schedule, increasing to 5x-daily departures to Orlando (from November 28 through January 6) and 4 dailies to Tampa (December 26 to January 26).

The newly announced Miami route is only a seasonal service at this point, and will run through March 30, 2019. (UAL) plans to increase its (IAD) to Miami flights to 2x-daily during the peak holiday travel period December 24 though January 6. (UAL) plans to utilize A319s on the route.

Since March, (UAL) has opened-up 33 new point-to-point destinations from its 7 domestic USA hubs. “We are focusing on the strengths of our hub cities, which are the largest centers for business and tourism travel in the country and key gateways for customers to connect to thousands of cities throughout the USA and beyond,” (UAL) VP Domestic Network Planning Ankit Gupta said.

In its (2Q) 2018 financial results, (UAL) indicated that its schedule expansions at its USA east coast hubs in Newark/New York and Washington Dulles were an effort to offer more nonstop flights to destinations popular with New York-area customers “while reallocating largely connecting passenger flights to [IAD].”

In addition to the Miami, recent new routes out of Washington Dulles include short-haul flights to destinations in West Virginia, upstate New York, coastal North Carolina and even Shenandoah, Virginia, a mere 100 miles away from IAD. New Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) routes added include Presque Isle, Maine and Rapid City, South Dakota.

From United’s 5 other USA hubs, newly-established routes include: from (LAX), Glacier National Park/Kalispell and Missoula (both in Montana), Prescott, Arizona and Sun Valley, Idaho; from Denver, Moab and Vernal (both in Utah), Jacksonville, Florida and Norfolk, Virginia; from Houston (IAH), Akron-Canton and Dayton (both in Ohio); from Chicago (ORD), Brownsville and El Paso (both in Texas), Fresno, California and Bismarck, North Dakota; and from San Francisco (SFO), Madison, Wisconsin.

According to (UAL) President Scott Kirby, under previous management, (UAL) degraded its level of connectivity at its hubs—particularly mid-continent hubs Chicago O’Hare, Denver and Houston Intercontinental—to focus on international flights and domestic flights between major markets.

In comments made at an Aviation Week Network (MRO) conference in Orlando earlier this year, Kirby said the carrier had abandoned smaller markets around the USA, cutting passengers out of its network and damaging its competitiveness against rivals American Airlines (AAL) and Delta Air Lines (DAL). Fixing (UAL)’s domestic network “is going to be the key to really vaulting (UAL) [over (AAL) and (DAL)],” Kirby said.

August 2018: News Item A-1: "United Plans to Introduce 737-10 Lie-flat Premium Seat in 2020" by Sean Broderick (sean.broderick@aviationweek.com), August 21, 2018.

United Airlines (UAL) is working on a lie-flat premium (C) cabin seat and plans to have the 1st ones in service on Boeing 737-10s sometime in 2020, (UAL) President Scott Kirby said.

Speaking to reporters during the International Aviation Forecast Conference in Denver, Kirby said the new seat is something (UAL)’s network planners “would love to have” on certain routes out of its Newark and Washington Dulles hubs. This suggests the product could help counter other lie-flat offerings in high-demand transcontinental markets, and perhaps beyond.

JetBlue (JBL) has expanded its Mint product beyond routes such as New York to Los Angeles to markets such as San Diego, Seattle, and even into the Caribbean, for example.

(UAL)’s seat is in its 2nd prototype, and plans call for customers to test the product later this year, Kirby said.

The seats would be installed on a subfleet of (UAL)’s 737 MAX 10s. (UAL) has 100 737 MAX 10s on order as well as 14 737 MAX 7s and 41 737 MAX 9, Aviation Week Fleet Discovery shows. It has 6 737 MAX 9s in service.

News Item A-2: (UAL) became the latest North American carrier to raise checked bag fees, as airlines contend with lower revenues amid climbing prices for jet fuel. (UAL) announced August 31 it had raised fees for checking a 1st bag from $25 to $30 and for a 2nd bag from $35 to $40. The new rules cover all flights in North and Central America, as well as the Caribbean. The decision follows recent moves by JetBlue Airways (JBL), as well as Air Canada (ACN) and Westjet (WJI).

News Item A-3: See attached video of parallel landing:

September 2018: News Item A-1: "United Airlines Expects (3Q) Revenue, Margins to Reach High End of Guidance Range" by Mark Nensel (mark.nensel@informa.com), September 5, 2018.

United Airlines (UAL) expressed confidence in its current financial outlook with the issuance of updated revenue guidance for the 3rd quarter of 2018, as part of (UAL)’s presentation at the Cowen & Co Annual Global Transportation Conference in Boston on September 5.

(UAL) now expects its 3rd-quarter 2018 consolidated passenger unit revenue growth to be near the high end of its previously reported guidance range, which, compared to (3Q) 2017, is expected to be up between 4% and 6%.

Similarly, (UAL) is expecting its pre-tax margin (excluding special charges and the mark-to-market impact of equity investments) to be near the high end of its announced guidance of between 8% and 10%, compared to (3Q) 2017.

The optimistic outlook comes, (UAL) said, “despite higher commodity fuel prices in the 3rd quarter pushing the expected consolidated average airplane fuel price toward the high end of (UAL)’s previously provided guidance range of $2.27 to $2.32 per gallon.”

(UAL)’s 2018 2nd-quarter revenue was up +7.7% year-over-year (YOY), but expenses rose +12.2% and (UAL)’s operating income, at $1.2 billion, was down $19.2$ (YOY). (UAL)’s (2Q) net profit came to $684 million, down -16.7% (YOY).

In July, then-acting (UAL) (CFO) Gerry Laderman said non-fuel unit costs had declined (YOY) in the 2nd quarter and were expected to be flat to down -1% in the 3rd quarter. Laderman was formally promoted to (UAL) Executive VP & (CFO) on August 22.

News Item A-2: "United 787 (SFO) to Zurich Biofuel Flight" by Graham Warwick (Graham.warwick@aviationweek.com) September 13, 2018.

A United Airlines (UAL) Boeing 787 flew from San Francisco (SFO) to Zurich on September 14 and 15 powered by a blend of biojet fuel derived from carinata, an oilseed crop that can be grown in rotation with food crops. The General Electric (GENx)-powered 787 used a blend of 30% biofuel with conventional jet fuel. The biojet was produced by the former AltAir Fuels refinery in California, acquired in March by World Energy.

Agrisoma Biosciences, a Canadian company that sells carinata seeds, partnered with (UAL) and World Energy to conduct the transatlantic commercial biofuel flight. “At 11 hours, it was the longest transatlantic biojet flight undertaken to date, and, with the fuel-efficient Boeing 787, represented the lowest carbon footprint commercial flight across the Atlantic,” Agrisoma Founder & President Steve Fabijanski said.

Previously in January, Qantas Airways (QAN), Agrisoma and World Energy partnered on a transpacific 787 flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne. The 15-hour flight used 53,000 lb of blended, carinata-derived biofuel, saving 40,000 lb in carbon emissions, the Australian flag carrier said at the time.

Agrisoma is working with farmers in North America, South America, Australia and now Europe to plant carinata as a rotational crop and additional source of income, Fabijanski said. “We develop the seed and help manage production and other parts of the value chain.”

Some 50,000 acres of carinata were planted in 2017, enough to produce 20 to 25 million gallons of biofuel. That has doubled in 2018 and is expected to double again with each growing cycle. “We can supply a regular volume to the industry,” he said.

From farmers to fuel producers, Fabijanski said Agrisoma is working to maximize the life-cycle greenhouse-gas reduction from carinata-derived biofuel. “It can be >100% on a regular basis with the production we have now,” he said.

October 2018: News Item A-1: "United Boosts Domestic Network; Tweaks Newark, Dulles Services" by Sean Broderick (sean.broderick@aviationweek.com), October 15, 2018.

United Airlines (UAL) has unveiled the latest network changes as part of its long-range growth strategy, including shifting more short-haul flights from Newark Liberty International to its Washington-Dulles International hub and replacing them with targeted markets.

