For United Airlines, bankruptcy isn’t cheap

by Jon Surmacz on March 25, 2005

For United Airlines, bankruptcy isn’t cheap — Since filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late 2002, United Airlines has lost $4.5 billion in net income. The aircraft engineers’ union alleges that the carrier’s lead law firm is overbilling for its services. The International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers has filed objections with the bankruptcy judge about what it contends are out-of-control fees from Kirkland & Ellis — a total of $54 million since the carrier sought bankruptcy protection 27 months ago.

New rules worry Alaska cruise ships — To protect cruise ships from terrorist attacks, the U.S. Coast Guard proposes new rules to prevent other boats from closely approaching the ships in Alaska waters. Fishing groups, floatplane operators and cruise lines are among many businesses trying to get a handle on the rules’ repercussions for marine traffic in Southeast Alaska’s tight channels and small harbors.

You want a rental car with your groceries? — Entrepreneurs Gina and David Fant are introducing something new to Texarkana and Arkansas: a car rental business on the grounds of a Wal-Mart Supercenter. The new Budget Car Rental business has its vehicles lined up at the edge of the Wal-Mart parking lot near Arkansas Boulevard, one of only a handful of such operations in the country.

Northwest: No worries for Easter — With predictions that today is expected to be the busiest Good Friday rush ever at Detroit Metro Airport, Northwest Airlines is reassuring travelers that staffing will be sufficient to handle the crowds and avoid any repeat of massive backups experienced during a winter break weekend last month. “Our staffing varies depending on volume, and we will be adequately staffed,” airline spokesman Thomas Becher said Thursday.

So you like Bin Laden and you want to be an airport screener? — A Dearborn man who was discharged early from the U.S. Air Force after the 9/11 terrorist attacks for allegedly sympathizing with Osama bin Laden will go to trial next week on charges that he lied on a questionnaire to become a federal security screener.

Hello, dear, I’m lost in the rainforest — An English biologist popped out for a gentle stroll through the Malaysian rainforest – and became lost for five days. John Gillatt, 56, knew he was in trouble when he could not find his way back to his hotel in the Fraser’s Hill holiday resort, in the Cameron Highlands, with only three shortbread biscuits, an apple, an orange and a bottle of water in his rucksack.

Contributing: John Frenaye

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