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5 United Reservation Centers to Be Closed

Airlines: Four facilities are in California, employing almost 800 people. Some may be offered other positions.


United Airlines, citing its reduced service and the weak economy, said Thursday that it plans to close five reservations centers, including four in California, and furlough 899 employees.

Amid the deep slump in air travel after Sept. 11, United has slashed its operations by more than 20%--to about 1,650 flights a day--and eliminated about 19,000 of its 100,000 jobs.

Despite a busy holiday season, the carrier's "smaller flight schedule and the soft U.S. economy" created a "lower level of reservations telephone activity" that led to the office closings, the airline said.

The California centers are in El Segundo, with 358 employees; Burbank, with 156; Moreno Valley in Riverside County, with 160; and Suisun City in central California, with 124. The other center is in Rockford, Ill. The closings take effect Feb. 28.

Customers will continue to be served by United's remaining 4,500 reservations agents in 12 other centers, including one in Long Beach, the carrier said. United, the main unit of UAL Corp., said it also continues to employ more than 23,000 people in California. Two of the airline's major hubs are Los Angeles and San Francisco.

United said it will offer severance pay to eligible workers affected by the closures, and that some of the furloughed employees will be eligible to relocate to other United offices if they so choose.

UAL stock rose $1.03 to close at $14.73 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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