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8/31/2003

Bankrupt United is hiring again

The Associated Press

DENVER — Bankrupt United Airlines says it plans to hire more than 450 part-time employees in Denver, Chicago and Los Angeles by the end of September to handle increased passenger loads and other work.

Eighty-four workers will start permanent jobs at Denver International Airport this week and next, United spokeswoman Chris Nardella said Thursday. Another 25 will start Sept. 22 for deicing jobs that will last through the winter.

United is also hiring about 250 part-time ramp-service workers in Chicago and 100 in Los Angeles, Nardella said. Most of those workers are being rehired after losing their jobs over the last year, while most of the Denver workers are new to the company.

United, which filed for bankruptcy protection in December, is filling seats at near-record levels in part because it has cut seating capacity dramatically. The airline has laid off tens of thousands of workers since its financial troubles began; in Denver alone, employment has dropped from 9,000 to about 6,100.

A representative for the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association said Thursday that United has begun telling up to 45 Denver-based mechanics they are being furloughed. Bill Moons, a local AMFA official, also said company officials have told the union as many as 250 mechanics may be laid off companywide.

United spokesman Jeff McAndrews said the company has not informed AMFA of any impending furloughs. The airline employs about 800 mechanics in Denver and 8,000 overall, down from 12,500 two years ago.