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September 18, 2010

Continental and United Airlines shareholders approve merger

Continental and United Airlines shareholders approve merger

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

The new United’s airplanes will use the old Continental color scheme.
Image: nothanks .

United Airlines and Continental Airlines shareholders yesterday approved a US$3.2 billion merger that would create the world’s largest airline. 98% of shareholders approved of the deal.

In the deal, United stockholders will hold 55% of the company, while Continental stockholders will get 1.05 new shares for each Continental share and will hold the remaining 45% of the company. The deal was earlier approved by United States antitrust regulators. The new company, which keeps United’s name but Continental’s globe logo, has little overlap in its route network, and will be headed by Continental CEO Jeff Smisek.

The new company surpasses rival Delta Air Lines, which merged only a year ago, to become the world’s largest.

The airlines expect to complete the merger by October 1 of this year, and customers can expect to see major changes in spring 2011, when the new United will rebrand their kiosks, worker uniforms and airplanes. The new company is calling the day when they rebrand “Customer Day One”.

“Our stockholders recognized the value of bringing together Continental and United to create a platform for increased profitability and sustainable, long-term growth,” Smisek announced after the merger.

Some analysts agree. “No further obstacles to the merger are likely at this point,” Jim Corridore, Standard & Poor‘s equity analyst, said to investors. Corridore also said that “we are positive on the planned merger, which we think creates an extremely strong global route network with opportunities for cost and revenue synergies.”

Other people were less positive about the merger. Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare.com, said that “losing a major competitor is likely to make prices rise — all things equal on the economy and fuel prices.” Also, a lawsuit in California accusing the merger of monopolizing the market and raising fares has been filed by lawyer Joseph Alioto, who claims that he represents consumers. United and Continental have defended themselves against accusations of monopolizing the airline industry by stating that they compete with low-cost carriers such as Southwest Airlines on three quarters of their US network. The airlines have also said that the low overlap and the low-cost competition will bring fares to heel.



Related news

  • “Continental and United Airlines to merge” — Wikinews, May 4, 2010

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June 30, 2010

US airlines eke out US$12 million profit in first quarter

US airlines eke out US$12 million profit in first quarter

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

U.S airlines as a whole posted a US$12 million profit in the first quarter of 2010 as “ancillary” services propped them up.
Image: Wikimedia Commons.

US airlines in the first quarter of 2010 managed to eke out a US$12 million profit, mostly from “ancillary” services like checked baggage fees, pet transportation fees and more.

Compared to the first quarter of 2009, checked baggage fees soared 33% to $769 million. The airlines also reaped $554 million in reservation change fees, and made $534 million from other ancillary sources; such services (including checked baggage fees, reservation change fees, etc.) made up 21.7% of Spirit Airlines’ income, the highest in the industry.

The US airline industry is made up of 21 carriers, according to the U.S Department of Transportation.

The five “network” or legacy carriers—including United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Continental Airlines, American Airlines and US Airways—continue to struggle and posted a $163 million loss as a group. Delta Air Lines had the highest profit, at $107 million, while American Airlines was at the other side of the carriers, with a $322 million loss.

Low-cost carriers fared better, posting a $115 million profit as a group, with Southwest Airlines having the largest profit, at $54 million, while Allegiant Air’s profit margins were the highest of the budget carriers at 20%. Regional airlines made a $60 million profit.

The world’s airlines expect a US$2.5 billion profit as a whole, despite an earlier forcast of a loss. However, many investors and groups, such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), are somewhat doubtful of this number, as oil prices are expected to remain volatile, leading to the possibility of high prices cutting into airlines’ profits.



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May 4, 2010

Continental and United Airlines to merge

Continental and United Airlines to merge

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

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  • 9 April 2015: Plane crash in Illinois kills seven
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The new airline will be called United Airlines but use Continental livery (pictured)

Continental Airlines and United Airlines officially announced Monday their plans to merge after both companies’ boards of directors approved the plan on Sunday afternoon. The joint company, branded as United Airlines, will take its livery from both airlines, acquiring the United name and using the Continental Globe and colors, giving it a co-branded look. This merger will allow Continental and United to surpass the recent Delta and Northwest merger, becoming the largest airline in the world when the merger is finalized.

The two airlines failed to reach an agreement on a separate merger several years ago when Continental dropped out of the talks. Some experts cited United’s poor financial status as being one of the contributing factors for the breakdown in talks. This led United to begin merger talks with alliance partner US Airways, which also failed to come to fruition.

