United Air Lines and Continental Airlines formally closed their so-called merger of equals today, as United Continental Holdings–the former UAL Corporation–announced that both now operate as wholly owned subsidiaries of the new entity. The common stock of United Continental Holdings began trading today on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol UAL.
UAL Corp.'s United Airlines and Continental Airlines expect their proposed merger to close by October 1, now that companies have cleared the last major hurdle in their bid to create the world's largest airline. On Friday shareholders from both companies approved the transaction by a wide margin, as more than 98 percent of the votes cast by each group went in favor of the merger.
The U.S. Department of Justice has approved the merger of United and Continental Airlines, the carriers announced on Friday. UAL and CAL expect to close the transaction by October 1, assuming their respective stockholders vote to clear the deal next month.
It appears United Airlines' public flirtation with US Airways might have generated the desired effect, as Continental Airlines has finally agreed to merge with UAL two years after Continental spurned United's last proposal to wed. The $3.2 billion merger would result in the biggest airline in the world and leave the U.S. with three major international carriers: the new United, Delta and American Airlines.
Air Wisconsin, a UAL United Express partner, has expressed some confusion with regard to a request by United Airlines to its partners that they submit bids for 70-seat regional jet service within the United Express system.
United Airlines last month asked a judge overseeing its bankruptcy case for permission to end the code-sharing and marketing agreement with regional carrier Great Lakes Aviation. According to a UAL spokesman, the request is “essentially procedural” and does not mean UAL rejects out of hand Great Lakes as a code-sharing and marketing partner.
“Both the postponement of the 54th Annual Meeting and Convention and its re-scheduling for December were in response to the needs of our members,” Jack Olcott, NBAA president, told AIN.
Avolar, the “stand alone” UAL Corp. subsidiary created in April to launch a new business aviation venture, has declared that despite the September 11 terrorist attacks and their devastating impact on America’s aviation industry, “Our business plan is unchanged; however, Avolar is now seeking equity investors to share the burden of funding.” Avolar was originally created as United BizJet Holdings.
It was a challenge. A big one, admittedly, but as Stuart Oran discovered, much bigger than originally envisioned.
Avolar, the budding stand-alone fractional business jet division of UAL Corp., stepped up its launch effort last month with a pair of new aircraft orders–despite a current economy that has other fractional providers turning to new marketing tactics. To boot, the Avolar business plan is ahead of schedule. Avolar president Stuart Oran said at the NBAA Convention in New Orleans last month, “We are now operational.
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