Continental to review alternatives to make sure it remains competitive

San Francisco (Thomson Financial) - Continental Airlines Inc. said Tuesday it plans to review its strategic alternatives to make sure it remains a "strong long-term competitor," in response to news of the planned merger of Delta Air Lines Inc. and Northwest Airlines Corp.

"As we've said repeatedly for more than a year and a half, our preference has been to remain independent as long as the competitive landscape remained the same," said Continental Chairman and Chief Executive Larry Kellner and President Jeff Smisek in a message to employees. "However, the landscape is changing."

Houston-based Continental also said the announcement of the Delta-Northwest deal will enable it to redeem the "Golden Share" that Northwest owns in Continental.

There are reports that Continental has been talking to United Airlines, a unit of UAL Corp., about a potential tie-up. In addition, the airline plans to review its continued participation in the alliance with Northwest, Delta and SkyTeam. Shares on Continental fell 6.9% to $20.38.