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Old May 1st, 2010, 11:34 PM   #581
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trae View Post
This is why the HQ should stay in Houston. It's only going to surpass Chicagoland in 30-40 years (Houston growth versus Chicagoland growth). The new Continental-United should grow with the city, where the future is. That's done now though.

IAH will be the Latin American gateway to the largest airline in the world. Don't see how it will lose flights. If anything, some domestic flights will be shifted to Denver. The only hub that will lose out is the Cleveland hub. Cleveland will most likely become a focus city and be a reliever airport for Dulles/Newark/O'Hare.
I'm guessing that it was a factor to be considered. However it can't be assumed that it will grow at that rate even though it seems likely. Thirty or forty years are actually far away enough out that a change can be made in the event that it actually happens. The biggest part though is that market size isn't all that important for headquarters. If that were the case then surely NYC would have a headquarters by one or more major airline and major metros such as NYC, LA, or S.F. would be a HQ's of a major legacy carrier.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 03:33 AM   #582
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http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/...s/6986235.html

Continental, United airlines agree to merge
Deal would create world's biggest airline and take carrier's headquarters out of Houston

By JENALIA MORENO
HOUSTON CHRONICLE
May 2, 2010, 5:45PM

The deal is done: Continental and United airlines have agreed to merge.

Both company's boards met on Sunday and approved the merger, according to sources familiar with the proceedings. A formal announcement comes early Monday.

The carrier will be based in United's home of Chicago and take United's name, the sources said. Jeff Smisek, chairman, CEO and president of Houston-based Continental, will be CEO of the merged carrier and he will have offices in Houston and Chicago, they said.

United's CEO Glenn Tilton will become non-executive chairman until Dec. 31, 2012, or on the second anniversary of the closing of the deal, whichever is later. Then Smisek takes the helm as chairman.

The deal — which had earlier bogged down over price — will be an all-stock swap. Continental shareholders get 1.05 United shares for each Continental share they own.

That values the deal at about $3.2 billion, based on Friday's closing share prices and the latest publicly available outstanding shares. United's shareholders will own a 55 percent stake in the merged company with Continental's shareholders holding the remaining 45 percent.

Houston is expected to be the largest hub of the combined carrier and continue to be its gateway to Latin America. Continental employs 16,500 people in Houston and the sources said it should remain a top private employer in the city.

Jobs at the combined carrier will be cut by attrition, retirement and voluntary programs but the sources said Houston employment may grow in the long term since Houston will likely add destinations.

“The employees at the Houston hub, they are going to stay there. It's the most profitable of the Continental hubs,” said Pete Garcia, president of aviation consulting firm Pete Garcia International. Garcia isn't involved in the transaction, but he's familiar with both airlines' operations.

The jobs most at risk are probably in administration and reservations, said Garcia, who was a Continental vice president until starting his own firm more than two years ago.

Besides Smisek, other management members have yet to be named, but leaders are expected to come from both airlines.

The combined airline's board of directors will have 16 members, including Smisek, Tilton, two union members and six directors from each of the company's boards. United has 13 board members now, including Tilton and two union members. Continental has 10 board members including Smisek and no union members.

The combined company will have annual revenues of $29 billion, based on 2009 numbers, and the combination will lead to $1 billion to $1.2 billion annually in cost savings and additional revenue by 2013.

The merger is expected to close by year's end, pending shareholder and regulatory approval.

The new carrier will serve 370 destinations and 59 countries. It will continue operating hubs in Houston, Chicago, Newark, Cleveland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Washington, D.C., Guam and Narita, Japan.

Two years ago, Continental and United came close to merging but Continental officials decided to remain independent, instead forming an operational alliance with United by joining the Star Alliance.

Less than three weeks ago, they returned to the negotiating table soon after it was revealed that United was in merger talks with US Airways. The Tempe, Ariz.-based airline announced on April 22 it had ended talks with United.

