UAL-Continental merger seen closer - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

UAL-Continental merger seen closer

By Howard Dicus - bio | email

CHICAGO and HOUSTON (HawaiiNewsNow) - United Airlines and Continental Airlines continued merger talks Friday and both boards of directors considered whether to agree to a deal that could be announced as soon as Monday.

Mainland media as diverse as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the home town newspapers of both Chicago, where UAL Corp. is based, and Houston, headquarters of Continental, said a deal was near.

Those reports say the Continental name would be retired but Continental CEO Jeff Smisek would be CEO of the resulting airline, with United CEO becoming a non-executive chairman.

The Continental board is scheduled to meet again Sunday for what may be a final decision on whether to agree to a merger contract.

CreditSights analyst Roger King told Bloomberg News Service the two airlines would have "the best global network."

United is the third larger airline and Continental the fifth. Merged, they would be larger than Delta and American.

United flies more seats to Hawaii than any other carrier including Hawaiian, with direct nonstops from Chicago O'Hare, Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Osaka. It has the most extensive direct flights to neighbor islands.

Continental flies to Hawaii from Los Angeles, Guam, Houston and Newark. It is the only airline with nonstop service to Hawaii from Houston or the New York metropolitan area or from Guam, the hub of its Micronesia division, which connects to Tokyo.

One fear of a merger is that an airline's moves to cut redundant flights would result in less capacity for visitors, but the only overlap between UAL and Continental service to Hawaii is that both fly here from LAX.

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