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DNC’s Official Airline by Delays

August 10, 2000

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The Democratic National Convention’s official airline has assured party leaders that all delegates will arrive on time despite an ongoing contract dispute that has prompted flight delays and cancellations.

United Airlines, the world’s largest airline, has been struggling since spring to resolve the conflict and hopes to do so by Labor Day. With some 35,000 delegates, visitors and media arriving in Los Angeles this weekend, that resolution may be too late, but convention officials insisted Wednesday their guests will have nothing to worry about.

``United Airlines has assured us that no flights will be canceled into Los Angeles; all the delegates are going to get here on time,″ said Peter Ragone, a spokesman for the Democratic National Convention Committee.

The convention committee chose United Airlines as its official airline with discounts offered for any convention-related travel between mid-June and Aug. 31.

A United Airlines spokesman said he was unfamiliar with the promises given to convention officials and could not comment on how the company could make such a guarantee when United customers have been stuck at airports across the country.

``We’re going to make every effort to run a reliable operation in and out of L.A. during the convention,″ Matthew Triaca said. ``We will be completely staffed at the airport.″

He said some of the recent delays have been out of officials’ control, but that the situation improved Wednesday and they hoped to complete nearly all flights by the end of the day.

The airline’s 10,000 pilots have largely refused overtime work since their contract came up for renewal in April. United has blamed the flight delays and cancellations on labor actions by pilots and machinists, whose contract also has expired.

Pilots maintain United hasn’t hired enough of them. But no strike is foreseen. A union spokesman did not immediately return telephone calls Wednesday.

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