There they go again, those pesky United pilots. Now they're saying the airline's chief, Glenn Tilton, should leave because he bought some fuel hedges and United lost money on them. This is outrageous, says the union, because Tilton used to be at Chevron Texaco. "How is it that an oil man such as Glenn Tilton can't figure out how to stem losses from hedging jet fuel?" asked Captain Steve Wallach, chairman of the United Chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association. "This latest reported loss is a real head-scratcher. It took him too long to realize the value of hedging, and then he entered the market too late," says Wallach. For the first time in a (very) long time, we feel some sympathy for Glenn, mostly because for once it's not his fault.
Blaming the boss at UAL
For the first time in a (very) long time, we feel some sympathy for Glenn, mostly because for once it's not his fault. When it was in reorganization, United couldn't enter into any hedging contracts, because you can't when you're in Chapter 11. And when it came out, it was a little bit hard to shift to a hedging strategy, which had been a long time Southwest strategy. (And look where it got Southwest!) If we were the pilots - and thank goodness we're not - we might point out that the airline lost $252 million on its operations. This is not good, but as Merrill Lynch airline guy Mike Linenberg points out, it ain't that bad. In fact, it's a good bit better than most people had expected, he says.
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