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Business Words in the News
Friday 06 December 2002
Vocabulary from the business news. Listen to and read the report then find explanations of difficult words below.

United Airlines faces bankruptcy
Summary: Trading in shares of United Airlines, the world's second biggest carrier, was suspended on 5th December as the company tries to avoid bankruptcy. United had been trying to get government money to help it during a difficult period, but the request was turned down. This report from Stephen Evans.
The News Listen  
  The world's second biggest airline is in effect bankrupt though it hasn't gone through the formal procedure of declaring itself so. Whatever the formalities, United doesn't have the funds to continue in business in the long term. It's been begging to two groups; to the government in Washington to underwrite a loan of nearly two billion dollars, and to its employees who've been asked for wage cuts, and who, incidentally, own fifty-five percent of the airline. United's been rebuffed by both groups. The Bush administration rejected its application because it thought the business plan didn't add up.

United's mechanics were going to vote on pay cuts but put off the vote in the absence of government money. All the airlines blame September the eleventh for the turbulence they're currently experiencing. In America, sixteen have applied for federal funds, with seven applications rejected. Some, outside America, argue that state aid shouldn't prop up failing airlines. If United did fail it would be bad for employees, but good for competitors who'd pick up the routes. Airlines having to cut costs is also good for travellers.

Stephen Evans, BBC

The Words Listen
  in effect bankrupt
it is reasonable to say it is bankrupt even if not completely accurate

  whatever the formalities
we use whatever because we don't know which of various different formal procedures will be used

  to underwrite
to provide money to cover any losses involved in an activity

if you rebuff someone you reject them even when they are asking for or offering help

  didn't add up
didn't represent a realistically costed proposal

  put off

here, confusion and disorganised change. (Also, violent movements in the air)

  prop up
provide financial support for

  pick up
gain permission to operate the routes

  airlines having to cut costs
the fact that airlines have to reduce costs

  Read more about this story  

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