Shifting to Dulles will be service from Elmira (New York); Lexington (Kentucky) and Manchester (New Hampshire). (UAL) will add flights on existing routes between Newark (New Jersey) and Detroit (Michigan), St Louis (Missouri) and Omaha (Nebraska); Richmond (Virginia) and Kansas City (Missouri).

(UAL) will also increase its Newark to Anchorage (Alaska) service to from weekly to daily, add new nonstop service to Pensacola (Florida) and introduce nonstop service between Hilton Head (South Carolina) and Chicago (Illinois), Dulles and Newark. Dulles is also getting new service to Asheville (North Carolina).

The moves are part of an ongoing strategy to boost capacity +4% to +6% annually through 2020. (UAL) has been re-organizing its hub flying, adding service from new markets and revamping its banks to create more connections. At capacity-constrained Newark, it is focusing on creating more origin-and-destination markets, while shifting short-haul feeder flights to Dulles. (UAL) has now moved or announced 6 feeder flights are shifting from Newark to Dulles.

Other changes to its summer 2019 schedule include adding nonstop service between Los Angeles (California) and Eugene (Oregon); Madison (Wisconsin); and Pasco/Tri-Cities (Washington state). (UAL) also plans to begin nonstop service between San Francisco (California) and Columbus (Ohio).

News Item A-2: (UAL) rode a double-digit revenue increase and declining non-fuel unit costs to deliver a 3rd-quarter (3Q) net income of +$836 million, a +29% year-over-year (YOY) improvement. (UAL) saw passenger revenue jump +11.6% to $10.1 billion, while total operating revenue edged past $11 billion, up +11.2%. Operating expenses rose +11.9% to $9.8 billion, driven by a +42% increase in fuel costs.

News Item A-3: (UAL) began daily Chicago to León (Guanajuato, Mexico) service.

News Item A-4: (UAL) has ordered 9 more 787-9 Dreamliners for delivery from 2020. That brings Boeing (TBC)’s total of 787 orders for the year so far to 105, more than were sold all of last year. At list prices, the order is worth $2.5 billion. However, according to market pricing data from jet valuation firm Avitas, the real value after standard industry discounts is about $1.3 billion.

The announcement came as (UAL) unveiled the 1st routes for its 787-10s, which enter service early next year. (UAL) will operate the longest 787 variant between its Newark hub and both Los Angeles and San Francisco. The Los Angeles flights will start January 7, while San Francisco is slated to see its 1st 787-10s on February 14. The 787-10 as the newest Boeing airplane will operate 2 of 12 planned peak-season daily round-trips in the Newark to Los Angeles market, and 1 of (UAL)’s planned summer peak of 15 daily Newark to San Francisco round trips.

(UAL) is the North American launch customer for the 787-10 and expects to take its 1st deliveries later this quarter in preparation for the early 2019 entry into service. (UAL)’s 787-10s will have 318 seats, including 44C in its "Polaris" business class, 21PY premium economy seats, 54Y+ in economy plus section, and 199Y economy seats.

While (UAL)'s initial 787-10 routes will be domestic, (UAL) sees the model as an ideal transatlantic airplane. The 787 is “a phenomenal European airplane,” President Scott Kirby said at a recent industry conference. “I know the economics of the airplane, I know the economics of the routes. They will almost certainly fly a lot of Chicago, Newark, and Dulles to Europe. I just don’t know when.”

Aviation Week’s fleet discovery database projects that (UAL) will take delivery of 6 787s in 2019 (all 787-10 variants). 6 expected 787 deliveries in 2020 will be split between the 787-9 and 787-10, as will 2 deliveries projected for 2022.

(UAL)’s order pushes Boeing’s total of net 787 orders this year to 105, according to the (TBC) website. Entering this year, (TBC) had booked 100 or more net 787 annual orders just once since 2007, recording 182 in 2013.

(UAL) already operates a fleet of 25 of the 787-9 model and 12 of the smaller 787-8 variant. It has 4 more 787-9s on order in addition to the 9 just added. By the end of this year (UAL) will have 40 787 Dreamliners in its fleet and 24 on order.

November 2018: News Item A-1: "United asks (DOT) to Boost Newark to Shanghai route; Reject (AAL)’s Dormancy Plan" by Sean Broderick (sean.broderick@aviationweek.com), November 5, 2018.

United Airlines (UAL) is seeking approval to launch a 2nd daily round-trip between Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) in 2020. (UAL) has also asked the USA Department of Transportation (DOT) to reject American Airlines (AAL)'s plan to keep, but not operate, some of the treaty-limited frequencies between the 2 countries.

Flights between the USA and Shanghai are subject to so-called “Zone 1” restrictions in the USA China Air Transport Agreement that limit frequencies to Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai. Recent changes have freed up 7x-weekly frequencies, and Delta Air Lines (DAL) has applied to use them on proposed Minneapolis to (PVG) daily services starting in mid-2020. (AAL) has rights to 14x-additional weekly frequencies that it used for flights between Chicago and both (PVG) and Beijing, but the airline (revamping its international network) suspended those services last month, citing “difficult market conditions.”

(AAL) has asked the (DOT) for a dormancy waiver that would let it keep the frequencies, but not operate flights until the market bounces back. However, (AAL) has been candid in admitting that its Chicago O’Hare to China flights were consistent money-losers.

(UAL)’s proposed solution: The (DOT) should reject (AAL)’s dormancy-waiver request and grant both proposals for new services.

“Reallocating (AAL)’s unused frequencies to other carriers is consistent with the department’s policy that when frequency allocations are not being operated effectively, they should be reallocated in a manner that promotes competition and otherwise best serves the public interest,” (UAL) wrote in its application. “Given the number of available and unused frequencies, (UAL) and (DAL)’s applications are not mutually exclusive and the department may grant both applications for 7 frequencies each to serve Shanghai. (UAL)’s non-opposition to (DAL)’s application is contingent, however, upon the (DOT) denying (AAL)’s application for a dormancy waiver.”

(UAL) said demand in the New York to Shanghai market has grown about +6% since 2011. “(UAL) believes that the market will be ripe for an additional daily flight in 2020, which (UAL) is well-situated to provide given its presence in the New York/Newark region,” it added.

(UAL) proposes using Boeing 777-200s on the route and said it would be ready to launch flights on or around June 1, 2020.

Despite rising trade tensions between the USA and China, airlines say the macro environment remains strong. (DAL) (CEO) Ed Bastian specifically highlighted Chinese market revenues as a strong point last quarter, adding that July’s Atlanta to (PVG) route launch is “doing well.”

(UAL) (CCO) Andrew Nocella said China routes were “strong” last quarter. “We continue to watch demand levels in business (C) class for China flights and have yet to see any reduction in demand for future periods resulting from trade disruptions,” he added.

News Item A-2: "United adds Paine Field service from late-March 2019"
By Jim Liu, November 26, 2018.

United Airlines (UAL) during the weekend of November 24, 2018’s schedule update opened reservation for its planned service to Paine Field in Everett, starting March 31, 2019 (UAL) plans to offer 2 daily flights from Denver and 4 from San Francisco, on board Skywest Airlines Embraer E175 aircraft.

Denver to Paine Field (PAE) effective March 31, 2019 2 daily Embraer E175 (Skywest):

UA5460 (DEN) 0925 – 1130 (PAE) E7W D
UA5528 DEN) 1915 – 2122 (PAE) E7W D

UA5889 PAE0600 – 0948DEN E7W D
UA5659 PAE1545 – 1933DEN E7W D

San Francisco – Paine Field eff 31MAR19 4 daily Embraer E175 (Skywest)
UA5871 SFO1100 – 1324PAE E7W D
UA5880 SFO1245 – 1507PAE E7W D
UA5898 SFO1615 – 1839PAE E7W x6
UA5883 SFO130 – 2354PAE E7W D

UA5893 PAE0600 – 0816SFO E7W D
UA5739 PAE1210 – 1426SFO E7W D
UA5866 PAE1400 – 1616SFO E7W D
UA5897 PAE1915 – 2131SFO E7W x6

January 2019: News Item A-1: The stock of United Airlines (UAL)'s
parent surged +6.4% on January 16 after the company crushed Wall Street earnings estimates and said its financial momentum from last year will carry over into 2019.

