United Continental Holdings Inc. won’t fire anyone over last week’s incident in which a passenger was dragged off a plane, an episode that sparked worldwide condemnation of the airline, Bloomberg News reports.
United has been pummeled on social media — #BoycottUnited is a popular hashtag — and late-night television. United shares have fallen 4.4 percent since Flight 3411, wiping out nearly $1 billion in market value, although some other airline stocks also declined in the same period.
After the market closed Monday, United reported a $96 million first-quarter profit, down 69 percent from a year earlier largely because of higher costs for fuel, labor and maintenance. The revenue picture was looking better — evidence was growing that after two years of falling average fares, United will be able to push prices higher this year.
“It was a system failure across various areas, so there was never a consideration for firing an employee or anyone around it,” Chief Executive Officer Oscar Munoz said Tuesday on a conference call with analysts. He acknowledged “lots of conjecture” about his own fate at the nation’s third-largest carrier and said “the buck stops here.”
Munoz plans to travel to China in a couple of weeks on a previously scheduled business trip and will meet with officials there about their concerns over the incident, he said. The story spread rapidly on social media in the Asian nation, which is a critical market for Chicago-based United. Read more at Bloomberg News.