High Fuel Prices May Cut Airline Flights

A United Airlines executive says the carrier could ground as many as 100 or more of its airplanes if soaring fuel prices ultimately cause consumers to buy fewer tickets.

Chief Financial Officer Jake Brace says there hasn't been any evidence yet of a falloff in demand.

That's even as crude oil prices approach 100 dollars a barrel.

But he says Chicago-based United will eventually have to deal with skyrocketing prices by either raising fares further or reducing capacity rather than flying with too many empty seats.

Brace told a Goldman Sachs conference in New York today that United has a little over 100 aircraft unencumbered by debt that it could ground whenever it needs if demand weakens.

He said the carrier is getting ready to react to higher fuel prices.

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