News Item A-2: United Airlines (UAL) has become the 2nd airline after Qantas (QAN) to connect Texas with Australia, with (UAL) now offering a daily service between Houston Intercontinental (IAH) and Sydney (SYD) (13,829 km between the airport pair), inaugurated on January 28.

(UAL)’s VP International Network, Patrick Quayle said (UAL) is the largest USA carrier offering the most seats between Sydney and the USA. While no direct competition is offered on this link, which (UAL) will serve using its 787-9s, Australian flag carrier (QAN) does offer a daily A380 link between Sydney and Dallas/Fort Worth. (UAL) already serves Sydney, Australia’s largest city from its Californian hubs at Los Angeles and San Francisco.

News Item A-3: United Airlines (UAL) placed its 1st Boeing 787-10 into service on Los Angeles to Newark services and now operates all 3 787 Dreamliner models.


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UAL-777-222ER - 2014-11
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UAL-787 - 2013-06
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UAL-787-9 - 2010-05
UAL-787-9 - 2014-09
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UAL-E175 - 2013-04
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January 2019:

0 727-222 (JT8D-15 HK) (21421 W/O 2001-05), ALL 67 RETIRED BY 2001-11. 12F, 129Y.

0 737-200 (JT8D-9A HK) (SOLD 38 TO INTERLEASE AV), ALL WFU 2001-11. 8F, 95Y.

0 737-322 (CFM56-3C1) (1930-24717, /90 N202UA; 1928-24674, /90 N399UA) (23949; 24321; 24537; STORED VICTORVILLE FOR RETURN TO LESSOR), 23951; 23952; 23954; 24668; 24669; 24671; WFU AT GOODYEAR 2005-01. 23950 WFU 2005-03. 23953; 23954; RETURNED TO LESSOR 2005-05. 24148; 24245; REMOVED FROM STORAGE 5/05. 24655 TO (KAG) 2005-05. 23955; 23956; 24455; 24532; TO (GOT) 2005-06. 24662 TO (AAT) 2005-06. 24672 TO (FUA) 2005-06. 24360; 24379; 24454; ST PEMCO 2005-06. 21598; 24664; RETURNED, LEASED TO (ATA) 2005-08. 23958; 24673; 24574; WFU AT VICTORVILLE 2009-01. 24252; 24540; 24638; 2009-02. 24241, N337UA; SCRAPPED 2009-03. 23957; 24240; 24242; 24253; 24638; WFU. ALL TO BE WFU. 24228; SCRAPPED 2009-06. 23950; 24243; 24301; WFU AT VICTORVILLE 2009-07. 24245; RETURNED 2009-07. 24637; 24657; 2009-08. 24319; 24641; 24656; 2009-09. 24319; 24654; SCRAPPED 2009-11. ALL WFU BY 2009-10. 8F, 126Y.

0 737-522 (CFM56-3C1) (1948-25001, /90 N901UA; 2512-26707, /93 N957UA "CAPT. DON MERUCCI"), (22648; 26656; 26672; 26675; 26680; 26683; 26684; 26687; 26688; 26691; 26692; 26695; 26696; 26699; 26700; 26703; 26704; 26707; 26739) STORED GOODYEAR FOR RETURN TO LESSOR. 26680; 26684 TO (CNJ) 2004-10. 25008; 25009; 23951; 23954; 23955; 24668; 24669; 24670; 24671; 24672; WFU IN STORAGE 2005-01. 25383; 25384; 25387; WFU 2005-03. 26680; 26684; 26684; SOLD TO (CNJ) 2004-12. 25383; 25387; SOLD TO US BANK 2005-05. 25255; & 25382; PARTED OUT. 26739 TO (CNJ) 2005-06. 25007; 26649; 26652; 26655; WFU AT VICTORVILLE 2009-01. 26655; 2009-01. 26651; 2009-03. 26658; 26659; 26662; WFU VICTORVILLE 2009-04. 26663; 26667; WFU AT VICTORVILLE 2009-05. 26676 WFU AT VICTORVILLE; & 26671; 2009-07. 25290; 2009-08; ALL WFU BY 2009-10. 8F, 96Y.

65 ORDERS (2017-06) 737-700 (CFM56-7B):

1 737-71Q (CFM56-7B) (29048, N17752), 2015-05. 12F, 112Y.

40 +11 ORDERS 737-724 (CFM56-7B24) (29-28762, /98 N16701; 46-28766, /98 N25705; 47-28767, /98 N24706; 48-28768, /98 N23707), EX-(CAL). 12F, 112Y.

139 737-800 (CFM56-7B). 12F, 112Y.

2 737-824 (CFM56-7B) (62750, N86534; 62751, N77535) 2016-08.

32 737-900 (CFM56-7B).

94 ORDERS 737-900ER (CFM56-7B):

44 ORDERS 737-900ER (CFM56-7B):

132 737-924ER (CFM560-7B) (31647, N27477, 2013-07; 31649, N28478, 2013-07; 3924-31650, N36447, 2012-01; 31661, N38446, 2012-01; 37100, N39475, 2013-06; 37199, N38458, 2012-09; 37205, N37456, 2012-09; 38703, N36476, 2013-06; 42200, N61881, 2015-05; 42201, N61882, 2015-05; 41744, N28457, 2012-09; 42176, N69816, 2014-02; 42177, N69818, 2014-03; 42744, N69810, 42745, N66814, 2014-02; 2013-12; 42747, N68817, 2014-03; 42821, N64809, 2013-12; 43531, N69813, 2014-03; 43532, N67815, 2014-02; 43533, N69819, 2014-03; 43534, N63820, 2014-03; 44562, N66831, 2014-08; 44563, N65832, 2014-08; ).



14 ORDERS 737 MAX 7:

161 ORDERS 737 MAX 9/737 MAX 10. 737 MAX 9 (20F, 44PY, 115Y):

6 +41 ORDERS 737 MAX 9, 2018-04. 20F, 44 PY, 115Y.

100 ORDERS 737 MAX 10

0 747-122 (20103 SOLD 1999-01, 20104 RETIRED 1998-12).

0 747-222 (JT9D-7J) (23736; 23737; SOLD TO (NWA) 2000-07), (285-21237; 310-21352; 341-21658 RETIRED 2000-10).

0 747-422 (PW4056) (733-24322, /89 N171UA "SPIRIT OF SEATTLE;" 26899, N195UA; 1141-26902, /98 N104UA; 1168-26900, /98 N107UA "WILLIAM A. PATTERSON;" 1126-28717, /97 N199UA), 26878; 26879; 26892; STORED AT VICTORVILLE 2002-09. 7 SOLD TO (TII) 2003-08. 24384 WFU VICTORVILLE 2003-03. 24383; 28716; WFU VICTORVILLE 2003-04. 26906 SOLD TO (DAW) 2003-05. 26903 SOLD TO (DAW) 2003-09. 24363 RETURNED TO LESSOR 2003-09. 26473 STORED AT VICTORVILLE 2004-03. 26880 SOLD TO (COR) 2004-08. 26975 RTND 2004-10. 26892 RETURNED TO SERVICE. 26877 RETURNED 2004-12. 25379; SOLD TO (COR) 2005-11. 28813 RTS. 28716; WFU AT VICTORVILLE 2009-03. 26876; WFU AT VICTORVILLE 2010-01. 26892; RTS AFTER STORAGE 2010-06. 28715 FERRIED VICTORVILLE - MOJAVE FOR STRATOLAUNCH MOTHER SHIP. 25158, 26901 TO VICTORVILLE 2017-01. BY THE END OF 2018, (UAL) WILL NO LONGER FLY 747'S IN SCHEDULED SERVICE. 14F, 73C, 260Y.

