Things are bad at United Airlines, according to the people who fly the planes, and they say it won't get better until the company fires its CEO.
The United Chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association has issued a statement, calling for the resignation of Glenn Tilton as CEO of the airline, stressing the need for new leadership and direction at the helm of the air carrier.
The pilots say United now ranks at the bottom of nearly every performance and customer satisfaction category, and its financial performance is steadily deteriorating. In an effort to bring public pressure, the United pilots have launched a Web site, www.GlennTilton.com, that highlights what they see as the failures of Tilton's management.
"Under Glenn Tilton's tenure, United has gone from being the finest airline in the world, with the best route structure and safety record, to a shell of its former self," said Captain Steve Wallach, chairman of the United Master Executive Council. "He has had every opportunity to turn this company around, and tap the abilities of its first-class employees, but instead he has run it into the ground. We believe that with the intense challenges facing our industry, United Airlines will not be able to thrive as long as Glenn Tilton, with his proven record of incompetence, continues as CEO. It is time for Glenn Tilton to go."
The pilots' union issued a list of reasons it says makes clear the airline needs a change in the executive suite:
• In performance, United ranks 18th of 19 for on-time arrivals; 17th of 19 in customer complaints and tenth of 19 for misplaced baggage, according to the latest Department of Transportation data.
• In customers' willingness to pay for the product, despite capacity reductions, load factors in the first 6 months of 2008 are down 2.6 percent, compared with a similar period in 2007.
• In stock performance, UAUA is down 73 percent since United exited bankruptcy on February 1, 2006.
• In profitability, United has lost more money in 2008 than it has made since exiting bankruptcy.
• In overall reputation, United is rated "below the rest" and tied for last place on the latest J.D. Powers satisfaction study.
• A recent "Employee Climate Survey" conducted by United revealed that only 38 percent of United employees take pride in United, down 15 percentage points from 2006. Average Fortune 500 companies find that 84 percent of their employees express pride in the company for which they work. Sixty-two percent of United's employees are not proud of their company, 70 percent are dissatisfied with their jobs, 73 percent are looking for new jobs and 77 percent do not think United is a great place to work.
"This is not a personal attack on Glenn Tilton," said Wallach. "These dismal numbers speak for themselves. They are a reflection of his inability to lead, his incompetence as a manager and his failure in virtually every category that can be measured. We have tried every conceivable way to convince him to invest in, and maximize the goodwill of, his employees. He has failed miserably."
United, as well as most other major airlines, has suffered steep losses and has been forced to cut operating expenses in the face of skyrocketing fuel costs.