UAL cuts back jet orders over next 3 years


NEW YORK -- In the face of persistent recession, United Airlines took a big step back from an ambitious expansion strategy yesterday, announcing that it was cutting its capital spending by $6.7 billion over the next three years and postponing the delivery of new aircraft.

The airline, one of the nation's strongest, had sought to keep its expansion drive going in spite of hard times, but continuing poor traffic and heavy fare discounting forced it to pull back.

Both business and leisure travel have been low, showing only a small recovery from the disastrous levels of last year, when fear of terrorists during the Persian Gulf war caused many companies to eliminate international travel altogether and other travelers to stay close to home.

The airline said it was putting off the delivery of 44 Boeing 737s and 60 Boeing 757s.

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