American Airlines, United face trial over Sept. 11 destruction

NEW YORK, Wed Sep 5, 2012 – A U.S. judge ruled that AMR Corp.’s American Airlines and United Continental Holdings Inc. must face trial over claims relating to the September 11 attacks that destroyed the landmark towers of the World Trade Center in New York almost 11 years ago, court documents showed.

In July 2001, two months before the attacks, World Trade Center Properties LLC bought 99-year leases to four World Trade Center buildings from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Inc. for $2.805 billion.

In its lawsuit against United Airlines and American Airlines, WTCP said that had it not been for the airlines’ negligence, “the terrorists could not have boarded and hijacked the aircraft and flown them into the twin towers,” on Sept. 11, 2001, according a New York court filing.

The company claimed damages of $8.4 billion from the airlines, the estimated cost of replacing the towers.

Judge Alvin Hellerstein limited the value of WTCP’s destroyed property to $2.805 billion, the price WTCP paid for the leases.

The defendants denied they were negligent, and said the case should not go to trial because WTCP has recovered $4.091 billion from insurance companies.

Judge Hellerstein said at this stage he could not reasonably determine the defendants’ claim that insurance payments received by WTCP covered the damages the company is seeking from them.

“On this record, before trial, I am not able to make such findings,” Judge Hellerstein said in a court filing.

United Airlines pilots file race bias suit over promotion issue

CHICAGO, Wed May 30, 2012 – Two dozen black pilots have alleged in a lawsuit that United Continental Holdings, the parent of United Airlines, passed them over for management promotions because of race.

The world’s biggest carrier denied the allegations and said it would fight them in court.

The veteran aviators alleged a long history of discriminatory behavior across multiple U.S. states. Their suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco.

“The struggle for inclusion at United Airlines is a long-standing issue that many have tried to address over a long period of time,” Captain Leon Miller, a plaintiff, said in a statement.

Most of those involved in the suit worked for pre-merger United. The complaint specifically addresses promotion issues dating to 2009.

Additionally, nearly half of the plaintiffs were part of a 2010 federal equal employment racial discrimination case against United, and are claiming the carrier has punished them by withholding promotions and special assignments.

United said in a statement that it does not tolerate harassment or discrimination.

“We believe this lawsuit is without merit and will vigorously defend ourselves,” the airline said.