If all goes according to plan, the hotly debated merger between Continental Airlines and United Airlines will take flight early next month. Despite corporate regulations and lawsuits claiming the merger would create a monopoly, unfairly raise prices and jeopardize hundreds of jobs, United and Continental have been given the green light to continue with the deal from the United States Department of Justice (DOJ).
“We are pleased to have achieved this critical milestone and look forward to our respective stockholders’ votes next month, following which we expect to be on track to close our merger by Oct. 1,” stated Glenn Tilton, UAL Corporation chairman, president and CEO. “The combination of United and Continental will create a world-class airline, which will deliver an industry leading network for our customers and the communities we serve, career opportunities for our people, and value and return for our stockholders.”
Last month, the Antitrust Division of the DOJ closed its investigation after completing their review of the pending transaction. And in July, the European Commission also cleared the proposed union, stating that the merger would not raise any competitive concern in Europe or on trans-Atlantic routes.
“The completion of DOJ’s review is an important step on our journey of creating the world’s leading airline, benefiting our customers, co-workers, communities and stockholders,” stated Jeff Smisek, Continental’s chairman, president and CEO. “The DOJ’s decision permits us to clear one of the last regulatory hurdles to closing our merger.”
Once complete, the new airline company will be named United Airlines (the holding company will be United Continental Holdings Inc.) and headquartered in Chicago. However, the CEO will maintain offices in both Houston and Chicago. For marketing purposes, the new brand will incorporate elements from both airlines’ current brands.