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Chief Executive of US Airways Steps Down

November 28, 2001|From Times Wire Services

The president and chief executive of US Airways, the nation's sixth-largest carrier, unexpectedly resigned Tuesday, and the company said Chairman Stephen Wolf will take over both positions.

The Arlington, Va.-based carrier, which has struggled all year and whose proposed merger with United Airlines fell apart, said Rakesh Gangwal quit to pursue a career in venture capital. Gangwal joined US Airways in 1996 after stints at Air France and United Airlines.

Analysts described the management shakeup as a needed change for the embattled carrier, which lost $766 million in the third quarter and continues to lose millions of dollars each day because of weak travel demand.

In the late 1980s, Wolf helped turn around two smaller airlines, Republic Airlines and Flying Tiger Airline, which later were merged with Northwest Airlines and Federal Express, respectively.

Shares of US Airways fell 41 cents to $8.00 on the New York Stock Exchange after the announcement.

US Airways' staggering third-quarter loss came as the entire industry battles to overcome high costs and reduced demand. The loss came despite a $331-million cash infusion that was part of the federal bailout.

Another carrier that has been struggling, Sun Country Airlines Inc., said Tuesday that it will ground 59% of its planes, suspend flights to almost a third of its destinations and cut jobs to save cash as it seeks a buyer.

The airline will suspend flights Friday from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Washington Dulles Airport and New York's Kennedy Airport. On Saturday, the closely held carrier will suspend flights from Minneapolis to Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego.

The company scaled back 26% of its flights after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S.

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Associated Press and Bloomberg News were used in compiling this report.

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