BET's CEO Bob Johnson to Create New Washington-Based Airline With Routes Divested by US Air, United Merger

DC Air to Launch on Investment of Johnson's Personal Funds



May 24, 2000, 01:00 ET from Black Entertainment Television

    WASHINGTON, May 24 /PRNewswire/ -- When Robert Johnson founded Black
 Entertainment Television (BET) 20 years ago, it was an historic first in the
 television industry.  Today, through an investment of his personal funds,
 Johnson records another historic milestone with the planned creation of
 DC Air, a new regional airline serving 44 cities with 122 daily departures
 from coveted Ronald Reagan National Airport.  Johnson will acquire the routes,
 departure/landing slots, equipment and other assets to create the airline as a
 result of today's announced merger of domestic airline giants US Airways and
 United Airlines.  Once launched, DC Air would be the first major regional
 airline ever owned and operated by an African American.
     (Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000524/HSW007 )
     Johnson will serve as chairman and CEO of DC Air, as well as continue as
 chairman and CEO of BET Holdings II, parent company of the BET network.  The
 creation of DC Air is a personal business venture by Johnson, and does not
 involve a financial investment by BET Holdings.  Banc of America Securities,
 LLC is serving as exclusive financial advisor to Johnson in connection with
 the transaction.
     "As a long-time citizen of Washington, DC, I'm extraordinarily pleased to
 have the opportunity to help create the premiere airline that this great
 metropolitan region deserves," said Johnson.  "US Airways has served
 Washington and the surrounding Maryland and Virginia communities extremely
 well.  We will more than match the quality of that service, and will do so
 with a talented team of management and union employees that will make all of
 us in the nation's capital very proud."
     Johnson continued, "I would like to assure the traveling public here and
 around the country who depend upon air transportation into Reagan National
 Airport, and the incomparable employees of US Airways, that I will build upon
 the tradition of excellence that US Airways has established under the
 leadership of Stephen Wolf and Rakesh Gangwal.  A high-quality, home-based
 airline is critical to the economic growth of the nation's capital region, and
 I promise that it will continue to have one."
     The role Johnson plays at BET Holdings is not affected by the proposed
 DC Air acquisition, and has the full blessing of the BET Holdings board of
 directors.  Debra Lee, president and chief operating officer of BET Holdings,
 has handled the day-to-day operations of BET Holdings for the past four years,
 and will continue to do so, according to Johnson.
     "Nothing changes in the management of BET Holdings.  Both the board and I
 have every confidence in Debra's leadership of our company," Johnson said.
     Earlier today, United Airlines' parent company, UAL, announced that its
 board of directors, and the board of US Airways, had agreed on a definitive
 merger of the two companies.  The deal was an all-cash transaction, plus an
 assumption of US Airways' debt.  It includes a merger of all facilities,
 routes, equipment and personnel.
     Competitive issues associated with the newly merged company necessitated
 that significant assets operating out of Washington Reagan National Airport be
 divested.  Under a Memorandum of Understanding, Johnson will purchase those
 assets for the purpose of launching a new airline, DC Air.  The creation of DC
 Air is the first significant carrier entry into Washington Reagan National
 Airport in over 10 years.  Financial terms of the transaction with Johnson
 were not disclosed.
     Black Entertainment Television, a subsidiary of BET Holdings II, Inc., is
 the nation's only 24-hour television network providing quality programming
 targeted toward the African-American audience.  BET reaches more than
 60 million cable households according to Nielsen media research.
     BET Holdings II, Inc. is the first African-American owned and operated
 media and entertainment company to provide quality television programming,
 entertainment products, publishing and internet services specifically designed
 to appeal to African-American interests.  BET Holdings owns and operates four
 television networks:  Black Entertainment Television, BET on Jazz:  The Jazz
 Channel, BET Action Pay Per View, and BET International; jointly owns five
 magazines with Vanguarde Media (Emerge, BET Weekend, Heart & Soul, IMPACT and
 Honey); and Arabesque Books, the leading African-American line of romance
 novels.  Other BET Holdings ventures include:  BET.com, an interactive web
 site based upon a joint venture with Liberty Digital, News Corporation,
 USA Networks, and Microsoft; BET SoundStage Restaurant, an
 entertainment-themed restaurant in Largo, Maryland; BET SoundStage Club, a
 dance club on Pleasure Island at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando; BET On
 Jazz Restaurant, a fine dining restaurant in Washington; Tres Jazz, a
 restaurant located inside Bally's Paris Resort and Casino in Las Vegas; and
 BET Movies/STARZ!, a premium movie channel joint venture with Starz Encore
 Group LLC.
 