File:N775UA.jpg

A Boeing 777 in United Airlines livery
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

The stock price of both companies rose when news of their merger was announced. Unlike most mergers, this one is relatively even in terms of what each company receives as a result. United Airlines is taking 55% control of the combined company and keeping its name, as well as becoming the main base for the group in Chicago. Continental’s Chief Executive Officer will become the CEO of the combined company, known as United Continental Holdings Inc, and will gain control of the other 45% of the new airline.

Since base operations are moving to Chicago, the city of Houston recently submitted proposals arguing for not cutting Continental’s over 1,000 jobs in Texas. Little has been said as to what will happen to regional carriers, like ExpressJet Airlines, that work closely with the two companies. For now, the companies will remain operating independently pending a United States Department of Justice anti-trust review which will set the stage for finalization of the merger later this year.



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April 9, 2010

Qatari diplomat detained on Las Vegas bound flight

Qatari diplomat detained on Las Vegas bound flight

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Friday, April 9, 2010

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A United Airlines Boeing 757
Image: Pedroalcaina.

A man tried to ignite his shoes during a flight from Washington, DC to Las Vegas, Nevada on Wednesday. Air Marshals subdued the Qatari diplomat on board the airplane before it landed safely at Denver International Airport in Colorado. The airplane was United Airlines Flight 663, a Boeing 757 with 157 passengers and 6 crew members on board.

A search concluded that there were no explosives on the plane. NBC News reports that there was smoke coming from a restroom which led to an air marshal subduing the suspect.

The diplomat was reportedly smoking a cigarette in the plane’s lavatory. He also reportedly stated, jokingly, that he wanted to light his shoe on fire. It is unlikely that he will face charges due to his diplomatic immunity.

After the incident was reported by the pilot, military jets scrambled and escorted the airplane safely to Denver. The TSA and law enforcement agencies took the suspect into custody and are currently investigating the incident.

This incident occurs just as many countries are trying to lift their airplane restrictions caused by a Nigerian man who tried to detonate explosives in his underwear.



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United Airlines Flight 663 incident
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January 12, 2008

Delta Air Lines may enter merge talks with Northwest or United Airlines

Delta Air Lines may enter merge talks with Northwest or United Airlines

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Delta Air Lines may enter merge discussions with one of two other major United States air carriers – Northwest Airlines or United Airlines.

It is known that Chief Executive Richard Anderson has asked for authorisation to begin talks, and believed executives have held a meeting at which permission was sought to enter discussion with one of the two airlines, but the results are yet to be confirmed.

Ajc.com reported that airline spokesman Kent Landers refused to confirm even the existence of the meeting, saying “Delta has a longstanding policy not to comment on board meeting dates or agendas. Our board is working with management to look at all strategic options to remain a leader in the industry, including potential consolidation transactions. [Delta] won’t provide updates on the board’s process.”

The airline has been in exploratory talks with both Northwest and United since late 2007, and it is believed that the purpose of the New York meeting was to select which airline offered Delta the better deal and authorise moving talks on to the next level. If a deal goes ahead and survives regulatory checks and potential opposition from politicians and consumer advocates then a merge with either airline would be the biggest between two US airlines, and would result in the biggest airline in the world.

Rapidly rising costs in the aviation industry are driving airlines towards merges. In particular, the price of jet fuel jumped 58% in 2007, driven by the rapidly increasing price of oil. When Anderson joined Delta in early September, he commented that he was not interested in potential merge deals. However, as prices rise and shares fall for airlines, he publicly changed his stance to being open to Delta-led mergers. Shares in all three companies shot up amid the news of a potential deal, although they have begun falling again, and did not hit last year’s highs. Delta has a current market value of around $4.2 billion, less than half the amount US Airways offered last year in an attempt to buy Delta, which failed.



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June 8, 2007

National Park Service covers donation box at United Airlines Flight 93 memorial

National Park Service covers donation box at United Airlines Flight 93 memorial

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Friday, June 8, 2007

On June 7, Mike Svonavec, the owner of the land in Somerset County, Pennsylvania where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed on September 11, 2001 has a US$10 million price tag for his property which is sought by the group, Families of Flight 93 and the United States National Park Service, (NPS) for building a memorial dedicated to those on the plane. Svonavec also placed a box on the crash site temporary memorial, where visitors can leave a “donation” to pay for his asking price for the land as well as the cost of providing security at the site.

