A United Airlines kiosks at San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, the US, July 8 2020. Picture: JUSTIN SULLIVAN/GETTY IMAGES
A United Airlines kiosks at San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, the US, July 8 2020. Picture: JUSTIN SULLIVAN/GETTY IMAGES

Hong Kong — A director of United Airlines liquidated all of his directly owned shares in the company as the carrier struggles with a devastating decline in travel because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

United is considering furloughs for as many as one-third of its nearly 12,000 pilots, an executive warned on July 30.

On July 28, Edward Shapiro sold more than 157,000 shares for $5.25m, four days after selling 25,000 shares, according to filings with the US Securities & Exchange Commission. United’s shares have plummeted 64% in 2020.

United declined to comment.

Shapiro, chair of Lumexis., joined United’s board in 2016. He sits on the board’s compensation, finance and public responsibility committees and in 2019 received about $369,000 in compensation from United, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The sale of his shares comes as the US is missing out on a rebound in air traffic in many other countries. China and other parts of Asia enjoyed “strong growth” in departures between July 22 and 28, according to BloombergNEF. Northern Europe, southern Europe and other parts of the world had strong growth, too.

In the US, a surge in new Covid-19 cases in states such as Florida and Texas led to a decline in departures. US airports had 70 fewer flights take off compared with the previous week, BNEF said.

United had planned on cutting 2,250 pilots in 2020, but senior vice-president of flight operations Bryan Quigley said in a memo to pilots that the company now expected to furlough 3,900.

Bloomberg

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