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Old May 3rd, 2010, 11:38 AM   #583
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Maps/graphs via Chicago Tribune.....
http://www.chicagotribune.com/busine...,6315478.story





A bit of a provincial Chiacago angle........
Quote:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/busine...,6315478.story

Chicago in line for huge lift with United-Continental merger

By Julie Johnsson, Tribune reporter

10:45 p.m. CDT, May 2, 2010

With a formal announcement expected Monday that United and Continental airlines will merge and call Chicago home, the city of big shoulders gains important new bragging rights: home of the world's largest airline.

The deal, which was approved by the airlines' boards Sunday, represents a significant boost to Chicago's civic pride — and potentially to its economy, observers said.

After watching scores of iconic companies, from Amoco to Montgomery Ward, disappear through mergers and bankruptcies in recent decades, Chicago has notched two big corporate victories this year: Northfield-based Kraft Food's acquisition of British candy giant Cadbury, and the merged airline that will be named United.

With each such victory, Chicago is able to reinforce its identity as a global corporate center, adding prestige and more importantly, jobs.

"This is not only a big win for Chicago, but also for Illinois," said Samuel Skinner, a Chicago attorney who was transportation secretary under President George H.W. Bush. "Not only is United staying here, but United is getting bigger and stronger."

The airline mega-deal marks a new chapter in a history that dates to 1926. In the following decades, the city's transportation fortunes often were interlocked with those of United. O'Hare International Airport gained renown as the busiest in the world as United became a powerful international carrier, then lost that status to Atlanta in recent years as United flirted with liquidation in bankruptcy court.

The new United has the potential to transform the U.S. airline industry, analysts said. But whether it lives up to its promise will largely depend on how well Jeff Smisek, the Continental chief expected to be named the merged airline's CEO, connects with customers and employees.

"Airlines historically have not done so well with mergers," said Scott Sonenshein, a management professor at Rice University. "It can create a lot of opportunities, but people tend to overstate the benefits and underestimate the risks."

Longtime passengers of United and Continental will notice few immediate changes in service. Before the airlines can begin integrating fleets, they first must win approval of antitrust regulators, a process that could take a year, analysts said.

But the airlines already have combined or coordinated many aspects of flying, as well as their frequent flyer programs, as a result of an unusually close partnership they formed in 2008 following a failed merger attempt.

Since last year, Continental flights have departed from United's B concourse at O'Hare, the only U.S. domestic carrier that shares Terminal 1, considered United's crown jewel. And Continental announced earlier this year that it would stop serving free food on shorter flights, a perk United gave up years ago.

More importantly, the carriers don't expect to make heavy cuts to their flight schedules as a result of the merger. They will continue to fly to the 370 destinations currently served by Continental or United.

"You still have everything you had before," said aviation consultant Darryl Jenkins. "You have a great hub for United, American Airlines and Southwest. Chicago is as balanced as anywhere in the world is for air service."

The Continental deal is the culmination of a lengthy search by United Chief Executive Officer Glenn Tilton for a partner that would bolster his carrier's global network and promote consolidation in a fragmented industry plagued by chronic losses.

With civic leaders like retired ComEd CEO James O'Connor, former Illinois Tool Works Inc. chief James Farrell and former Board of Trade CEO David Vitale serving as directors on United's board, Tilton was mindful to ensure that United's deep ties to Chicago weren't damaged by his dealmaking, say people close to the carrier.

The new airline's corporate headquarters will be at 77 W. Wacker Drive in Chicago, where United currently employs about 700 people, sources said.

Of particular significance: Chicago also will be home to the operations headquarters for the new carrier. The crucial nerve center, along with 2,800 staffers, will be in Willis Tower, sources said, where the carrier recently leased 460,000 square feet subsidized by $35 million in city incentives.

"Any time the corporate headquarters for a company either comes to Chicago or it's enhanced, that just obviously means more jobs over time," said Harry Kraemer, former CEO of Deerfield-based Baxter International who is now an executive partner at private equity firm Madison Dearborn.

