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United Airlines Loss Doubles to $1.1 Billion

Bankrupt UAL Corp. (search), parent of United Airlines (search), on Wednesday said its quarterly loss more than doubled to $1.1 billion, boosted by higher energy costs and charges to terminate pensions and get rid of airplanes.

UAL, which filed for bankruptcy protection in December 2002, posted a first-quarter net loss of $1.1 billion, or $9.23 per share, compared with a loss of $459 million, or $4.17 a share, a year earlier.

The company recorded $768 million in reorganization charges in the quarter, including $433 million related to the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.'s (search) motion to terminate UAL's pension plan for ground employees.

A bankruptcy judge on Tuesday cleared the way for United, the No. 2 U.S. airline, to terminate its pension plans, shifting them to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., in the largest corporate pension default in U.S. history.

UAL's first-quarter operating revenue fell 2.5 percent to $2.92 billion as it cut back systemwide capacity by 2 percent.

Operating costs rose 1 percent to $4.2 billion, boosted by energy expenses, with average fuel prices up 36 percent.

The Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based airline's cash balance increased by $167 million to $2.3 billion, with $885 million of that restricted.