Last month, United Airlines added another first to the list of dubious achievements that have marked the economic fortunes of the US airline industry since the end of 2000: The largest pension default in US corporate history. The carrier will transfer plans covering 120,000 current, furloughed and retired employees to the US Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., along with a $6.4 billion funding deficit. Because PBGC caps the amount of payment it guarantees, thousands of retirees will see an ...

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