United Arilines Chief Oscar Munoz (Photo : Getty Images)
United Airlines Chief Oscar Munoz had a meeting with the Chinese consulate in Chicago to discuss the probable effects of the recent scandal involving a passenger being forced off his seat. According to the company, it was too soon to say if the issue had brought some damage to its business in China.
During the airline’s first-quarter earnings call, United repeatedly asked for an apology over the overbooked United flight incident. Dr. David Dao, who refused to give his seat to crew members, was forcibly hauled off the plane.
A fellow passenger said that Dao accused officials of discriminating him for being Chinese ahead of being dragged off the aircraft. Netizens from different countries, including the United States, Vietnam and China, have appealed to boycott United Airlines because of the incident.
According to analysts, United has around 20 percent of the total U.S.-China traffic and a collaboration with Air China, the third-largest carrier in the country.
“It’s really too early for us to tell anything about bookings, and in particular last week because it’s the week before Easter. That’s normally a very low booking period,” said United President Scott Kirby during the call.
In afternoon trading, the shares of United Continental Holdings Inc. decreased by 4.12 percent notwithstanding the earnings that exceeded the expectations of analysts on a number of key metrics.
Munoz said on the call that he would have “further conversations with customers and related government officials” during an upcoming visit to China which had been scheduled before the incident happened. United did not give details on when the CEO met with the Chinese consulate officials.
Last week, United Flight 3411 was under fire when videos of the incident went viral on social media. Dao, a paying passenger, was “randomly” selected to obligatorily give up his seat.
According to Dao’s lawyer, it was expected of him to sue over what happened. Dao lost his two front teeth, broke his nose and suffered a concussion. He left Vietnam to live in the U.S. His ethnicity has not yet been confirmed by his legal team.
Though the carrier has not confirmed the effects of the incident to its sales, it apparently hopes to restore its business in China through the United Airlines chief’s visit to the country.