United’s New CEO Steps In…Flight Attendant Deal Near, plus Former Continental Boss Supports Munoz

Two interesting United Airlines related articles from The Street. First, could there soon be a deal with flight attendants after five years of fighting? The president of the Association of Flight Attendants says it’s on the horizon within the next few months thanks to new CEO Munoz.

“Oscar has an actual vision for the airline: It’s a night and day change,” said Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, which represents United’s 24,000 flight attendants. “I have worked with a lot of managements. I have never seen a CEO this engaged and this committed to the success of the company.”

“You see how screwed up United was under Smisek, but finally we have a turn of events here,” she said. Recounting details of a Feb. 4 meeting with Munoz, Nelson said, “He said every decision that needs to be made needs to be run through a filter of ‘the human factor.’ That was absent with Smisek. He was aloof and not engaged.”

Munoz “is a guy who understands that the airline business is about people,” Nelson said. “He made more changes in {his first} six weeks than we had seen in five years. That first day we met, it was clear that United management finally was interested in getting a deal.”

Check out the full read here.

In an earlier article, the man credited with building Continental and setting Gordon Bethune up for success says that United’s CEO should be given time to improve the airline on his own without intrusion from Bethune or five other potential new board members. Frank Lorenzo, had this to say:

“Oscar Munoz has obviously had a difficult start to his tenure as CEO,” Lorenzo said. “He should be given the chance to continue developing and implementing his plans for the company. The attempts by these funds in waging a proxy contest has everything to do with their seizing on a difficult period at United to gain control of this major company” and nothing to do with “employee or shareholder betterment.”

See the full article here.

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