Tuesday, April 15, 2008

United-Continental: The Harrumphing Commences

And your point is?

Here's an excerpt from a memo United Airlines CEO Glenn Tilton sent to employees late yesterday as speculation intensified that United will gobble up ... er, merge with Continental once Continental is legally free to be sold ... er, acquired with the formal inking of the agreement on the Delta takeover of ... er, merger with Northwest.

CHICAGO, April 15 -- UAL Corporation issued the following statement from Chairman, President and Chief Executive Glenn Tilton regarding consolidation in the airline industry, as part of his message to employees earlier today:

"The industry has changed dramatically -- both globally and domestically -- and the old paradigms no longer apply; the current fuel and economic environment are only accelerating the need for a different approach. Consolidation is but one of the changes necessary to achieve sustained profitability, and we have been fully supportive. As the industry evolves, we will take the actions we need to strengthen our global competitiveness, and we will participate in consolidation when and if it is the right choice and provides the right benefits for employees, customers and shareholders."


Chairman, President and Chief Executive Glenn? You gonna buy Continental or not?

By the way, watch it when an airline executive (or a media executive, come to think of it) starts tossing around sentences like "the old paradigms no longer apply." That's a sure signal that somebody, somewhere is about to get screwed.

Meanwhile, hilarity abounds today over press reports and NPR reports pegging the value of the Delta-Northwest deal at $17 billion. Hell, it's the airline business! It's funny money! Who's counting?

The Times and WSJ get it right, of course, at a far more sober $3 billion.


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