United Airlines' parent UAL is once again on the hunt for a chief executive officer (CEO) as the airline continues its mission to seek employee pay concessions as part of a cost-cutting programme aimed at turning around the financially troubled airline. The airline has signed up a US head-hunting company to replace temporary CEO Jack Creighton, who will stay until his replacement is found.

Creighton was appointed chairman and chief executive of the Star Alliance airline barely six months ago after James Goodwin was forced to step down following union calls for his resignation and a series of loss-making quarters. United last year posted the industry's worst-ever 12-month loss of $2.1 billion. Creighton made clear that he saw his assignment as temporary and his chief mission was stabilising the company financially.

To that end, Creighton has begun a series of talks with union leaders seeking pay concessions. Reaction from employees, who own 55% of United, has been mixed. The Air Line Pilots Association union is prepared to discuss labour cost relief, but the Association of Flight Attendants says it is not. The International Association of Machinists, representing ground workers, has stayed away from talks, having just agreed a substantial wage increase.

Source: Flight International