EXECUTIVES: Is This Any Way To Run an Airline?

Last December, when Edward Carlson took over United Air Lines, company wits spread the gag that he would ground U.A.L.'s superjets and run them as hotels. The point of the barb: Carlson had risen from bellhop to president of the Seattle-based Western International Hotel chain, but his airline background was limited to less than five months of sitting on United's board after Western was merged into U.A.L. If anything, lack of experience in the deficit-ridden industry has proved an advantage. In 1970 United lost almost $41 million, but last week it reported a third-quarter profit of $24 million, trimming...

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