United Airlines' successful termination of its defined benefit pension programs will give it a substantial cost advantage over other hub-and-spoke carriers and could lead to further bankruptcies as those rivals strive to achieve the same level of cost savings, according to Standard & Poor's analyst Philip Baggaley. Absent the terminations, United would have had to make at least $4.5 billion in payments over the next five years, or around $900 million per year, equal to 18% of 2004 labor ...

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