CEO’s Defend Giant Airline Merger in Washington

The future of Houston as an airline hub was the subject of a Congressional hearing Thursday on the proposed merger
between Continental and United Airlines. Manuel Quinones
reports from Washington.


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Continental Airlines CEO Jeffery Smisek defended the merger, saying it will make the combined airline more efficient and increase its ability to serve customers.

“This merger is good for employees. It’s good for communities. It’s good for consumers and it’s good for competition.”

Houston law Professor Darren Bush — speaking for the American Antitrust Institute — is skeptical.

“This merger may create or enhance dominance at many cities throughout the United States, including Newark, Houston, Chicago, L.A., Washington, Denver and Cleveland.”

Senator John Cornyn also expressed concerns about ticket prices and making sure consumers have enough choice. He also grilled airline executives for picking Chicago and not Houston as the combined airline’s headquarters.

“The three thousand people who work at the corporate headquarters in Houston, I think, are going to feel this pretty significantly.”

Airline executives say the merger will not affect most front line employees and promised to maintain a significant corporate presence in Houston. The city will be a main hub for the combined airline.

From Capitol News Connection, Manuel Quinones, KUHF News.

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