United Airlines Cuts Flights, Discount Carrier

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High fuel prices are causing airlines to make changes. United Airlines is the latest carrier to announce cutbacks in service. The company also said it's shutting down Ted — the discount carrier it launched in 2003.


And as some wireless carriers grow bigger, airline carriers are shrinking. High fuel prices have forced another major airline to ground planes and slash jobs. United has announced it's removing 70 planes from its fleet. It's also shutting down its discount carrier called Ted. From Denver, NPR's Jeff Brady reports.

JEFF BRADY: Ted was launched in Denver with great fanfare in 2003 as a hipper airline with a little bit of an edge to it. But it didn't take off with customers, and United employees were even less enthusiastic, according to David Field with Airline Business Magazine.

Mr. DAVID FIELD (Airline Business Magazine): I do recall what United employees said. Well, what's Ted? Oh, it's the end of United. Or it's United with the U-N-I.

BRADY: United isn't talking about the change. A written statement says simply the airline is eliminating the Ted product. The 56 airbus planes in the Ted fleet will replace Boeing 737s in the regular United fleet. David Field says grounding the 737s is a good move.

Mr. FIELD: It's an airplane that basically was designed in the 1970s that just is a pig on fuel and isn't really big enough to make money anyway.

BRADY: United plans to cut between 900 and 1,100 positions from its payroll. That's on top of 500 previously announced. Among those departing, Senior Vice President Sean Donahue. He was in charge of Ted.

Jeff Brady, NPR News, Denver.

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