US - Continental Airlines announced yesterday it would pump US$71m into its pension plans, bringing the company's total contributions since 2002 to $1.2bn.
Continental CEO Larry Kellner said the latest contribution "significantly exceeded" the minimum funding requirement applicable to the airline's plans.
"This is another step that demonstrates our commitment to meeting our pension obligations," said Kellner.
The news comes just one month after American Airlines made an additional US$100m contribution to its employees' defined benefit pension plan on top of the $223m minimum required pension funding obligations for 2006.
Tackling burgeoning airline pension deficits, which have placed a heavy burden on the Pension Benefits Guaranty Corp and the taxpayer, has long been a delicate topic in the US.
It recently emerged the PBGC would have to pay nearly US$1bn into the Delta Air Lines pilots retirement plan after taking responsibility for payment of pension benefits to more than 13 000 active and retired pilots.
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The level of interest rate hedging increased to £29.5bn of liabilities in the second quarter as pension funds continued to de-risk, according to BMO Global Asset Management's research.
UK inflation has risen for the first time since November to 2.5% in July, up from 2.4% in June, thanks to rising fuel costs and the price of computer games.
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