CHICAGO, Feb. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines has earned the 2013 Business Leadership Award from Equality Illinois, the state's oldest and largest organization advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality. The award is given annually to a business that demonstrates vision and leadership in the effort to achieve full equality for LGBT individuals in Illinois. "United is a global company, and the richness of our different backgrounds, cultures, experiences and ideas brings enormous value to us," said Jeff Smisek, chairman, president and CEO of United. "We value inclusion and diversity in our business and in our lives, and it's important that we take time to celebrate this. On behalf of my more than 85,000 co-workers, we accept this award proudly." "From its Illinois headquarters, United Airlines sets a high standard for the entire industry of embracing fairness and diversity. The company consistently leads the corporate world in LGBT workplace equality, and we are proud to honor their work with the Business Leadership Award," said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois. United is committed to creating a work environment where all its employees across the world feel included and empowered to make a measurable difference in its success. United offers policies, programs, benefits, privileges and recognition designed to reward and support the success of its diverse workforce. The airline is equally committed to its multicultural community sponsorships as well as supplier diversity initiatives. In 2012, for the fifth consecutive year, United received a 100 percent rating in the 2013 Corporate Equality Index, an annual survey administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, which ranks top companies and law firms based on their LGBT policies. About United United Airlines and United Express operate an average of 5,472 flights a day to 381 airports across six continents. In 2012, United and United Express carried more passenger traffic than any other airline in the world and operated nearly two million flights carrying 140 million customers. United is investing in upgrading its onboard products and now offers more flat-bed seats in its premium cabins and more extra-legroom economy-class seating than any airline in North America. In 2013, United became the first U.S.-based international carrier to offer satellite-based Wi-Fi on long-haul overseas routes. The airline also features DIRECTV® on nearly 200 aircraft, offering customers more live television access than any other airline in the world. United operates nearly 700 mainline aircraft and has made large-scale investments in its fleet. In 2013, United will continue to modernize its fleet by taking delivery of more than two dozen new Boeing aircraft. The company expanded its industry-leading global route network in 2012, launching nine new international and 18 new domestic routes. Business Traveler magazine awarded United Best Airline for North American Travel for 2012, and readers of Global Traveler magazine have voted United's MileagePlus program the best frequent flyer program for nine consecutive years. United is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 194 countries via 27 member airlines. More than 85,000 United employees reside in every U.S. state and in countries around the world. For more information, visit united.com or follow United on Twitter and Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL. SOURCE United Continental Holdings, Inc.