     Visit BET on the web at www.BET.com .
 
 

SOURCE Black Entertainment Television
    WASHINGTON, May 24 /PRNewswire/ -- When Robert Johnson founded Black
 Entertainment Television (BET) 20 years ago, it was an historic first in the
 television industry.  Today, through an investment of his personal funds,
 Johnson records another historic milestone with the planned creation of
 DC Air, a new regional airline serving 44 cities with 122 daily departures
 from coveted Ronald Reagan National Airport.  Johnson will acquire the routes,
 departure/landing slots, equipment and other assets to create the airline as a
 result of today's announced merger of domestic airline giants US Airways and
 United Airlines.  Once launched, DC Air would be the first major regional
 airline ever owned and operated by an African American.
     (Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000524/HSW007 )
     Johnson will serve as chairman and CEO of DC Air, as well as continue as
 chairman and CEO of BET Holdings II, parent company of the BET network.  The
 creation of DC Air is a personal business venture by Johnson, and does not
 involve a financial investment by BET Holdings.  Banc of America Securities,
 LLC is serving as exclusive financial advisor to Johnson in connection with
 the transaction.
     "As a long-time citizen of Washington, DC, I'm extraordinarily pleased to
 have the opportunity to help create the premiere airline that this great
 metropolitan region deserves," said Johnson.  "US Airways has served
 Washington and the surrounding Maryland and Virginia communities extremely
 well.  We will more than match the quality of that service, and will do so
 with a talented team of management and union employees that will make all of
 us in the nation's capital very proud."
     Johnson continued, "I would like to assure the traveling public here and
 around the country who depend upon air transportation into Reagan National
 Airport, and the incomparable employees of US Airways, that I will build upon
 the tradition of excellence that US Airways has established under the
 leadership of Stephen Wolf and Rakesh Gangwal.  A high-quality, home-based
 airline is critical to the economic growth of the nation's capital region, and
 I promise that it will continue to have one."
     The role Johnson plays at BET Holdings is not affected by the proposed
 DC Air acquisition, and has the full blessing of the BET Holdings board of
 directors.  Debra Lee, president and chief operating officer of BET Holdings,
 has handled the day-to-day operations of BET Holdings for the past four years,
 and will continue to do so, according to Johnson.
     "Nothing changes in the management of BET Holdings.  Both the board and I
 have every confidence in Debra's leadership of our company," Johnson said.
     Earlier today, United Airlines' parent company, UAL, announced that its
 board of directors, and the board of US Airways, had agreed on a definitive
 merger of the two companies.  The deal was an all-cash transaction, plus an
 assumption of US Airways' debt.  It includes a merger of all facilities,
 routes, equipment and personnel.
     Competitive issues associated with the newly merged company necessitated
 that significant assets operating out of Washington Reagan National Airport be
 divested.  Under a Memorandum of Understanding, Johnson will purchase those
 assets for the purpose of launching a new airline, DC Air.  The creation of DC
 Air is the first significant carrier entry into Washington Reagan National
 Airport in over 10 years.  Financial terms of the transaction with Johnson
 were not disclosed.
     Black Entertainment Television, a subsidiary of BET Holdings II, Inc., is
 the nation's only 24-hour television network providing quality programming
 targeted toward the African-American audience.  BET reaches more than
 60 million cable households according to Nielsen media research.
     BET Holdings II, Inc. is the first African-American owned and operated
 media and entertainment company to provide quality television programming,
 entertainment products, publishing and internet services specifically designed
 to appeal to African-American interests.  BET Holdings owns and operates four
 television networks:  Black Entertainment Television, BET on Jazz:  The Jazz
 Channel, BET Action Pay Per View, and BET International; jointly owns five
 magazines with Vanguarde Media (Emerge, BET Weekend, Heart & Soul, IMPACT and
 Honey); and Arabesque Books, the leading African-American line of romance
 novels.  Other BET Holdings ventures include:  BET.com, an interactive web
 site based upon a joint venture with Liberty Digital, News Corporation,
 USA Networks, and Microsoft; BET SoundStage Restaurant, an
 entertainment-themed restaurant in Largo, Maryland; BET SoundStage Club, a
 dance club on Pleasure Island at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando; BET On
 Jazz Restaurant, a fine dining restaurant in Washington; Tres Jazz, a
 restaurant located inside Bally's Paris Resort and Casino in Las Vegas; and
 BET Movies/STARZ!, a premium movie channel joint venture with Starz Encore
 Group LLC.
 
     Visit BET on the web at www.BET.com .
 
 SOURCE  Black Entertainment Television