United Airlines aims to emerge from bankruptcy as early as this year

Friday, June 20th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CHICAGO (AP) _ The airline that made the largest bankruptcy filing in aviation history in December announced it may emerge from bankruptcy as early as this year, but warned it still faces significant financial hurdles.

Officials of United Airlines, the world's second-largest carrier, said Friday that they're targeting between October and March to exit Chapter 11 instead of the 18 months originally predicted, executives said.

Chief financial officer Jake Brace said United's overseas bookings have improved sharply from a month ago, when air travel had dropped off because of the SARS virus and the war in Iraq.

``There are lot of things we need to do to get out,'' Brace told reporters after a hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. ``One of those things is exit financing.''

The Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based carrier is finalizing a business plan that will underpin the reorganization plan it has to file by Oct. 6. United also intends to reapply for a federal loan guarantee from the Air Transportation Stabilization Board.