Star Alliance carrier United Airlines and Continental Airlines have confirmed plans to merge, under a holding company known as United Continental Holdings. Both airlines today agreed to a $3 billion merger that will create the world’s largest airline and will be based in Chicago, with Continental’s Jeff Smisek serving as chief executive and United’s Glenn Tilton as non-executive chairman.
The company, to be called United, would displace Delta Airlines as the biggest airline and the dominant carrier to Europe. Some experts say that the merger could lead to fares doubling because competition will be reduced. The combined carrier will serve 370 destinations in 59 countries and will have hubs in Newark, Houston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Washington, D.C., Guam and Narita, Japan.
It is likely that Newark will grow as an international hub, overtaking some of United’s flights from JFK, which is the same scenario expected at San Francisco. The UA-CO combination will have more combined routes than the Delta-Northwest merger, which could raise the specter of antithrust concerns.
Based on 2009 financial results, the combined airline would have annual revenues of some $29 billion.
|CEO:||Jeff Smisek||CEO:||Glenn Tilton|
|2009 Profit:||-$282 million||2009 Profit:||-$651 million|