The United Airlines pilots union called for the resignation of UAL chairman and chief executive Glenn Tilton, underlining the airline's poor on-time performance and financial losses.
"Under Glenn Tilton's tenure, United has gone from being the finest airline in the world, with the best route structure and safety record, to a shell of its former self," said UAL Captain Steve Wallach in a statement, according to Reuters.
"It is time for Glenn Tilton to go," added Wallach.
Tilton has steered United through three year of reorganization under bankruptcy. During that span, he has reduced the airlines fleet by 19 percent and slashed 24,000 jobs.
The airline has continued to struggle with on-time performance, though. United, during the last 12 months, has the worst on-time arrival rate among major carriers, at 68 percent, according to Bloomberg News.
United Airlines said the union's call for Tilton's resignation was meant to serve as a distraction from a United lawsuit that accuses the labor group of misusing sick leave and other ploys to cancel flights. The airline says union tactics have resulted in 300 flight cancellations that have affected over 30,000 customers.
"This is an obvious and predictable attempt to deflect attention from ALPA's illegal activity cited in our lawsuit, which details the organized and concerted effort to harm our customers, our employees and our performance," UAL said in a statement, according to Reuters.
The world's second-largest airline, ailing from skyrocketing fuel costs that have plagued the entire industry, posted loses of $3.2 billion during the first half of 2008. And UAL stock has fallen roughly 70 percent since February 2006, when the carrier left bankruptcy.
The spat between the airline and its union intensified in July, when United announced it would eliminate 7,000 more jobs, including 950 pilots.