United, Continental agree to form world’s largest airline
Continental Airlines and United Airlines have announced an agreement to merge, in a move that will see the creation of the world’s largest airline group. The all-stock merger brings together United, the world’s third largest airline by scheduled passengers flown, and Continental, the ninth largest, to create a combined company flying more than 144 million passengers per year to 370 destinations in 59 countries.
The holding company for the new entity will be named ‘United Continental Holdings Inc’ and the name of the airline will be United Airlines. The marketing brand will be a combination of the brands of both companies. Aircraft will have the Continental livery, logo and colours with the United name, and the joint campaign slogan will be ‘Let’s Fly Together’. The new company’s corporate and operational headquarters will be in Chicago but it will maintain a significant presence in Houston, which will be the combined company’s largest hub.
Glenn Tilton, Chairman, President & CEO of UAL Corp, said: “Building on our Star Alliance partnership, we are creating a stronger, more efficient airline, both operationally and financially, better positioned to succeed in a dynamic and highly competitive global aviation industry. This combination will provide a strong platform for sustainable, long-term value for shareholders, opportunities for employees, and more and better scheduled service and destinations for customers.”
The new company would have annual revenues of approximately US$29 billion based on 2009 results, and a cash balance of approximately US$7.4 billion as of the end of first quarter 2010.
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