Local News

US Airways Keeps Fingers Crossed For Final Holiday Weekend

Posted December 30, 2004 4:43 a.m. EST

— With its customers' confidence shaken, its employees nervous and competitors cutting fares, US Airways is entering a critical two-week period that may determine whether the airline survives.

The nation's seventh-largest air carrier is bankrupt, and its financial problems revealed themselves to the public last week when the company was unable to handle a combination of bad weather and employee no-shows over the Christmas holidays.

It was still working this week to deliver the last of an estimated 10,000 bags that piled up at its hub in Philadelphia when too few workers were available to handle them. Some bags weren't expected to reach their owners until the weekend.

At RDU International, some passengers were still skeptical about allowing US Airways to check their luggage. Kesha Rosa said she still has not received her luggage from US Airways for a previous trip.

"I've been here for seven days and I still have not received my luggage," she said.

Chris Rogers said he lost his luggage, which contained his Christmas gifts.

"To be perfectly honest with you, I probably will avoid traveling US Airways if possible. There are so many deals you can get with any other airlines," he said.

Other travelers are not too worried about the recent mishaps.

"I never had US Airways lose mine, so I'm not that worried about it," said traveler Jennifer Hill.

Company officials said they are asking employees to volunteer to travel to Philadelphia to help with the lost luggage.

Flight schedules were largely back to normal by Monday, but other major tests are coming quickly for the airline, which has its largest hub in Charlotte, N.C.

US Airways Group Inc. has said that if it cannot lower labor costs immediately, it will likely begin liquidation after an interim financing deal with the government's Air Transportation Stabilization Board expires on Jan. 15.

Pilots, reservations agents and gate agents have already agreed to salary cuts, but agreements with unions representing other workers are not yet complete.