Take Off: Continental and United Airlines Announce Major Merger - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Take Off: Continental and United Airlines Announce Major Merger

Cleveland Mayor Jackson On the Merger Cleveland Mayor Jackson On the Merger

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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - United Airlines and Continental Airlines have agreed to a merger of equals, creating the world's leading airline featuring superior service to customers, expanded access to an unparalleled global airline network, improved long-term career prospects for employees, and a platform for improved profitability and sustainable long-term value for shareholders.

The new planes will have 'United' written on the side with Continental's colors and log.

The huge move in the airline industry is leaving some worried what it will mean for Cleveland's job generating Hopkins Airport

Local officials say they have no reason to think the Continental Airlines merger with United will cost Cleveland jobs, but that's not stopping them from banding together to make sure the city isn't short changed.

"We will protect our interests even though we've had a great relationship over the years it is business and we will also be looking out for our interests," said Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson. "The proposed merger will require the approval of the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation."

"I have a long experience with anti-trust issues and I'm watching this very carefully to determine whether or not this city's interests are going to be determined," said Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D) 10th District.

The all-stock merger of equals brings together two of the world's premier airlines, creating a combined company well-positioned to succeed in an increasingly competitive global and domestic aviation industry.

The combination of Continental and United brings together the most complementary networks of any two U.S. carriers, with minimal domestic and no international overlap. Together, Continental and United serve more than 144 million passengers per year.

The combined company will be the world's leading airline, offering customers superior benefits and services, and offering employees improved long-term career opportunities. It is also expected to offer investors compelling financial synergies. Read the entire press release here.

Questions and Answers from www.unitedcontinentalmerger.com:

Q. Is Continental Airlines becoming United Airlines?

A. Continental and United are combining in a merger of equals to form a new airline which will be called United Airlines and will use the Continental logo and colors as its marketing brand. The planes will be painted in Continental's livery, including the globe tail. No changes will be made until the merger closes, which is expected near the end of 2010. The new airline will combine the best of both airlines, including Continental's award-winning customer service and United's #1 on-time performance.

Q.Will the combined airline continue to fly to my city?

A. Yes. We will continue to maintain service at all communities currently served by either airline, including more than 140 small metropolitan areas and communities.

Additional information and route maps are available at www.UnitedContinentalMerger.com

Q. Where can I find out more information about travel to and from my city?

A. Current route information is available on each of the airlines' websites: www.continental.com and www.united.com. You can go to www.UnitedContinentalmerger.com to see what the combined airline's route network is expected to look like.

Q. How will international operations be affected by the merger?

A. The merger will create the world's most comprehensive global route network, offering exceptional international gateways to Asia, Europe, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East from anywhere in the United States.

Q. Will ticket prices increase because of the merger?

A. Airlines are under strong competitive pressure to keep fares low and we expect that pressure to continue. Eighty percent of all domestic markets and 76 percent of all United and Continental domestic markets have access to travel on low cost carriers, which today have a presence in 92 percent of the joint airlines' top 50 city-to-city routes. Moreover, in our merger plans, we expect to achieve revenue synergies without any increase in fares.

Q. When will I see any changes related to the merger?

A. It will be business as usual on both airlines until the merger closes, which is expected to happen near the end of 2010.

Additional information and route maps are available at www.UnitedContinentalMerger.com.

Q. Can I use my United ticket on Continental or vice versa?

A. Not yet. The merger agreement announced today between United and Continental is expected to close near the end of 2010. Both airlines will operate independently until then. Travelers should continue to make reservations just as they have in the past.

Q. Will my future travel reservations be affected?

A. No. Until the merger closes, which is expected near the end of the year, United and Continental remain separate companies and will operate independently. Customers will not see any changes, but will be able to continue to travel on both airlines pursuant to our codeshare agreement. Travelers should make reservations just as they have in the past.

Q. What changes can customers expect to see immediately?

A. Until the merger closes, which is expected to happen near the end of 2010, United and Continental remain separate companies and will operate independently. Customers will not see any changes, but will be able to continue to travel on both airlines pursuant to our codeshare agreement. Travelers should make reservations just as they have in the past.

Q. What steps are being taken to improve customer travel at the new company?

A. After the merger closes the customer travel experience will be enhanced by a combination of the best products and services each carrier has to offer. Both Continental and United are proud of our award-winning customer service and industry-leading on time performance. We will remain focused on providing clean, safe and reliable air transportation as we create the world's best airline.

The merger will create the industry's leading frequent flyer program, offering vast opportunities for customers to earn and redeem miles, including on Star Alliance partners.

Q. How will the transaction affect my Mileage Plus or OnePass miles? Do I have to use all of my miles before the merger is completed or risk losing them? Can I combine them now?

A. Our OnePass and Mileage Plus programs will continue to operate independently until the merger closes. Miles in both programs continue to be valid and are able to be used according to existing program rules. The new frequent flyer program will blend valuable features of OnePass and Mileage Plus from United and Continental.

Q. Will I still receive mileage credit for credit card charges?

A. Yes. You will continue to receive mileage credit when using your Mileage Plus Chase Visa credit card or One Pass credit card.

Q. Will I still be able to use my membership at the Red Carpet Club or Presidents Club?

A. Yes. Red Carpet Club and Presidents Club members already have access to both airlines' clubs. This won't change.

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