15 757-222 (PW2037) (241-24622, /89 N501UA; 24994, N526UA; 24995, N527UA; 25019, N529UA; 25129, N534UA; 25130, N535UA; 25322, N544UA; 25397, N549UA; 26685, N573UA; 26686, NJ574UA; 844-28751, /99 N598UA), (26650 STORED GOODYEAR 2003-04), 26660 REMOVED FROM STORAGE 2003-05. 26705 LEASED (AGAIN) 2004-03. 26660; WFU 2005-01. 25402; RETURNED TO LESSOR 2009-09. 26644 & 26665 RETURNED TO LESSOR 2016-08. 26661 RETURNED TO LESSOR 2017-01. 24F, 50PY, 108Y.

41 757-224 (RB211-535E4) (629-27294, /94 N17104 - - SEE PHOTO - - "UAL-757-200 - 2015-02;" 645-27298, N21198, 2017-09; 682-27556, /95 N12114; 702-27558, /96 N12116; 706-27559, /96 N19117), 2011-11. WITH WINGLETS. 16C, 45PY, 108Y.

21 757-300.

0 767-222 (JT9D-7R4D) (2-21862, /81 N601UA; 9-21867, /82 N606UA "CITY OF CHICAGO;" 10-21868, /82 N607UA "CITY OF DENVER;" 50-21880, /83 N620UA), 21871 WFU VICTORVILLE 1/03. 21863; 21872 WFU AT VICTORVILLE 2003-03. 21869 2003-09. 21876 10/03. 21868 2003-11. 21866 2003-12. FOR SALE. 18 (21862;-21872; & 21874; 21880) SOLD TO AIR TRANSPORT GROUP 2004-03. 21867 RTS 2004-10. 21878 WFU AT VICTORVILLE 2004-11. 21871; 21872; SOLD TO TRANSATLANTIC AVIATION 2005-07. 21878; 21879; SOLD TO TRANSATLANTIC AVIATION 2006-05. 21876; SOLD TO TRANSATLANTIC AVIATION 2006-09. 8 TO (TYU) STARTING 2012-06. 10F, 32C, 125Y.

11 767-322 (PW4052) (707-29236, /98 N664UA "BILL BAXLEY JR RET.;" 777-30027, /99 N672UA "JOHN DOLEY RET.;" 852-30029, /01 N677UA), 34F, 210Y.

25 767-322ER (PW4060) (360-25091, /91 N641UA; 25094, N644UA, 2015-05; 420-25283 N646UA, 2012-09; 443-25285, N648UA; 514-27160, /93 N663UA, 2017-11; 782-29242, N674UA), ONE 5 MONTHS WET-LEASED TO (SAS) 2004-10; 25284, N647UA, 2015-05; 25393; 25394 RETURNED TO LESSOR 2005-05; 25287; 457-25390* N652UA 2018-02; 462-25392,* N654UA, 2017-11; RETURNED TO LESSOR 2005-06. 25285; 25392; 25393; 25394; RETURNED TO SERVICE 2005-10. *WITH WINGLETS. 10F, 32C, 151Y.


16 767-424ER (876-29460, N76065), SEEN 2017-09, ALL TO BE BASED AT NEWARK WITH THE ONSET OF THE NORTHERN WINTER 2017/2018 SEASON.

19 777-222 (PW4077) (2-26936, /94 N774UA; 4-26929, /94 N773UA "RICHARD H. LEUNG CUSTOMER;" 5-26930, /94 N772UA "BOB BOELTER RETIRED;" 7-26916, /95 N777UA "WORKING TOGETHER;" 8-26917, /95 N766UA; 36-26944, /96 N780UA "SPIRIT OF ADALYN;" 282-30217, /00 N211UA "BILL ANDERSON RETIRED"), LAUNCH CUSTOMER. 26916 WFU 2004-01 AT GOODYEAR. 26918 RETURNED 2004-03. 26925 RETURNED 2004-05. 12F, 49C, 215Y.

55 777-222ER (PW4090) (26928, /94 N798UA; 43-26939, /96 N787UA; 377-30554, /01 N225UA "SPIRIT OF UNITED;" 388-30557, /02 N229UA; N796UA), WFU & STORED AT GOODYEAR 2003-07 (26917; 28714; RETURNED LESSOR). 26943 RETURNED 2004-03. N218UA IN "STAR ALLIANCE" TITLES 2006-07 - SEE PHOTO. 10F, 49C, 216Y.

17 777-322ER (62644, N2333U), EX-(N5022E) 2017-02.

4 ORDERS (2020-02) 777-322ER:

12 +16/35 ORDERS 787-8 DREAMLINER (GEnx) (45-34821, N27901, LAX, 2018-12; 53-34824, /12 N20904, 2012-09 - - SEE PHOTO - - "UAL-787-8 - 1ST DELIVERY;" 34824, N20904, 2012-09; N26906; 34826, N26910, 2014-03; N28912, 2015-05; 34830, N29907, 2013-07; 238-35879, N30913), 219 PAX: 36CF FULLY LIE-FLAT 2-2-2; 72 PY; 111Y 3-3-3.

25 +13/26 ORDERS 787-9 DREAMLINER (GEnx) (37814, N38955, 2015-05; 324-40918, N45956, 2017-11; 60141, N29968, 2017-01; 60142, N15969, 2017-02; N24973, 2018-12), 48F/C FIRST CLASS/BUSINESS, 63 PY, & 204Y ECONOMY:

2 +98 ORDERS 787-10 (731-40936, N17001; 763-40930, N17002), (UAL) IS THE USA LAUNCH CUSTOMER. 318 PAX: 44C "POLARIS" BUSINESS CLASS; 21PY PREMIUM ECONOMY.

0 DC-10-10 (CF6-6D) (32-46610 TO (FED) 1998-09), 46939 RETIRED, (47966 RETIRED 2000-03) (48260 RETIRED 2000-04).

0 DC-10-30 (CF6-50C2) (328-47837; 48260; 48261; 48263; RETIRED FROM SERVICE), ALL RETIRED BY THE END OF 2001-02.

0 DC-10-30CF (CF6-50C2) (46975; 46986; 46987; 47819), EX-(WLD).

67 +4 ORDERS A319-131 (V2522-A5) (686, /97 N801UA; 944, /99 N821UA; 1022, /99 N827UA; 1211, /00 N829UA; 1321, /00 N832UA; 1401, /00 N833UA; 1737, /02 N855UA; 2901, N891UA, 2017-01; 3020, N895UA, 2017-01), USA LAUNCH CUSTOMER. 23 ORDERS DELIVERY DEFERRED UNTIL 2011. 8F, 112Y.

99 + 13 ORDERS A320-232 (V2527-A5) (435, /93 N401UA; 1192, /00 N459UA; 1282, /00 N463UA "JIM BRIGGS;" 1865, /02 N498UA), 857 WFU AT GOODYEAR 2003-07. 19 ORDERS DELIVERY DEFERRED UNTIL 2011. 12F, 126Y.

45 ORDERS (2022-11) A350-900 (TRENT XWB):

35/50 ORDERS A350-1000 (TRENT XWB):




Click below for photos:
UAL-1-Oscar Munoz - 2015-09.jpg
UAL-1-Oscar Munoz - 2016-01.jpg
UAL-1-Oscar Munoz-2017-04.jpg
UAL-1a-JEFF SMISEK - 2014-12
UAL-2-Scott Kirby 2018-01.jpg
UAL-3-Brett Hart - 2015-12.jpg
UAL-4-Kris Bauer 2018-01.jpg
UAL-6-Brian Znotins - 2016-02.jpg
UAL-6-Ron Baur-2015-07.jpg
UAL-7-Anthony Spaulding 2018-01.jpg
UAL-7-Mike Arata 2018-02.jpg

Robert was former (CEO) of Air Canada (ACN).


Oscar recovered from a heart attack he had on October 15 2015. He returned to the helm of (UAL) in 2016 1st quarter.

