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City Leaders Talk About Merger

It remains to be seen how many jobs Houston will be lost as a result of the big United-Continental merger. But what everyone does agree on is that Houston will now be the hub for the largest airline in the world. Bill Stamps reports — city leaders say there’s plenty of reason for optimism.


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With a smile on her face Mayor Annise Parker says the merger presents some interesting opportunities for Houston.

We are excited about the opportunities to grow the Houston Airport system. We are excited about the fact that we will be the largest hub in the new United Airlines company and we’re glad that the CEO of the new airline will be based here in Houston.

It’s possible Houston could actually gain jobs, when it is all said and done, but the higher paying decision makers may be gone or relocated.

We’re less happy about the fact that the new headquarters will be based in Chicago, but we have said all along that our biggest concern was being the place where the operational and support services are headquartered and there’s still a lot of issues to be worked out along those lines.

State Senator Rodney Ellis says he’s onboard with the merger. He highlighted a few of the positives of the deal.

One, that there will be 370 destinations. I’m told 59 countries. That bolsters Houston’s international presence on the planet and that’s a good thing.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee sounded more optimistic about the deal than previously but she still hinted that it could face problems once congressional hearings are held. This is still a federal question that has to be reviewed and I look forward to being a partner in the effort to make sure the joy will overcome my restrained dismay.

When questioned about the doom-and-gloom some so-called experts have predicted in the media, Mayor Parker stated emphatically her disagreement.

“In terms of a devastating economic impact, that’s unnecessarily alarmist and frankly in my opinion is just wrong.”

Parker says now that the merger has been officially announced, the city can start putting negotiating with the new company to keep as many jobs in Houston as possible.