United Airlines Shares Fall After Passenger Dragged Off Plane

REUTERS/Gary Hershorn

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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Shares of United Airlines are down markedly Tuesday, after a viral incident in which a passenger was forcibly removed from his seat on the plane because the flight was overbooked.

United Continental Holdings are down 3.99 percent as the airline deals with a significant backlash over the scene. If the stock remains that low at market close, it will wipe some $675 million off its market capitalization.

Videos surfaced Monday of airline officials dragging an alleged physician from a United Airlines aircraft, after the passenger reportedly refused to give up his seat at the bequest of flight attendants. The passenger was bloodied and noticeably shaken.

The company’s stock value dropped as much as 6 percent in pre-market trading Tuesday, a fall that would have eliminated $1.4 billion from the company’s $22.5 billion market capitalization.

Tuesday’s dip could signal to many investors that the incident could hurt the airline’s business more than just a temporary hit to its stock value. United’s stock value is down 4.7 percent on the year.

United CEO Oscar Munoz released a statement following the incident, apologizing for how the situation was handled. “This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened,” Munoz wrote.

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