State of the Airlines

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

NEWS: United wants no pension obligations

United Airlines told the bankruptcy courts today that it needs to kill of its pension programs as part of its plan to survive. This is where I say it needs to stop. Running your airline into the ground (figuratively of course) and causing lots of good people to lose their jobs is one thing. But trying to take away the pension plans that (a) you signed a contract to pay and (b) people tend to plan on know...when they retire, is simply wrong. Its really reprehensible in my book. I think the judge ought to look United square in the eye and tell them that they are obligated to at least cover the pensions they have built up to date. Striking a new deal going forward is a different story. If United can't cover the promises they made and find away to make it work then they need just need to shut it down and put the assets first and foremost to cover these costs.

And irks me a little that United pulls this immediately after the mechanics and flight attendant unions came to the table and made their deals with management. Deals that, unfortunately, did not cover pension plans.