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Continental/United Merger Expected

April 30, 2010 By: George Dooley

Will Chicago-based United Airlines and Houston-based Continental Airlines merge? Media speculation is widespread that the two carriers will announce as early as Monday a merger that could create the world's largest airline.

The transaction needs approvals of the two companis' boards of directors, shareholders and the federal government, including antitrust scrutiny by the Department of Justice. The reactions of the two carriers unions also remains unknown.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the new carrier would be headquartered in Chicago and called United. Continental's Jeff Smisek, CEO, would head up the new company while United’s CEO Glenn Tilton would be named chairman. Both carriers are publicly owned.

The transaction, if completed, could dwarf last year’s merger of Northwest into Delta and challenge the new carriers management to achieve profitability.

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