Oscar was former President & Chief Operating Officer (COO) of rail and inter-modal giant, the (CSX) Corporation. He served on Continental Airlines (CAL)’s board of directors from 2004 to 2010, and then on (UAL)’s board, following the (UAL) - (CAL) merger. He cited his 11 years on the boards of (CAL) and (UAL) as helping to prepare him for his new job. But he conceded he needed to be briefed on a number of specific issues.

He spent the 1st 90 days or so traveling the United (UAL) network and listening to and talking to people,” he said, adding, “I have a ton of calls [to make]. I’ll get up to speed very quickly.”

He did say that he thought (UAL) and (CAL) had gone through a “rough integration” process and acknowledged the Information Technology (IT) systems failures that have hurt (UAL)’s operational performance and standing with consumers. “I have a very strong technology background,” he said. “Systems unfortunately have their ups and downs. We’ve made significant progress over the last several years and certainly this year [in terms of operational performance]. It’s just an absolute and complete point that we need to reach out to our customers with a better service product and that takes a lot of time and effort.”

He said there “are a lot of analogs and parallels” between the airline and rail industries. “I think the airline industry has been closely watching, monitoring and following what the rail industry has done from a yield management perspective,” he said.

He said he is “truly excited” about (UAL)’s potential. “I think the team has been doing a great job recently and the momentum is building,” he said. “It is certainly a new chapter for (UAL).

Scott Kirby is President of (UAL). In this role, Scott is responsible for (UAL)’s Operations, Marketing, Sales, Alliances, Network Planning and Revenue Management.

Prior to (UAL), Scott was President of American Airlines (AAL), since (AAL) merged with US Airways (USA) in 2013. Scott is a well-known industry veteran, with a broad and accomplished 3 decade airline career with senior leadership roles at America West (AMW) and US Airways (USA), where he was named President in 2006. Scott started his career at the Pentagon and in the Technology sector.

Scott has bachelor degrees in Computer Science and Operations Research from the US Air Force Academy and a Master of Science in Operations Research from George Washington University. He is married and has 5 children.

"4 Questions Arising From Scott Kirby's American-to-United Move" by (ATW) Aaron Karp in AirKarp Blog, August 31, 2016.

If you click on the (URL) for Scott Kirby’s executive bio at American Airlines (AAL), you land on a generic link on (AAL)’s website that states: “This page must have taken flight.” This is perhaps the understatement of the year in the airline business.

Indeed, Kirby’s surprise jump from the post of (AAL)’s President to United Airlines (UAL)’s President, breaking up a long time association with (AAL) Chairman & (CEO) Doug Parker, continues to reverberate around the global airline industry. Here are 4 pressing questions arising from the switch:

1: Did (AAL) really decide to cut Scott Kirby loose? (AAL) has tried to spin the move as a proactive step it took, noting that Kirby (who goes from being the #2 executive at (AAL) to the #2 executive at (UAL)) is receiving a lucrative severance package ($3.85 million in cash). But for anyone who follows the USA airline industry closely, it defies belief that (AAL) would unilaterally decide to dump its top strategist and one of the brightest stars in global airline management (absent Kirby having other options and wanting out for some reason).

Kirby and Parker go back >2 decades, and Kirby has been Parker’s right-hand man through the America West Airlines (AMW) - US Airways (USA) and US Airways (USA) - American (AAL) mergers. But (AAL) is Parker’s airline to run, and it is expected to be for some time. Kirby’s exit from (AAL) is likely a combination of the opening at (UAL), where (CEO) Oscar Munoz has been revamping his executive team, and a realization by Kirby that he would have to wait a very long time to become (CEO) at (AAL).

2: Will Kirby be (UAL)’s next (CEO)? Nothing has been said publicly on this front, but there is widespread speculation that Kirby at least has been led to believe this is a possibility, whereas it wasn’t a realistic possibility at (AAL). Say one thing for Munoz, who joined (UAL) from the freight rail industry last September: he is not afraid to have deputies with high-profile credentials who are considered potential airline (CEO) material. Both Kirby and new (CFO) Andrew Levy have held the title of “President” for multiple years at other airlines despite only being in their 40s.

While there is speculation that Munoz was forced into making these hires because of the board turmoil at (UAL) earlier this year, my sense is that Munoz truly wants to turn around (UAL) by surrounding himself with talented people who, like him, are willing to think outside of the conventional box. Even if Munoz (who is well liked by (UAL)’s employees) does not end up being (UAL)’s (CEO) for a decade, being the man who finally righted (UAL) would be quite an achievement, and Munoz is assembling a team that gives him the best chance of success.

3: Does Kirby bring insider knowledge of (AAL)’s strategies and thinking to (UAL) that will hurt (AAL)? Per the terms of a separation agreement, Kirby has agreed to hold (AAL) proprietary information “confidential and will not use or disclose any such proprietary information…,” including to a new employer. In truth, USA airlines are legally forced to divulge so much information publicly that there are not too many secrets. And Kirby is a very candid talker on quarterly earnings calls with analysts and reporters (usually speaking more than Parker on (AAL)’s calls) so his views on a wide range of issues, from fuel hedging to ultra low-cost carriers (ULCC)s to Brexit, are widely known. The fact that Kirby is no longer in the room when (AAL) executives are strategizing is what hurts (AAL) most.

4: What does the pairing of Kirby and former Allegiant Air (WJE) President Andrew Levy as (UAL)’s President and (CFO) foretell? Expect (UAL) to develop a very specific product offering to appeal to passengers flying on (ULCC)s like Allegiant (WJE), Spirit Airlines (SPR) and Frontier Airlines (FRO) (a big player at (UAL)’s Denver hub). Kirby noted last year that half of (AAL)’s revenue comes from 87% of its passengers who fly only once a year. Those infrequent flyers view flight tickets as a commodity and simply want the lowest fare, Kirby has said.

“When 50% of our revenue is up for grabs, we have to compete,” Kirby, who spearheaded (ULCC) price matching at (AAL), has explained. “We can’t just walk away. If we’re going to fly head-to-head, we need to match their fares.”

Also, I would expect (UAL) to reevaluate its fuel hedging program and probably drop it altogether. (AAL) and (WJE) do not hedge (which has allowed both carriers to fully benefit from low fuel prices), and Kirby and Levy have both been publicly critical of the practice.

Julie reports directly to (CEO) Oscar Munoz. She was previously Managing Director Investor Relations.


Greg is responsible for Airport Operations, Cargo, Technical Operations, Network Operations, Flight Operations, In-flight Service, Safety, and Food Services.

Previous (UAL) Chairman, President & (CEO), Jeff Smisek said his team and board of directors were confident that Greg would successfully lead the Operations groups as (UAL) focused on improving its operational quality and efficiency, while running an on-time airline with great customer service.”

Greg previously served as (UAL)’s Senior VP Technical Operations. He earlier held the role of Senior VP Network. Greg joined (UAL) in 1997 and held various leadership positions including VP Network Strategy, Staff VP Domestic Scheduling & Managing Director of Corporate Development.


Andrew was formerly President of Allegiant Air (WJE).




Gerry has held legal and financial positions of increasing responsibility at the company for 27 years.


In this role, Kris oversees all of (UAL)’s Global Technical Operations functions, including Line and Base Maintenance functions; Aircraft Reliability & Regulatory Compliance; administrative, Engineering, Planning & Production Support of airframes, engines and components; Facilities Maintenance and Ground Service Equipment (GSE) maintenance.

Kris previously served as Senior VP Operations for Allegiant Airlines (WJE) where he oversaw the (WJE)’s in-flight, Flight Operations, Ground Operations, Maintenance and Safety functions.

Prior to (WJE), Kris was Senior VP Technical Operations for Northwest (NWA)/Delta (DAL).














(UAL) announced a broader, strategic role for Rosemary Moore with a greater focus on industry, governmental and corporate affairs plus public responsibility. Rosemary's responsibilities also include oversight of corporate image and reputation, and corporate social responsibility, including the environment and social investment. She also oversees management of issues facing the company and the industry regarding public policy. She reports to the (UAL) Chairman, President & (CEO).



















