United Gets Nod for Extra $310 Million in Loans

CHICAGO (AP) -- A federal bankruptcy judge on Friday approved United Airlines' request for an additional $310 million in loans as the carrier works on its plan to emerge from bankruptcy this fall.

United, which is owned by Elk Grove Township, Ill.-based UAL Corp., said the financing is needed to provide a ''stable environment'' as it works toward filing a reorganization plan with the bankruptcy court, which the company is expected to do early next month.

The approval from Judge Eugene Wedoff to amend total new debt accumulated by United as it goes through Chapter 11 bankruptcy raises the amount to $1.3 billion. It also extends the deadline for repaying the loans by three months, to Dec. 30.

United last month said it plans to file around Aug. 1 two documents that will detail its plans for exiting its 2½-year bankruptcy proceeding, including a disclosure statement that will outline the carrier's future business model. United has asked Wedoff to schedule a hearing on the disclosure statement sometime in early September.

Separately, around 100 members of the flight attendants union marched through downtown Chicago Friday to protest the carrier's decision to turn the union's pension plan over to the federal government's pension insurer, said Sara Nelson Dela Cruz, an Association of Flight Attendants spokeswoman.

The union is threatening to stage random, unannounced strikes to protest the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.'s formal takeover of the union's pension late last month. Wedoff in May approved United's request to unload all four of its plans on the PBGC.

As of Friday, the union had not yet staged any job actions.