United Air Launches Discount Carrier

From Times Wire Services

Hi, I'm Ted. Fly me.

That's what United Airlines parent UAL Corp. is hoping air travelers in the West will do. On Wednesday, the world's second-largest airline announced that it would call its new discount airline Ted -- as in United.

The low-fare carrier is a crucial part of UAL's strategy for emerging from Bankruptcy Court protection. The airline will be based at Denver International Airport and start flying 156-seat Airbus A320s in February. Tickets go on sale Tuesday.

"United chose the name Ted to emphasize that the service is an essential, integrated part of the company -- it's the last three letters of the company's name," said Sean Donohue, vice president in charge of the discount carrier.

United has operated under Bankruptcy Court protection for nearly a year and began planning a low-fare carrier early this year. Ted's creation mimics moves by other major airlines to capture the lucrative low-fare leisure market dominated by Southwest Airlines Co. This year, Delta Air Lines Inc. launched a discount airline to serve the East Coast and Southeast.

Ted's flights will travel from Denver to Ontario; Reno; Las Vegas; Phoenix; New Orleans; Tampa, Fla.; Orlando, Fla.; and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

It also will fly between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, between Las Vegas and San Francisco and between San Francisco and Phoenix. By the end of 2004, United expects to have as many as 45 planes flying.

UAL executives said their cost-cutting efforts, which include slashing labor expenses and overhauling aircraft leases, were on track to save nearly $5 billion annually by 2005.

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