Josh, 43 (IN 2018), will "play a crucial role on our leadership team as we position our brand and this company for success," (UAL) (CEO) Oscar Munoz said. This airline job will be Josh's 1st role in business after spending 20 years in politics. He worked for 8 years under USA President Obama and was promoted to White House Press Secretary in 2014. He also worked in Chicago for President Obama's 1st presidential campaign. Josh has been a political analyst for (NBC) News and (MSNBC) since last year.

























* Airways Magazine Interview by Benet J Wilson, March 28, 2016.
Brian Znotins leads the team that oversees (UAL)’s network strategy group. His team’s functions include scheduling, route planning, charters, and route profitability reporting. He was previously Managing Director International & Long-range Planning for (UAL).

Before Continental Airlines (CAL) merged with (UAL), Brian had worked for (CAL) since 1999 and had held several leadership positions within (CAL) including manager, senior manager, and director and Managing Director Network Strategy. Before joining (CAL), he worked in Network Planning at Canadian Airlines.

Brian spoke to AirwaysNews.com about plans for the (UAL) fleet, updates to (UAL)’s hubs, the impact of oil prices on network planning, the benefits of joint ventures (JV)s and (UAL)’s prospects in Cuba and South America:

AirwaysNews (AWN): The industry’s perception is that among USA carriers, (UAL)’s biggest strength is its network. Do you agree with that?
Brian Znotins (BZ): I agree with it, but that network doesn’t come without its drawbacks. If you were to pretend that an airline didn’t exist in the USA, that you had all this air travel demand and that you’re going to build an airline from scratch, where would you want to build that airline? Where would you want your hubs to be?

You’d pick the biggest business centers in the country. Those would have the passengers that are willing to gravitate to the best schedules. They are the ones that will spend a lot on [air travel], along with all of the things that come with the high-value traffic that resides in business centers.

So you think about the biggest business centers in the country (like New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, and LA) and we have hubs in all of those cities. So these cities are already where you’d want to put hubs from scratch.

Houston has led the country in the last 10 years in economic and population growth. So all the kind of characteristics that lend themselves to either high levels of travel demand or increasing travel demand are really resident in our hubs.

Where the challenge comes is if you’ve got something really cool, everybody else is going to want that something really cool as well. So we have to compete for those hubs and those passengers more than you would if you had a hub in a small city, where it’s not as desirable for other carriers.

If you look at when we merged [with Continental Airlines (CAL)], we basically positioned ourselves with great gateways in all of the big international entities. If you wanted to have an Atlantic gateway, it’s hard to think of a better one than New York or Dulles. If you want to have a Pacific gateway, I can’t think of a better one than San Francisco. And the Latin gateway, Houston, is competitive with the best in the country as well, especially in Mexico.

So having not only great big business centers, but gateways to the world, meant that after the merger, we didn’t have any spots to fill in. We didn’t have to say, `Okay, we’ve merged. Now let’s go find ourselves a Pacific gateway and let’s go build one somewhere.’ We already had it.

We’re adding five new long-haul services from San Francisco this year: Tel Aviv, Xi’an, Singapore, Auckland, and Hangzhou. That’s taking advantage of the gateway status, but also the red hot San Francisco economy right now.

Merger day was like Christmas for me. I woke up in the morning and I had all these great hubs under the tree that I could play with. The last five years have been a challenge, because merging two airlines isn’t easy. But in the last two years, we’ve really shifted our focus from a merger to true route network development, and that’s why I think you’d see us rolling out big San Francisco routes right now. We’re also growing Denver domestically more than any other hub this year. This is all those cool kind of network-y things that we wanted to do, but couldn’t during the first three years, while we facilitated the merger.

AWN: In order to fuel this network, you need to have the fleet to do it. Do you have a time frame of when the Boeing 777-300s are coming into the fleet?
BZ: We take our first delivery at the end of the year, and then the remainder will come in the first half of 2017. Our plan right now is to fly those out of Newark and in long-haul, high-demand routes like China and deep trans-Atlantic cities.

AWN: What are your plans for the Airbus A350?
BZ: That airplane is coming in 2018. We’ve modeled a deployment plan, but even if I could tell you, it’s such a high risk of change, that it’s like forecasting the weather three years from now. You can take a stab at it, but you’re probably going to end up being wrong. The way to think about it is that we’ve announced that between now and 2018 were going to retire our Boeing 747 fleet. We’re going to need some big airplanes to back fill that, and the biggest airplanes we’ll have will be the 777-300 and the A350-1000. So it isn’t unrealistic to assume that in many of the markets where we have 747 flying today, you’ll see those kinds of airplanes, including the 787-10, flying in them by 2018 and beyond.

AWN: Looking at the 737 versus the Bombardier (BMB) CSeries from a network perspective, why did the 737 order make more sense?
BZ: The CSeries is a beautiful airplane. We had a chance to experience it with Bombardier (BMB) in Montreal and in other sites. It was a great airplane with good economics. One of the challenges we face for any new fleet type is that it comes with a lot of infrastructure investments. We’d have to train new pilots (FC) and that comes with simulators, and we would have to have spare parts backing for that airplane. And on the day of operation, if we have a bunch of pilots (FC) who can fly a CSeries and a bunch of pilots (FC), who can fly a 737 and they’re not interchangeable, that may take away some flexibility in our operation.

* RELATED: United Airlines 2016 Fleet Plan

We’ve led the industry in (A0) since the beginning of the year and we want to continue that going forward. One of the drivers, we believe, of an improved operation, is increased simplicity. Introducing a new fleet type now wasn’t necessarily consistent with that. And certainly for the right economics and the right type of airplane, we’re willing to take increased complexity, but it would have to come with a lot of financial benefits.

Boeing (TBC) is a good partner on that airplane for us. We have a number of their planes in our fleet with the same pilots (FC) and the same simulators and the same parts. So for (UAL) today, we thought the best answer for us was additional 737s and decided to go on that path.

AWN: (UAL) has done some interesting things with the Boeing 787, using it on experimental markets like the less-than-daily service into interior China, along with new service from Los Angeles to Melbourne, [Australia], and San Francisco to Auckland, [New Zealand]. Do you foresee utilizing the 787 for similar markets?
BZ: Right now, we fly our 787s out of Houston, (LA) and San Francisco to markets like you mentioned. That was enabled by the 787. But one of the strategies we’re focused on right now is developing our secondary China services, and the 787 is a really great airplane for that. From San Francisco, the 767-300 and the 767-400 are the right-sized airplanes for that type of demand, but they don’t have the range to get to Chengdu, and the 777 is too big to go from San Francisco to Chengdu, although it does have the range.

So we really didn’t have the right airplane for this kind of strategy historically, but having the 787, especially the 787-8, gives us the ability to have a right-sized airplane that can go that far. We certainly hope to move Chengdu up from less than daily service. But that will come with market development.

* RELATED: United Hits One Year Of 787 Operations.

We want it to be at the front end just like we are at the front end of development in Beijing and Shanghai. We believe that business (C) passengers have stayed loyal to us for 30 years as we have continued to maintain that schedule advantage. We hope to do the same with secondary China markets. The growing middle class in China has the propensity to travel, and it’s increasing at a rate faster than Gross Domestic Product (GDP) right now. And for a route like Chengdu, we’re actually pleasantly surprised with the number of passengers we’re carrying, so we’re incorporating that into our models for future development of the market.

We will eventually fly the 787 in all of our hubs. But right now, we think it’s best to focus them on the West Coast, where we have the greatest opportunities. San Francisco and Singapore is one of the ones I’m most proud of. It’s the longest 787 flight in the world, the longest flight operated by a USA carrier and will be the only nonstop from the USA to Singapore. These are the kinds of things that network planners really geek out about. We love having non-stops to new points on the globe that other carriers don’t have, because a network planner’s job is to help business and leisure passengers save time. We want to design a schedule and a product that allows more time on the beach for the leisure folks or for the business folks to get home in time for their kid’s soccer game or whatever is important to them.

