United Airlines seeks $1.8 billion in federal loan help

Monday, June 24th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CHICAGO (AP) _ United asked the government for $1.8 billion in federal loan assistance Monday, making it the biggest airline yet to seek help under a program set up after Sept. 11 to prop up the ailing industry.

The nation's No. 2 airline has lost about $1 billion since the terrorist attacks. It is the third major airline to seek federal loan guarantees under the program, behind America West and US Airways.

United said it asked the Air Transportation Stabilization Board to guarantee $1.8 billion of a $2 billion private loan.

United chairman and chief executive Jack Creighton called United ``the perfect candidate'' for the program, since it was a target of the attacks.

Creighton had said United would apply if it got wage concessions from its employees. It has since ordered pay cuts for its 11,000 management and salaried employees, estimated at $430 million over three years, and reached a tentative pay-cut agreement with its 9,200 pilots worth $520 million over three years.

Federal approval of its application is not assured. Not only have United's mechanics and flight attendants not agreed to cuts, but the airline has come under fire within the industry for seeking government help when it was trouble even before Sept. 11.