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United Airlines Makes History Flying the Most Eco-Friendly Commercial Flight of its Kind

June 05, 2019

CHICAGO, June 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines, a longstanding leader among all global carriers in environmental sustainability, made history today – World Environment Day – with the departure of the Flight for the Planet, the most eco-friendly commercial flight of its kind in the history of aviation. On the Flight for the Planet, United became the first known airline to demonstrate all of the following key actions on a single commercial flight: utilization of sustainable aviation biofuel; zero cabin waste efforts; carbon offsetting; and operational efficiencies.

United is using the Flight for the Planet to evaluate key measures of flying as sustainably as possible using the airline's current technology, resources and fuel-saving procedures. The flight departed from gate B12 at United's hometown hub of Chicago O'Hare for its "eco-hub" in Los Angeles, where sustainable aviation biofuel has helped power all the airline's flights from the Southern California hub since 2016.

"The historic Flight for the Planet showcases United's philosophy of working together to find new and innovative ways to lead us into a more sustainable future," said Scott Kirby, United's president. "As an airline, we see our environment from a unique perspective every day and we know we must do our part to protect our planet and our skies."

The Flight for the Planet further illustrates United's commitment to its bold pledge to reduce its carbon footprint by 50% by 2050.

Sustainable Aviation Biofuel

United is powering the Flight for the Planet using a 30/70 blend of low-carbon, sustainable aviation fuel provided by Boston-based World Energy, and traditional jet fuel. The biofuel alone achieves a greater than 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis compared to traditional jet fuel, and using biofuel is one of the most effective ways an airline can reduce its impact on the environment.

United recently renewed its contract with World Energy, agreeing to purchase up to 10 million gallons of cost-competitive, sustainable aviation biofuel over the next two years. United was the first airline globally to use sustainable aviation biofuel on a continuous basis and the only airline in the United States to currently do so.

Zero Cabin Waste and Industry-First, Recyclable-Paper Cup

In the Economy cabin, United is swapping traditional snack options with a complimentary plated service featuring fully recyclable or compostable serviceware, including a test of an industry-first, recyclable-paper, hot beverage cup.

In the premium cabin, United is continuing to use reusable service ware and swap plastic lids for beeswax food wrappers. The airline is also removing the paper wrapping from silverware roll-ups. United has already eliminated non-recyclable stirring sticks and cocktail picks on aircraft systemwide and replaced them with an environmentally-friendly product made of 100% bamboo.

Carbon Offsetting

United is offsetting the remainder of the flight's emissions via the airline's new carbon offset provider, Conservation International. Conservation International now partners with United on the airline's consumer carbon offset program – Eco-Skies CarbonChoice – and together the two allies will focus on CI's mission to promote nature-based solutions to climate change.

Operational Efficiencies

United has made significant investments in a modern, fuel-efficient fleet while implementing operational and procedural changes to drive fuel conservation. The Flight for the Planet is demonstrating single-engine taxiing, Air Traffic Control prioritization and a continuous descent approach into Los Angeles, which saves fuel while also reducing noise impact to the city. United is operating the flight using its Eco-Skies livery Boeing 737-900ER, which on average carries passengers 77 miles on a single gallon of fuel.

Additionally, 40% of United's eligible ground service equipment (GSE) is electric-powered, with more than 70% of the airline's ground operation at its Los Angeles eco-hub utilizing electric GSE equipment. United is the first airline to use new ITW 7400 electric ground power units that drastically reduce workplace noise pollution and cut carbon emissions by 90%. United is also using electric-powered ground equipment to service the Flight for the Planet at the departure and arrival gates.

United's Commitment to the Environment

United's Flight for the Planet represents yet another innovative initiative the airline has undertaken to reduce its overall footprint and further ensure its reputation as the world's most environmentally conscious airlines. Several of United's most significant environmental achievements include:

  • Becoming the first airline globally to use sustainable aviation biofuel on a continuous basis, marking a significant milestone in the industry by moving beyond test programs and demonstrations to the everyday use of low-carbon fuel in ongoing operations.
  • Investing more than $30 million in California-based sustainable aviation fuels producer Fulcrum BioEnergy, which remains the single largest investment by any airline globally in sustainable fuels. United's agreement to purchase nearly 1 billion gallons from Fulcrum BioEnergy is the largest offtake agreement for biofuel in the airline industry.
  • Becoming the first airline to fly with Boeing's Split Scimitar winglets, which reduce fuel consumption by an additional 2 percent versus standard winglets; United is the largest Scimitar winglet operator today, with nearly 400 aircraft equipped with these winglets.
  • Becoming the first U.S. airline to repurpose items from the carrier's international premium cabin amenity kits and partnering with Clean the World to donate hygiene products to those in critical need.
  • Partnering with Audubon International to protect raptors – including hawks, owls and kestrels – in and around United's hubs and resettle the birds of prey at habitats where the species are more likely to thrive.