If you look at our San Francisco to Singapore schedule, you can have dinner with your family in San Francisco, head to the airport, get on our airplane, arrive in Singapore in the morning and do your meetings. With traditional schedules in Singapore, you actually had to leave midday out of San Francisco, connect in some Asian hub and then get to Singapore at night. So you lost time with your family not only in travel time, but in just functional time of when you had to leave for the airport, and when you get to your destination. We want to design schedules that people will want to buy.

AWN: It seems like there’s been some shrinking at Los Angeles as San Francisco is expanding, even while American (AAL) and Delta (DAL) seemed to be expanding their footprint in (LA).
BZ: You speak with (AAL) and (DAL) about what their thoughts on (LA) are. They certainly know better than I do. But for us, we believe we have the industry’s leading Pacific gateway in San Francisco and we want to invest in that. Our (LA) capacity, after accounting for our (JFK) exit as we moved Premium Seats to Newark, is roughly flat, year over year. We’re not actually reducing (LA) this year. The (JFK) reduction was more about (JFK) than it was about (LA).

Clearly, having the best gateway in San Francisco was worthy of investing in that business. We weren’t going to ignore (LA). We have a lot of great services from (LA). We fly to London Heathrow, Shanghai, and Tokyo, and we added (LA) - Melbourne. So we’re certainly not going to ignore it from a new route perspective. But as you’ve seen this year, the majority of our new routes to the Pacific will be out of San Francisco, given its strength and its position in the country.

AWN: There’s been a lot of industry speculation that the Washington Dulles hub is in jeopardy. What is the future of the Dulles hub?
BZ: We have pulled a couple of long-haul services out of Dulles, like Kuwait and Dubai, but those really weren’t about Dulles. That was really about the Middle Eastern carriers.

And for (UAL) in Dulles right now, it’s really important for us to have good partners in our home markets, and Jack Potter, [head of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA)] is a fantastic partner for us. Right now, we’re partnering with (MWAA) to understand how we can best improve our costs at Dulles, which we’ve done at other hubs. Those cost improvements have been followed by growth at those hubs. So the efforts that they are undertaking in Dulles right now are generating growth plans for us there on a domestic basis.

We’re adding Lisbon and Barcelona this year. I’m pretty happy about those two nonstop services from Dulles. And then certainly into the latter part of this year, as some of those cost improvements start to roll in, we’re going to see increased capacity at Dulles. You can go across the country and look at any hub that reduces its cost. It starts to attract the capacity from hubs that aren’t reducing their costs or even more so from hubs that are increasing their costs.

Hubs compete with one another. If you live in Boston and you want to go to Houston, you can fly as a nonstop on us, but we’re also competing with a connection in Dallas, a connection in Charlotte and a connection in Atlanta, and in Dallas/Fort Worth. So if we have a cheaper option over Dulles than we had before, we’re going to dedicate more capacity to that as we re-balance the network.

So for us, we remain committed to Dulles, and I think Lisbon and Barcelona are examples of that. Later this year, we’ll see even more domestic capacity out of there as a reflection of the great partnership we have with Jack Potter at (MWAA).

* ANALYSIS: What does the future hold for (UAL) at Washington Dulles?

AWN: How has the New York market responded to the Premium Seats shift from (JFK) Airport to Newark?
BZ: It really surpassed our expectations. When we forecast the change, we anticipated a number of passengers, especially ones that live in (LA) and San Francisco, would want to move to Newark as a result of the premium seats moving to Newark. We had an incredibly strange situation, where passengers flying to Newark from San Francisco and (LA) before, who weren’t getting the best product we had to offer. That was our hub, and yet the passenger flying to (JFK) got a much better seat and product than the passengers flying to Newark. We heard that a lot from the passengers.

So when we forecast the move, we forecast a number of those passengers were actually flying to (JFK) because of the better seat and not because they preferred (JFK). And certainly there are a number of passengers who did prefer (JFK), but what we found is that many more passengers moved from (JFK) over to our Newark services than we anticipated. So right now, we are actually planning to fly more capacity in Newark this summer and fall, than we originally envisioned in order to accommodate all that demand that decided to move with us. We’re pretty excited about how much we’re actually meeting forecasts on that change.

* ANALYSIS: United Shifts (p.s.) to Newark; Swaps (JFK) Slots with (DAL)

AWN: Did you ever think you’d see the day when (UAL) didn’t serve (JFK)?
BZ: There are a lot of things that are happening in the airline business right now that I never thought I’d see the day. I never thought I’d see the day that an airline could make $4 billion. I never thought I’d see the day that there weren’t hubs in Pittsburgh, Memphis and Cleveland. It’s a changing industry and you have to change with it. So for us, with the merger and with such strength in Newark, along with the right number of airplanes to be able to offer a good all-flatbed schedule there, the right change to make was to pull out of (JFK).

Continental (CAL) didn’t serve (JFK) at the time of the merger and (UAL) really only served (JFK) from two points at the time of the merger. So for the most part, the (JFK) exit started 20 years ago and this was just a culmination of it.

* RELATED: The Transcon Wars: The Ultimate Airline Battleground.

AWN: How as the current network being re-balanced with regards to the drop in oil prices?
BZ: We have a great hub in the city in Houston. Aside from the last 18 months, it has led the country in economic growth, which is a reflection of the great business environment down there. But we’ve always said that we have a natural oil hedge in our business, and the natural oil hedge is our energy traffic. So when oil prices are increasing, oil activity increases, travel demand related to oil increases and we see a revenue benefit from that.

Conversely, when oil prices are down, we see energy activity drop and travel related to that energy activity drop. We had great growth plans for Houston in our long-term plans. Instead, we’ll grow Denver and San Francisco more. But I think most people believe oil prices will eventually rebound, which will come with the rebound in travel. We’ll resume Houston’s growth plans then.

AWN: At the (IATA) Legal Symposium, there was a panel on Latin America. The managing legal counsel for (UAL) was there and one of the topics was Cuba. (UAL)’s application for Cuba service was reserved compared to the other carriers. What are your thoughts on that application and how do you envision the market developing?
BZ: We applied for service we think will be financially viable to Cuba. You look at New York and the majority of Cubans who live in the New York area actually live on the New Jersey side of the river. So we think our 8x-weekly flights from Newark will be successful, much like we serve other ethnic Caribbean points from Newark successfully.

Using Canada as an example, there’s much more capacity from Canada to leisure points in Cuba, than there is from ethnic points. Varadero, for example, has much more capacity than Havana does. And right now, the way that travel is in Cuba, there is no tourism box [for USA travelers] to check on the form to go to Cuba. So we certainly want to serve the ethnic markets and the business market as best we can, but it’s still too early to think about really meaningful capacity growth in the leisure markets until it’s possible for Americans who want to go there, are able to check the tourism box that doesn’t exist yet, and fly that capacity.

If you look at the route authority to Varadero and all the other points in Cuba, they’re really unlimited. There are 10 daily frequencies and nobody applied for frequencies to any one of these points. So when the capability arises, you’ll see a file for more leisure services to address that demand. At (UAL), the number one job of a network planner is to match capacity with demand, and we think our application does that.

AWN: How did the economic difficulties in some of the Latin American countries, especially Venezuela and Brazil, affect (UAL)’s capacity in the region?
BZ: Starting with Venezuela, you see the country is in a really tough spot. It’s been next to impossible to repatriate currency. So the industry and (UAL) stopped selling tickets in Bolivars because we couldn’t get that money out of the country. It’s essentially worthless to us. As a result of that, travel demand declined and you saw the industry reduce capacity, including (UAL), to match supply and demand. If the economy recovers there, and we’re able to repatriate currency again, you’ll see us start selling tickets in that currency and increase capacity accordingly. But I’m not sure anyone thinks that will happen in the coming months.

In Brazil, the economy has gone through a rough time, and we believe that the market is in an overcapacity situation there. So we will re-fleet the Houston - SaoPaulo route from a 787-8 to a 767-300 from May 5, 2016 onward and Houston - Rio de Janeiro from a 777-200 to a 787-8 from September 7, 2016 onward.

