United we stand

CONSOLIDATION in the thinning ranks of US airlines has produced another super carrier in the making.

Two years after Delta and Northwest, then ranked third and fourth in the US legacy carrier hierarchy, agreed to merge, United Airlines and Continental have done likewise. Their agreement for an all-stock deal worth US$3.17 billion, is going to create the world’s largest airline by revenue and the top cargo carrier among US legacy airlines.

On the cargo side United posted revenues of $538 million last year, while Continental’s operating revenue from cargo operations, amounted to $366 million in 2009.

The United-Continental constellation had been widely regarded as the most likely outcome of the merger negotiations that had dragged on for months. Not only are both already aligned in the Star Alliance, which Continental joined last year after an earlier stint in a rival grouping, their networks are complementary with little route duplication. Their networks have no overlap in the crucial international arena, and a mere 14 sectors within the US are flown by both carriers.

For the full story read the free latest digital edition of Air Cargo News, dated 19 April, here.

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