It's the sort of proof
no one was hoping for -- an indication that skyrocketing fuel
prices are cutting into the commercial airline business. It's sort
of like kicking a man when he's down (or just getting up).
United Airlines says it may have to lay off more employees
because of increased fuel costs. The bankrupt carrier's chief
operating officer, Pete McDonald, said "there's always a
potential," when asked whether the higher prices for fuel would
result in lay offs.
Speaking at an event
for United's spinoff airline, Ted, McDonald compared the spike in
fuel costs with the 9/11 attacks and last year's SARS epidemic.
"It's got the same effect on us," he said.
United's parent company, UAL Corp., filed documents in federal
court Friday indicating the airline isn't currently hedging fuel
prices. United predicts it will spend $750 million on fuel this
That echoes the warnings of analysts who say the industry's
fledgling recovery could be all but erased by the fuel price