United, Continental merger gets go ahead

UNITED Airlines and Continental Airlines have formally announced a merger between the two US carriers.

The merged carrier will be one of the world’s largest, with estimated annual revenue (based on 2009 figures) of about US$29 billion. This will take it ahead of Delta/Northwest and far above American Airlines.

“You can see a clear trend whether it is in Europe, in Asia or in the US. Having the scope and scale to develop a large presence in the key business market segments is absolutely crucial to succeeding in the industry,” said Jeff Smisek (right), Continental’s chief executive officer.

Smisek will lead the combined company once Glenn Tilton, chairman and chief executive of United, steps down as non-executive chairman of the company at the end of 2012.

The deal is expected to complete in the fourth quarter of 2010.

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