Airline CEO Offers Second Apology Over Passenger Removal Incident
United Airlines’ chief executive issue a second apology related to the disturbing video of an airline passenger being forcibly removed from his airline seat to make way for one of the airline’s employees.
The video was recorded on multiple cellphones.
However, the apology from Chief Oscar Munoz didn’t help its stock much, dropping more than 1% Tuesday – a drop of $255 million in market value.
Due to the widespread public attack, Munoz issued a second apology that noted the incident was horrific and nobody should be treated in such a way. Munoz said results of a review would be available by April 30.
He said the company takes full responsibility and will do everything it can to make things right. Munoz said it’s never too late to do something right. He said the company is committed to fixing what’s broke for the customers – to ensure this incident never takes place again.
Industry analysts are at odds on whether the video is a minor blimp on the airline’s radar or have a major effect on the shares, which had been rising for nine months straight.
S&P’s airline analyst Philip Baggaley said it’s going to hurt the company for a short while but not have much impact on its earnings and revenue. Baggaley said there have been issues with other airlines and they’ve managed to bounce back.
However, Jan Bruechkner, who is a UC Irvine professor, said his wife cried when she watched the video, saying United won’t recover too easily. He said he’s heard of instances of people tearing up the membership cards for its loyalty reward program.
He said people are upset by this, and it changes their perception of the airline.
David Dao is the man that United employees forcibly removed from the plane. He said he feels it was racially motivated – Dao is Chinese. If this charge sticks, it could be a huge issue in China.
Munoz said the airline is looking to see if the procedures it has in place were followed and coming up with ways to avoid potential issues in the future. He wrote a letter to employees saying customers and employees should respect one another because at the core that’s who they were.
He also wrote that Dao had become disruptive and belligerent while crew members tried to apologize and explain why they needed to remove him.
According to Charles Hobart, a United spokesman, United made clear that the flight Dao was on was not, as previously reported, overbooked but just full. The airline learned late that four of its crew members had to get to Louisville to staff another flight. He said without those four in Louisville, the next day’s flights in Louisville would have been canceled.
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