The NPS has covered the donation box with a trash bag and told Svonavec in a letter to remove it by the end of Friday June 8, but Svonavec said that he will not remove the box.

“I have no intentions of removing the box from my property. My only plans are to try to cooperate with the Park Service with regard to the sale of the property,” said Svonavec.

Svonavec accused the NPS of trying to take over his property after they placed the bag over the box.

“It’s just unbelievable to my mind that that’s the direction they would take, taking control of the property like a guest would at your house,” added Svonavec.

“The bottom line is we feel the National Park Service can’t effectively carry out our mission without exercising the exclusive use and control of the site as provided for in our agreement with the property owners,” said Joanne Hanley who is the Superintendent of the memorial.

Although NPS tour guides are telling tourists and others who visit the memorial, they are shocked to learn that the money they donate is going to Svonavec and not the memorial. “They’re alarmed that they may have given their money to something that they didn’t want to give their money to,” said one of the 43 guides who volunteer at the memorial, Donna Glessner.

The land is currently under contract with the NPS and the memorial is allowed to be on the land according to an act of the United States Congress who in 2002 authorized the memorial to be placed on the land.

Currently, the U.S. National Park Service only owns approximately 60 acres of the land. PBS Coals Inc. owns 864 acres of the land and Svonavec owns 273 acres. The entire field is nearly 2,000 acres.

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  • “Owner wants $10 million for Flight 93 crash site land” — Wikinews, June 7, 2007

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June 7, 2007

Owner wants $10 million for Flight 93 crash site land

Owner wants $10 million for Flight 93 crash site land

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Thursday, June 7, 2007

Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County, Pennsylvania (near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.)
Image: Aude.

Mike Svonavec, the owner of the land in Somerset County, Pennsylvania where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed on September 11, 2001 has set a US$10 million price tag for his property, which is sought by the group, Families of Flight 93 and the United States National Park Service for building a memorial dedicated to those on the plane.

Svonavec says that the price is fair market value for the 273 acre property and the organization would not be charged for the exact site of the crash. The organization has offered to buy the land for no more than $500,000 at least three times.

Currently, the U.S. National Park Service only owns approximately 60 acres of the land. PBS Coals Inc. owns 864 acres of the land and Svonavec owns 273 acres. The entire field is nearly 2,000 acres.

The permanent memorial is estimated to cost $58 million and is scheduled to be constructed starting in 2008 or 2009. On the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, a ribbon will be cut at the site.

Svonavec has also placed a box on the crash site temporary memorial, where visitors can leave a “donation” to pay for his asking price for the land as well as the cost of providing security at the site. Funding was provided for the cost of security, but in February the funds were already used up and Svonavec says he can no longer afford to keep the land maintained and secure. Reports say that the security company that is currently in charge of security charges $10,000 per month.

“That land has been paid for with 40 lives…the donation box is an insult to that cost. I think Svonavec believes his land, because it has the blood of my cousin and 39 other people, it’s worth more,” said Patrick White, Vice President, Families of Flight 93.

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January 2, 2007

United Airlines employees spot UFO at Chicago\’s O\’Hare Airport

United Airlines employees spot UFO at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport

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Tuesday, January 2, 2007

A group of United Airlines employees said they saw a mysterious, elliptical-shaped (saucer-shaped) UFO hovering over a terminal at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. The employees said that the UFO did not have any lights, and that after hovering over the airport’s terminal, it went into the clouds and disappeared. The employees said they were frustrated that their bosses, the United Airlines, and the FAA were not taking their report seriously.

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November 11, 2005

United Airlines to hire 2,000 flight attendants

United Airlines to hire 2,000 flight attendants

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Friday, November 11, 2005

United Airlines Boeing 777 taking off at Schiphol Airport

The besieged airline industry received some good news today, United Airlines plans to hire 2,000 flight attendants. This is the first time in four years United has increased the number of flight attendants it employs.

United Airlines, the second largest US carrier, furloughed many flight attendants as a result of decreased air travel after September 11th. At one time 5,500 flight attendants were on furlough. United finished recalling flight attendants on October 31st. The airline’s problems were further aggravated by soaring fuel prices forcing the company to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy which it plans to emerge from in 2006.

The new hires are intended to replace retirees and flight attendants who decided not to return from furlough.

United stated that it will begin accepting applications November 13th at United flight attendant application page

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