The headquarters status is so important that Texas lawmakers petitioned the carriers to reconsider Houston as word of the merger talks spread. That's because taxes and spending generated by thousands of white-collar jobs can be a boost to revenue-starved city governments.

"The salary dollars that go with a corporate headquarters are significant," aviation consultant Robert Mann said. "It's like trying to imagine New York City without Wall Street."
Chicago stands to reap even greater rewards if Smisek makes good on his vision for the new United.

Smisek is expected to sell the merger to Wall Street and to employees as producing a powerful carrier poised to reap the benefits of a rebounding global economy.

The new United is projected to generate cost and revenue synergies of about $1.2 billion annually, with between $800 million and $900 million of that gain flowing from its unparalleled global reach, said a person familiar with the deal. Executives expect to save $200 million to $300 million by reducing overhead and overlapping administrative functions.

That is lower than the $2 billion that analysts had anticipated, but the deal is nonetheless expected to be well-received by investors eager to see major U.S. carriers return to better financial health. Some pundits agree with Tilton that large-scale mergers, which would remove a glut of capacity, are necessary if carriers are to be able to raise prices to be financially viable over the long term.

"I think Wall Street is drooling over the prospect of some more consolidation in the airline industry," said Roger King, airline analyst with CreditSights Inc.

Since the Sept. 11 attacks sent the airline industry into a tailspin, United's focus has been on survival as it weathered crises from SARS to the Great Recession.

Shedding tens of thousands of workers and hundreds of aircraft, United is half the airline it was in 2000. The Continental merger provides the first real hope of reversing that trend.

Analysts expect the new carrier to trim operations in Cleveland, Continental's third-largest airport hub, given its proximity to O'Hare. But they think it unlikely the merger will lead to layoffs of pilots, flight attendants and other front-line workers. In fact, a source close to the carriers said they expect the tie-up to add jobs.

"I don't think anybody in operations is going to have an issue," said King. "I think the airline is going to grow, going to be strong."

Tribune reporter Melissa Harris contributed to this report

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Old May 3rd, 2010, 12:10 PM   #584
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Quote:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_united...NvdXJjZXNjb24-

AP sources: Continental and United to combine

By JOSHUA FREED and DAVID KOENIG, AP Airline Writers Joshua Freed And David Koenig, Ap Airline Writers – Mon May 3, 12:13 am ET
United and Continental Airlines plan to announce on Monday that they're joining to form the world's largest airline, testing the notion that the money-losing industry can work better on a large scale.

Corporate travelers love a wide choice of departure times and a worldwide network, and the combined United and Continental will have flights reaching from Shanghai to South Amerca.

The $3 billion stock swap gained approval from both airlines' boards Sunday, people with knowledge of the deal said. They declined to be identified because the transaction hasn't been announced.

The companies are expected to describe it as a merger of equals. But travelers will see more of United once the deal closes. The United name will live on and the headquarters will be in Chicago, United's hometown. United shareholders will own about 55 percent of the combined company, the people said.

Continental CEO Jeffery Smisek will run the combined airline. Its chairman will be Glenn Tilton, current chairman and CEO of United parent UAL Corp., who has been looking to do a major airline deal for years. One of the people said the airline's board will include six independent directors from each airline, as well as two union representatives and Smisek and Tilton.

Continental shareholders will get 1.05 UAL shares in exchange for each one of theirs. The companies hope to close the deal by the end of the year, the people said.

To do that they'll need approval from shareholders as well as antitrust regulators. Just 18 months ago the Justice Department allowed Delta Air Lines Inc. to buy Northwest Airlines to form what is currently the world's largest airline. But many in the industry have wondered whether the Justice Department under the Obama administration will be as inclined to approve a mega-airline as it was under George W. Bush.

Continental and United overlap on 13 nonstop routes, J.P. Morgan analyst Jamie Baker wrote in a note on Friday, compared with 12 overlaps in the Delta-Northwest deal. Of the overlapping United-Continental routes, 11 would have just one or two carriers. Baker gave the deal a 75 percent chance of winning regulatory approval.