We actually recently reduced our Dulles to Sao Paulo flights for the off-peak season from daily to 5x-weekly from May through October.

Again, it’s paramount to match capacity with demand. And once the economy recovers in Brazil, we’ll look to re-gauge the capacity again, much like we had in the past.

* ANALYSIS: (UAL) Buys a Stake in Azul (AZL).

AWN: You just announced a joint venture (JV) with Air New Zealand (ANZ) and you have a lot of them with other airlines. Why are (JV)s an important part of the network process? Do you foresee any more (JV)s in new regions of the world?
BZ: I’ll use an example of (ANA), as to why (JV)s are important for us. We identified over time that the China 1.0 strategy was to go to Beijing and Shanghai through Tokyo, and China 2.0, which (UAL) led the charge on, was to fly nonstop from the USA to Beijing and Shanghai. And now we believe China 3.0 is flying nonstop from the USA to the secondary points.

But what our (JV) partnership has allowed us to do is effectively relocate our Tokyo hub to San Francisco, and we have many more nonstop services from the USA today than we had from Tokyo into the Pacific 20 years ago. There are business, leisure and (VFR) passengers in San Francisco that are going to their family or have meetings. They can now fly nonstop to Asia instead of having to connect in Tokyo. As a network planner, we love saving people time, and that’s great.

But more importantly, having a great gateway in San Francisco opens up dozens of cities, that before had to double-connect to points in Asia. So travelers had to go from Indianapolis to San Francisco to Tokyo to Taipei, and now they can just go Indianapolis to San Francisco to Taipei. There’s not only a bunch of passengers, we’re serving nonstop, but we’re serving a ton more on a single-connect basis, when they had to double-connect before.

What (ANA) allows us to do, is draw down those beyond-Tokyo services and still keep our services to Tokyo. Because if you imagine, a high number of passengers used to be on flights going beyond Tokyo for one hour to places like Taipei. If you pull down that Narita - Taipei, then you pulled a bunch of passengers off San Francisco and Narita that were going to Taipei, and you want to be able to back fill that capacity.

So what the (JV) has allowed us to do, is work together with (ANA) to make Tokyo a great connecting hub for points that can support nonstop service from the USA. So we sat with (ANA) and we said ‘look at this great opportunity to Jakarta, look at this great opportunity to Kuala Lumpur.’ These energy passengers who live in Houston wanted to get to Jakarta. If we re-timed the flight from their morning departure out of Tokyo to an evening departure, it would connect to all of our USA services, including Houston, and the energy passengers going from Houston to Jakarta could now get there faster that they would before.

So now, Tokyo for us is about connecting to these secondary points and working with (ANA) and being able to share travel trends and information with them, so they feel good about re-timing their flights from a morning schedule in Tokyo to an evening schedule that connect. We’re adding a whole new destination like Kuala Lumpur that connects throughout.

And it’s interesting to note that today, we connect more passengers to (ANA) in Tokyo than we connected to ourselves at the time of the merger, with all the beyond-Tokyo flying we had. So we actually have more passengers on our Tokyo flight going beyond Tokyo now, than we did when we had all our own flights going beyond Tokyo. The (ANA) (JV) has really enabled that.

So we believe that the strength for us in Tokyo is that if you’re going to Tokyo itself, we can offer you dozens of flights either us on or (ANA) nonstop, or single connection than if you’re going beyond Tokyo, we can give you great connecting portfolio as well, in addition to all the non-stops we offer from San Francisco. We think our two major USA competitors can’t even come close to that.

AWN: You’ve made big moves in the region, to Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City, and Singapore. What’s driving all of the growth in the Asia-Pacific region?
BZ: It’s all about demand growth, and the forefather of demand growth is (GDP) growth. So China’s economy has been the hottest in the world for as long as I’ve been in this business. So as (GDP) and travel demand grow, they are in concert. In fact, the way China’s economy is evolving, its travel demand is actually growing faster than (GDP), as the propensity for travel increases among the folks there. And as you see demand growth, you’re going to need capacity growth. So we certainly have the best gateway in the USA. So as demand grows, we’re going to be best positioned to offer new services.

But really, it’s just about economic growth in Asia. I think most people would agree that in terms of regions, Southeast Asia and China are going to be hot economically for a number of years. We anticipate that there’s an advantage to being at the front end of that curve, and adding new services to take advantage of that demand as it increases and grows. So the short answer is that it’s all about (GDP) growth.

* RELATED: (UAL) to Expand China Footprint With Service to Xi’an.

AWN: Looking at the map for the next few years, what are some of the priorities that you have for (UAL)’s network?
BZ: There are so many to choose from. Certainly we want to capitalize on the strength of our hubs. You’ve seen a real investment in San Francisco trans-Pacific flying, and we want to continue to support that. We want passengers in San Francisco to look to (UAL) for the very best schedules to Asia and domestically. So that’s a real priority for us.

But overall, I think the biggest priority, if you go network-wide, is transitioning the airline from half regional airplanes, and half mainline airplanes. With a bunch of factors going on in the business right now, that has been shifting, and it needs to continue to shift going forward. So as network planners, we want to be able to manage our network and our schedules in a way that caters to larger airplanes. So we ordered 65 737-700s and many of those airplanes are essentially regional jet replacements. So in a market where you may have flown 10 time a day on 50-seaters, perhaps we’ll fly that 6 or 7x-daily on 76-seaters or 5x-daily on mainline airplanes.

That comes with schedule adjustments that have to be made. The great news there is that for passengers, you get a great first-class (F) cabin and economy (Y) plus and a large airplane with in-flight entertainment and all the great amenities with the mainline airline. So we’re really excited about that, but we also need to manage capacity accordingly.

So when you’re shifting from a smaller-gauge aircraft to a larger-gauge one, the priority is really to focus on how to best do that and take advantage of the cost savings that come with that kind of deployment without giving up too much on the frequency and schedule side. This is an industry thing that you see. It’s not just (UAL)’s. But a lot of our focus is on is how to best deal with that.

* Benét J Wilson is an experienced freelance aviation/travel writer. She has been in the business for more than >20 years, having her works published in several printed and digital publications including USA Today, Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine and (AIN). Benet is the Air Travel Expert for About.com and is working on her private pilot’s certificate.

Mike Arata is the Managing Director of Engineering at (UAL). He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from Pennsylvania State University in 1991.

Mike has held various positions at (UAL) over his 24 year career. He hired into (UAL) in San Francisco as a Liaison Engineer upon graduation from Penn State. He later transferred to Chicago, where he continued to work with Liaison Engineering in the Lead Engineer position. Mike’s leadership roles expanded into Line Maintenance where he assumed the Area Manager role in running the Aircraft Maintenance Terminal operation at (UAL)’s largest hub in Chicago O’Hare. He then returned to the Engineering organization and assumed his current role.

In his current role, Mike’s Engineering team is responsible for the regulatory compliance, configuration control, modifications, reliability, and technical program requirements for the fleet.

Beyond United, at the aviation industry level, Mike previously held the Chairman role on the (A4A) Engineering Maintenance & Material Council from 2014 to 2015. He also serves on the advisory board for Penn State.





With >32 years in commercial and military aviation experience, Anthony has an extensive experience base in commercial aviation that includes; 3rd party engine and heavy aircraft (MRO) Program Management, Technical/Commercial Engine Leasing Portfolio Management, Spare Parts Sales, Fleet Planning Consultancy, Commercial Engine (OEM), as well as past and his present role at major USA Airlines.

Anthony recently joined (UAL) as Managing Director (MRO) Business Development where he is responsible for the development, evaluation and structure to help create value growth opportunities which ensures the correct mix of products and resources for (UAL) Technical Operations.

Anthony holds both a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics and an (MBA) in Aviation from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. Additionally, he is an (FAA) licensed Airframe & Powerplant (A&P) mechanic and an (FAA) licensed Private Pilot.













































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