United Airlines seeks
$2 billion in federal loan help
CHICAGO — United asked the government for $2 billion in federal loan assistance Monday, making it the biggest airline yet to seek help under a program set up after Sept. 11 to prop up the ailing industry.
The nation’s No. 2 airline has lost about $1 billion since the terrorist attacks. It is the third major airline to seek federal loan guarantees under the program, behind America West and US Airways.
United said it asked the Air Transportation Stabilization Board for a loan of $2 billion, with $1.8 billion guaranteed by the recently established panel.
United chairman and chief executive Jack Creighton called United “the perfect candidate” for the program, since it was a target of the attacks.
Creighton had said United would apply if it got wage concessions from its employees. It has since ordered pay cuts for its 11,000 management and salaried employees, estimated at $430 million over three years, and reached a tentative pay-cut agreement with its 9,200 pilots worth $520 million over three years.
Federal approval of its application is not assured. Not only have United’s mechanics and flight attendants not agreed to cuts, but the airline has come under fire within the industry for seeking government help when it was trouble even before Sept. 11.
Gas prices rise slightly
over two-week period
CAMARILLO — Gas prices rose by less than a penny in the past two weeks because of higher prices in western states and a temporary slowdown in gas production.
The average price nationwide, including all gasoline grades and taxes, was about $1.44 a gallon on Friday, according to the Lundberg survey of 8,000 stations.
That was up 0.65 per gallon since June 7.
“Since wholesale buying prices are already in a downward correction, further retail hikes may not occur,” said analyst Trilby Lundberg on Sunday. “Nationally, the pump price direction will be determined mostly by OPEC’s upcoming crude oil production decision and whether OPEC members and cooperating countries adhere to agreed quotas.”
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will meet Wednesday in Vienna, Austria, to discuss output levels and pricing.
Prices dropped in most regions of the country. But price hikes in some western states offset falling national prices.
Current prices remain about 19 cents below gas prices a year ago at this time.
Demand for high-speed
Internet access growing
NEW YORK — Consumers’ appetite for high-speed Internet access and the online activities associated with it is growing, recent surveys show.
Roughly 24 million Americans, or 21 percent of all Web users, now have high-speed connections at home, an increase of more than a quarter since the start of the year, and quadruple the number of broadband users just two years ago, according to a survey conducted last month by Pew Internet and American Life Project.
“This places broadband adoption rates on par with the adoption of other popular technologies, such as the personal computer and the compact disc player, and faster than color TV and the VCR,” said researchers for Pew, a nonprofit initiative of the Pew Research Center for People and the Press.
Nearly six in 10 broadband users have generated their own online content such as a personal Web page, posted information to a Web site or shared music and other types of files online, according to a survey of 507 adults with high-speed service conducted in January and February. About a quarter of them perform such activities on a typical day.