United Airlines and Continental Airlines have reportedly moved closer to solving differences in valuing their potential merger, enabling an agreement as soon as next week (Bloomberg/SmartTrend/Associated Press/CNBC/Chicago Tribune, 28-Apr-2010). Continental's Board reportedly met on 28-Apr-2010 to discuss the potential tie-up, with United Airlines directors to meet on 30-Apr-2010. The carriers have reportedly agreed to an all-stock merger with no premium, although the companies have disagreed over the time period for the ratio of a stock swap. United and Continental are the third and fourth largest US carriers by traffic and combined they would become the world’s largest carrier, surpassing Delta Airlines/Northwest Airlines. The proposed merger terms also include appointing Continental CEO, Jeff Smisek, as CEO of the combined carrier, and United’s Glenn Tilton as Chairman.
United Airlines and Continental Airlines moving closer to merger value: reports
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United Airlines stresses that capacity adds are accretive as 2Q2017 unit revenues turn positive
United Airlines expects to attain a positive passenger unit revenue performance in 2Q2017, which would mark the first positive result for the airline in that metric since early 2015. The airline’s PRASM results in 1Q2017 were in line with its initial forecast, which was more conservative than those of its larger US rivals. American and Delta refined their 1Q2017 unit revenue forecast downward, while United kept its guidance intact, and its performance fell within its initial estimates.
The airline’s 2Q2017 positive unit revenue outlook is driven by many factors, including a shift in its management of close in bookings to reduce reliance on advance purchase discounts. Latin America and the US domestic market continue to be bright spots for United, while declines in Pacific unit revenue continue to moderate. United’s better than expected unit revenue performance in trans-Atlantic markets in 1Q2017 should moderate as point of sale tilts more toward Europe later in the year.
Markets seem still to be digesting United’s decision to increase its planned 2017 capacity growth by 1.5ppt. United is stressing that much of the growth is driven by increased gauge, and the growth is designed to restore United to its natural share in the US domestic market.
Emirates has multiple reasons for cutting back on US capacity
As the most conspicuous and largest, Emirates Airline often takes on its shoulders the increasingly difficult task of defending Gulf aviation. Emirates often single handedly represents the Gulf and "Middle East Big 3", in much the same way as Dubai carries regional geopolitics.
Just as there are significant differences between the Big 3 US airlines who have strenuously opposed the Gulf carriers in the US market, so Emirates is fundamentally different from its peers: it is longer established, has a larger home market and has had a more commercial mandate from the beginning.
Yet Emirates must compete in a market where many others would like a piece of that market. Just as Dubai Inc modelled itself in many ways on Singapore Inc, there are many who would follow the same trail. This does not lead to steady market conditions.
Certainly the policies of US President Trump have hurt aviation and tourism. But Emirates' announcement of a 19% reduction in services to the United States is less about US policies and more about the nature of the market forces that started before Trump was even a serious Presidential contender.