For more information on United's commitment to environmental sustainability, visit united.com/ecoskies.

About United

United's shared purpose is "Connecting People. Uniting the World." We are more focused than ever on our commitment to customers through a series of innovations and improvements designed to help build a great experience: Every customer. Every flight. Every day. Together, United Airlines and United Express operate approximately 4,900 flights a day to 355 airports across five continents. In 2018, United and United Express operated more than 1.7 million flights carrying more than 158 million customers. United is proud to have the world's most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates 779 mainline aircraft and the airline's United Express carriers operate 569 regional aircraft. United is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 193 countries via 28 member airlines. For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter and Instagram or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol "UAL".

SOURCE United Airlines

For further information: United Airlines Worldwide Media Relations, +1-872-825-8640, media.relations@united.com

United Now Cleaning Flight Decks with UVC Lighting

August 06, 2020

CHICAGO, Aug. 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines is now cleaning pilot flight decks with Ultraviolet C (UVC) lighting technology on most aircraft at its hub airports to disinfect the flight deck interior and continue providing pilots with a sanitary work environment. The airline is using handheld, AUVCo blades from the American Ultraviolet company to kill any viruses that may reside on sensitive switches and touch screen displays within the flight deck.

United Airlines Plans to Resume Service on More Than 25 International Routes in September

July 31, 2020

CHICAGO, July 31, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced it plans to resume service on nearly 30 international routes in September, including flights to Asia, India, Australia, Israel and Latin America and to continue to add ways to visit popular vacation destinations in the Caribbean, Hawaii and Mexico. The airline intends to fly 37% of its overall schedule in September as compared to the same period last year and is a 4% increase in capacity compared to what is planned for August 2020. United is also extending its waiver of change fees and award redeposit fees for reservations through August 31.

Passengers Can Now Text Cleaning and Safety Questions Directly to United Airlines

July 30, 2020

CHICAGO, July 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today launched a new chat function – the United Automated Assistant – to give customers a contactless option to receive immediate access to information about cleaning and safety procedures put in place due to COVID-19. Customers can text "Clean" to FLYUA (35982) and get answers to questions about masks, boarding procedures, touchless check-in options and more, without having to call, search online or wait in a line for an answer. The United Automated Assistant is one of many recent innovations that have been developed to modernize the airline's service and create a more seamless experience for our customers. This launch follows another recently announced digital product that allows United customers on standby and upgrade lists to receive text notifications once they have been cleared and assigned a seat, saving them time and further limiting person-to-person interactions.


United Airlines Names Sasha Johnson Vice President Corporate Safety

July 24, 2020

CHICAGO, July 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced that Sasha Johnson will become the company's Vice President of Corporate Safety following Michael Quiello's retirement from United, effective October 1. Johnson, who currently serves as United's managing director of International Regulatory and Policy, will report to United's Chief Operations Officer Jon Roitman.

In her new role, Johnson will manage all aspects of worldwide aviation safety, ground safety, quality assurance, medical, workers compensation, managed care, business continuity, family assistance and emergency operations for United.

"Sasha is a highly respected and well-established leader with a proven track record of navigating some of the most challenging safety and regulatory issues in our industry," said Scott Kirby, United's chief executive officer. "Her unparalleled capacity for collaboration, teamwork and creative solutions will be a tremendous asset to our corporate safety team during one of the most challenging periods our industry has ever faced. We wish Mike well and appreciate his efforts over the past decade to not only lead United's safety programs but also take on a mentorship role for young people interested in aviation."

During Quiello's 11 years with United, the Corporate Safety team accomplished some tremendous milestones, including the highly complex process that resulted in United's single operating certificate after the merger with Continental Airlines. Quiello championed the company's active participation in the OSHA Voluntary Protection Program, and under his leadership, the United team's data visualization program won the National Safety Council's highest award.

Before joining United in 2015, Johnson worked for more than a decade at the Federal Aviation Administration and with the Department of Transportation in various roles including chief of staff at the FAA; assistant to the secretary and director of public affairs, and press secretary at the DOT. In these roles, she developed a comprehensive understanding of the issues critical to aviation safety, honed by her work in crisis management with the FAA administrator and the DOT secretary. 

Prior to that, Johnson spent more than a decade in broadcast journalism at CNN, including covering campaigns and elections as a senior producer.

