Cornyn Wants Assurances

The proposed multi-billion dollar merger of United and Continental Airlines will be examined at two Senate hearings Thursday in Washington. One hearing takes a look at the effect on industry competition, while the other examines the impact of consolidation. Pat Hernandez has more.

The heads of United and Houston based Continental Airlines will state their case for the 3 billion dollar merger before the Senate Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights. That hearing will follow a Senate Commerce, Science and  Transportation Committee hearing on the overall financial condition of the airline industry and the effects of consolidation. Texas Senator John Cornyn says there is a lot at stake for consumers.

“I wanna know whether this merger will have any anti competitive impact, which will ultimately raise costs of air transportation to consumers..”

Cornyn says he plans to meet with Continental CEO Jeffery Smisek before the hearings take place.

“Obviously, I’m interested in whether this merger will threaten thousands of Texas jobs, since Continental obviously has its hub in Houston, and I’m going to look for some concrete assurances that Texas jobs will be protected should this merger go forward.”

Concerns over how the proposed union will affect industry competition, airfare and safety issues has apparently split congressional support for the merger. One lawmaker, democratic congressman Jim Oberstar of Minnesota,  is worried that it will reduce competition, consumer choices and service to smaller undeserved communities.