United & Continental Merge

May 03 2010 United & Continental Merge BY admin TAGS United

 

unitedJust over a month ago we were speculating about a possible merger of United and U.S. Airways. Those merger talks were going hot and heavy when the plug suddenly got yanked. The next think you know United is standing at the alter with Continental. Wow...it's the sort of drama that goes on at high school proms!

So what does it mean for our airport? Before diving into that, keep in mind that this marriage must be approved by the federal government. Will a Democratic administration be as receptive to an airline merger as a Republican one (Republicans were in charge when Delta and Northwest merged a couple of years ago)?

Assuming the deal is blessed by the feds, let's look at what the two airlines bring to the table. This discussion will mainly deal with just North American operations:

United:

  • 3,300 flights a day
  • Hubs: Los Angles, San Francisco, Denver, Chicago, Washington Dulles
  • Code share: Star Alliance

Continental:

  • 2612 flights a day
  • Hubs: Houston Intercontinental, Cleveland, Newark
  • Code share:  Star Alliance

Check out the North American route maps: United and Continental.

The first thing to point out is that both airlines are members of the Star Alliance. So some Springfield customers are already taking Continental via code share with United.

As for hubs, it seems doubtful that there will be much change, except for Cleveland, which could be pared back. The most obvious question concerning Springfield is whether the combined airline will start service between Springfield and Houston? That will depend on at least two things: 1) will the new airline's analysis of Springfield traffic justify the service, and 2) will the new airline want to compete with American for Springfield customers that currently connect through Dallas on their way to smaller Texas cities? That's an oversimplification, but it gives you an idea of the questions the airline will ask.

Bottom line? Barring a huge restructuring of the airline's combined networks, we don't see much change on the horizon.

 

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