Johnson holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

About United

United's shared purpose is "Connecting People. Uniting the World." For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter and Instagram or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Airlines Holdings, Inc., is traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol "UAL".

SOURCE United Airlines

For further information: United Airlines Worldwide Media Relations, +1-872-825-8640, media.relations@united.com

United Extends Mask Requirements to Airports

July 22, 2020

CHICAGO, July 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced that customers will be required to wear a face covering in the more than 360 airports where the airline operates around the world. This includes United customer service counters and kiosks, United Club locations, United's gates and baggage claim areas. If customers refuse to comply, they may be refused travel and banned from flying United at least while the mask requirement is in place. This will be effective for all customers traveling on and after July 24 regardless of when their ticket was purchased. United also will strengthen its mask exemption policy by only excluding children under the age of two. If a passenger believes that there are extraordinary circumstances that warrant an exception, they should contact United or speak to a representative at the airport.

United Airlines Took Industry-Leading Steps to Manage Historic Impact of COVID-19 in Q2

July 21, 2020

CHICAGO, July 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines (UAL) today announced second quarter 2020 financial results, the most difficult financial quarter in its 94-year history, with a net loss of $1.6 billion, and an adjusted net loss¹ of $2.6 billion. Total operating revenues were down 87.1% year-over-year, on an 87.8 percent decrease in capacity year-over-year. The company's total liquidity as of the close of business on Monday, July 20, 2020 was approximately $15.2 billion. United now expects liquidity at the end of the third quarter to be over $18 billion.

United Airlines to Maximize Ventilation System During Boarding and Deplaning

July 20, 2020

CHICAGO, July 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced that the carrier will now maximize air flow volume for all mainline aircraft high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration systems during the entire boarding and deplaning process, helping further reduce the spread of COVID-19. In combination with the HEPA filters, the air conditioning and pressurization system onboard United's mainline aircraft recirculates the air every 2-3 minutes and removes 99.97% of particles – including viruses and bacteria during both ground and air operations – making the air onboard a plane significantly cleaner than what people typically experience in restaurants, grocery stores, schools or even some hospitals. United pilots and ground staff are working to implement this new procedure for mainline aircraft beginning July 27.

United Airlines Named a Top Company for Disability Inclusion for Fifth Consecutive Year

July 15, 2020

CHICAGO, July 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines was recognized for the fifth consecutive year as a top-scoring company and best place to work for disability inclusion with a perfect score of 100 on the 2020 Disability Equality Index (DEI). The 2020 DEI measured United's inclusion criteria including: culture & leadership; enterprise-wide access; employment practices; community engagement and supplier diversity.

United Airlines to Hold Webcast of Second-Quarter 2020 Financial Results

July 07, 2020

CHICAGO, July 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines will hold a conference call to discuss second-quarter 2020 financial results on Wednesday, July 22, at 9:30 a.m. CT/10:30 a.m. ET. A live, listen-only webcast of the conference call will be available at ir.united.com. The company will issue its second-quarter earnings release and third-quarter investor update after market close on Tuesday, July 21.

United Airlines Further Expands International Schedule: Adds New Service Between Chicago and Tel Aviv

July 07, 2020

Chicago, July 6, 2020 – United Airlines today announced it is further expanding its international schedule in September with new nonstop service three days a week between Chicago O'Hare and Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport. United also announced it is reinstating service between Chicago and Hong Kong as well as between Los Angeles and Sydney.

United Announces Completion of MileagePlus Senior Secured Notes Offering

July 02, 2020

CHICAGO, July 2, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, United Airlines, Inc. ("United") announced the completion of the private offering by Mileage Plus Holdings, LLC, a direct wholly-owned subsidiary of United that operates the MileagePlus program ("MPH"), and Mileage Plus Intellectual Property Assets, Ltd., an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of MPH ("MIPA" and, together with MPH, the "MileagePlus Subsidiaries") of an aggregate of $3.8 billion in principal amount of 6.50% senior secured notes due 2027 (the "Notes"). Concurrently with the issuance of the Notes, the MileagePlus Subsidiaries entered into a credit agreement providing for a term loan facility ("Term Loan Facility") in an aggregate amount of $3.0 billion. Borrowings under the Term Loan Facility will bear interest at a variable rate equal to LIBOR (but not less than 1.0% per annum) plus 5.25% per annum. The MileagePlus Subsidiaries intend to loan the net proceeds from the offering of the Notes and borrowings under the Term Loan Facility to United, after depositing a portion of such proceeds in reserve accounts for the Notes and the Term Loan Facility.

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