US partner UA: Long, ugly fight foreseen



UAL: Long, ugly fight foreseen
CHICAGO (Crain''s Business news) - There''s one certainty in the financial meltdown of UAL Corp., parent of United Airlines: Its bankruptcy, seemingly inevitable, will be long, hard-fought and ugly.
Elk Grove Township-based UAL''s reorganization under Chapter 11 is expected to be far messier than those of other airlines that have filed for bankruptcy, and will likely play out over at least one to two years, observers say.
The air carrier, the nation''s second-largest, intends to remake itself into a viable company. Still, there is an outside chance that it won''t emerge from bankruptcy protection but will be forced to liquidate, if negotiations between management, labor and other interested groups break down in court.
Given its size, complexity and rich history of labor tension, UAL is already working at a disadvantage.
A positive outcome depends on whether they can keep peace with their unions, says Darryl Jenkins, director of the Aviation Institute at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. If management ratchets down labor costs too severely, it will get so divisive, no one will want to travel with them.