STEPHEN WOLF, who presided over United's 1994 employee buy-out, has been hired by USAir to win additional concessions from unionised workers and keep the nation's sixth-largest airline on a profitable track.

Wolf replaces the retiring Seth Schofield as USAir's chairman and chief executive.

The US airline industry veteran will not comment on his new appointment, which takes effect 22 January, until after he has had the opportunity to meet USAir workers. In a prepared statement, he says: "I have long viewed USAir as an airline with tremendous potential, and I look forward to joining the 42,000 employees of USAir in building the company for the future."

Schofield says that Wolf " ideally suited to carry on the restructuring of USAir". Mathias DeVito, a USAir director who headed the search team, says: "Steve Wolf has clearly demonstrated his ability to lead a major carrier and to add shareholder value. We look forward to him doing the same here at USAir."

The appointment took the industry by surprise. Unions had no immediate comment on the prospects of dealing with Wolf. Schofield had failed to win major concessions from organised labour, and the trade unions can expect some tough talk from Wolf, whose departure from United was demanded by rank-and-file union members at the time of the buy-out.

Source: Flight International