Continental And United Airlines To Move Ahead With Merger Becoming Largest Carrier, After European Approval

continental-united-airlines-mergerContinental and United airlines received the approval of European regulators yesterday, permitting the two carriers to move ahead with their plans to create the world’s largest carrier. On the list of things the airlines are required to do in order to carry out the proposed merger, securing the approval of European regulators wasn’t expected to be the biggest obstacle. The deal still has to be signed off by the Department of Justice and Congress, which industry experts expect will involve much closer scrutiny.

“I didn’t expect it would be an issue,’’ Robert Mann, an airline industry consultant from Port Washington, N.Y., said of the European approval. “It was pretty pro forma from their standpoint.’’

In May, after years of on-again, off-again merger talks, Continental and United announced they would combine their companies. The $3 billion, all-stock deal puts Continental’s Chief Executive Officer Jeff Smisek in the pilot’s seat, but leaves the United name on the combined company. Full story in Star Ledger.

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