Regulators like to see as much competition as possible on each route because it helps keep fares down.

Combining Continental and United would leave the U.S. with three big international airlines — the new United, Delta, and American Airlines. US Airways Group Inc. also flies internationally, but its 2009 international traffic was less than one-third that of American's.

United is the nation's third-largest carrier by traffic. Continental Airlines Inc., in Houston, is the country's fourth biggest.

Another key issue will be integrating the pilot work force. One of the people who spoke about the deal said pilots have been briefed, but have not begun negotiations on a joint contract. Aviators at both carriers are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association.

Continental and United both trace their roots to air services founded by Walter Varney in the 1920s and '30s.

One of United's key assets has been its Pacific routes, which it bought from Pan-Am in 1985. It was already the biggest carrier in the U.S., and the Pan-Am deal made it a major international carrier for the first time. Northwest's Pacific routes were one reason Delta pursued that deal two years ago.

Continental jumped in size in 1987 by swallowing Frontier, People Express and New York Air.

Both airlines shrank to cope with the recession. United cut capacity 7.4 percent last year, and Continental shrank 5.2 percent.

And they've both been losing money. Continental reported a 2009 loss of $282 million as revenue plunged 17.4 percent to $12.59 billion. UAL lost $651 million for the year as revenue fell 19.1 percent to $16.34 billion.

The market capitalization for UAL Corp. on Friday was $3.62 billion, while Continental's was $3.12 billion.

Darryl Jenkins, an airline industry consultant, said the United-Continental combination would be the dominant carrier in several of the largest U.S. markets, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston. It would split Chicago with American and cede Atlanta to Delta.

Jenkins said the new United would surpass Delta in attracting prized corporate travelers, who value convenient schedules to places they need to go.

"Now we've got a company that can really clearly compete against Delta," Jenkins said. "Mergers are all about revenue, and this is a tremendous boost for revenue."

Just two years ago, American Airlines was the nation's biggest carrier. First Delta surpassed it, and now United might.

On April 8, when there was talk that United and US Airways were discussing a deal, American CEO Gerard Arpey said the company was "not in any way threatened" by the merger talk involving other carriers.

Smisek, 55, took over as chairman and CEO at Continental at the beginning of 2010 after being its president and chief operating officer. He's been at Continental for 15 years.

Airline analyst Vaughn Cordle said Smisek is a good choice to lead the combined carrier.

"He's on top of the world's largest airline, and has a chance to return to profitability," Cordle said. "That's not a bad thing to do."
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 02:50 PM   #585
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http://www.unitedcontinentalmerger.com/
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 03:31 PM   #586
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Interesting that they are going with the United name but Continental branding and livery.

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Old May 3rd, 2010, 04:13 PM   #587
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i dont like it...sorry, im sure they could have come up with something more interesting than just a mix of name and livery
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 04:44 PM   #588
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Some photos, i dont like it either, the livery doesn't match with the name
[IMG]http://i40.************/309jvyu.jpg[/IMG]
[IMG]http://i41.************/2q2jx5h.jpg[/IMG]
[IMG]http://i42.************/2eg7djd.jpg[/IMG]
[IMG]http://i44.************/5x90lt.jpg[/IMG]
http://www.luchtvaartfoto.nl/item/21...al_fuseren.htm
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 04:58 PM   #589
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[IMG]http://i42.************/21cywj8.jpg[/IMG]
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 05:09 PM   #590
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The new livery looks terrible IMO. Not fitting for the world's largest airline.

I can't believe that I won't see the iconic United logo anymore
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 06:06 PM   #591
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I agree, the livery looks awful! The titles "United" look far too big.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 07:26 PM   #592
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I actually kinda liked the United livery, even though I would fly Continental over United anyday!
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 07:46 PM   #593
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I actually kinda liked the United livery, even though I would fly Continental over United anyday!
Well, soon you will be able to do both, at the same time!
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 09:01 PM   #594
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Originally Posted by Trae View Post
This is why the HQ should stay in Houston. It's only going to surpass Chicagoland in 30-40 years (Houston growth versus Chicagoland growth). The new Continental-United should grow with the city, where the future is. That's done now though.

