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United Airlines (NASDAQ: UAUA) operates nearly 3,000 flights a day on United and United Express to more than 200 U.S. domestic and international destinations from its hubs in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Chicago and Washington, D.C. With key global air rights in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and Latin America, United is one of the largest international carriers based in the United States. United also is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides connections for our customers to 912 destinations in 159 countries worldwide. United's 49,500 employees reside in every U.S. state and in many countries around the world.
In 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright showed the world that powered flight in a heavier-than-air craft was possible. In the next decade, the Wright brothers' vision became reality as they and their American contemporaries - - including Glenn Curtiss, Samuel Langley and Claude Ryan - - began designing and manufacturing more advanced flying machines.
By 1914, aviation technology was sophisticated enough to make airplanes one of the more valuable tools of World War I. When the war ended in 1918, the U.S. government found an important peacetime role for aviation: delivering mail. The U.S. Army launched the service as an experimental programon May 15, 1918. Within months, air mail service became the domain of the U.S. Post Office Department.
As the 20th century drew to a close, United redefined itself. Now operating in a deregulated environment, the company inaugurated service to Europe and South America and expanded its number of Pacific Rim destinations. United also adopted a new livery and logo befitting a global airline. Most important, United established its Employee Stock Ownership Plan, creating the world's largest majority employee-owned company in the world.
As it flew toward the new millennium, United continued to lead commercial aviation. With the establishment of its ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) in July 1994, United becme the largest employee majority-owned corporation in the world.
The promise of continued success in the new millennium quickly evaporated as the "perfect storm" began to develop in 2000. An economic downturn of global proportions, protracted labor negotiations, a proposed merger with US Airways and the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, hit United hard. For the year 2001, the company suffered a record loss of $2.1 billion. By mid-2002, United was asking employees to make wage concessions and asking the U.S. government for a loan to help the company back to financial stability.
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