IAH will be the Latin American gateway to the largest airline in the world. Don't see how it will lose flights. If anything, some domestic flights will be shifted to Denver. The only hub that will lose out is the Cleveland hub. Cleveland will most likely become a focus city and be a reliever airport for Dulles/Newark/O'Hare.
What does the population of a metro area have to do with anything? Chicago is a more prominent city than Houston and it is the base for UA. It makes perfect sense to have it based there. Besides, you point to estimated projections and we all know how off those can be. Saying in 35 years Houston may, and it's a big may, be bigger that Chicago is justification for Houston getting the HQ is ridiculous.

I like this merger personally and it makes sense. With CO moving over to Star Alliance it really helped pave the way for this thing to happen.

As I and others have said, Cleveland is done as a hub and will probably see its operation cut down to a focus city at best. Being right in between ORD, EWR and IAD does not help.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 09:23 PM   #595
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The world's biggest airline with only 7 South American destinations? that's awful

Btw, about the livery: I think It's ok It's going to be that simple because, remember that they are more than 700 aircrafts to paint, and to change it again years later will be a mess. So the solution was to get a serior, regular livery, a little boring but that it wont be ugly in the future, like for example, the one that AA, IB or AZ has... (My opinion)
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 09:47 PM   #596
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Originally Posted by gnzlnho View Post
The world's biggest airline with only 7 South American destinations? that's awful

Btw, about the livery: I think It's ok It's going to be that simple because, remember that they are more than 700 aircrafts to paint, and to change it again years later will be a mess. So the solution was to get a serior, regular livery, a little boring but that it wont be ugly in the future, like for example, the one that AA, IB or AZ has... (My opinion)
I'd be willing to bet that the livery was decided as a negotiation compromise, keeping part of the Continental design as part of the naming rights. But I agree, much easier to repaint.

Last edited by pwalker; May 4th, 2010 at 01:03 AM.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 11:10 PM   #597
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Originally Posted by GlasgowMan View Post
Interesting that they are going with the United name but Continental branding and livery.

God damn that is so ******* ugly...more like weird. It's like putting American on a Southwest plane or vice versa. Sad to see the name Continental go as much as the United symbol.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 11:53 PM   #598
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Well I am personally upset with the merger as I am in Cleveland, but at the same time as an aviation and travel enthusiast I am somewhat excited.

This merger definitely hurts Houston and Cleveland, but overall helps more than it hurts.

As far as the livery is concerned, I don't think it is that bad. It looks odd and awkward because I am so accustomed to something else. However it is better IMO than AA's livery. As far as the name and symbol not matching, I think it matches more now in the symbolic sense than it did before. A globe and the word United cannot fit an airline that is so well connected with so many parts of the globe. This airline will unite more people globally than it did before. Although this livery was primarily done to avoid having to make too many changes to aircraft.

Another thing this merger does is it increases operations in Asia which will certainly pick up a great deal over the next few years. Passenger traffic will grow at alarming rates in China and India.
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Old May 4th, 2010, 01:05 AM   #599
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Continental says the Cleveland hub is safe. We shall see. It could be a reliever airport for ORD.
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Old May 4th, 2010, 01:19 AM   #600
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I am hoping that many more world class airlines will now fly to Houston......The combined airline will have around 65% market share at IAH.....way more than its share in Chicago making Houston the largest hub for the airline.....
However it should be noted that with the airline having Headquarters in Chicago it will lose its lobbying power here in Houston which paves the way for other airlines to gradually eat into their share of the market especially for International flights.....
As I see this, ticket prices to and from Houston are going to drop in the long run...and fares for Chicago flights are going to rise!!!

The same analogy applies to Cleveland...probably on a higher level....having 8 hubs in same country makes no sense!!! gradually it should come down!! We live in an "economy of scale"!!!
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