Airlines Plan to Join Forces

By: Brooks Jarosz Email
By: Brooks Jarosz Email

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Two airlines plan to join forces to create a newer and bigger airline that would become the nation's largest carrier, cruising past Delta.

United and Continental airlines say they've struck a deal worth about $3 billion.

The United States Justice Department is looking over the merger before giving the airline the all clear.

At Charleston's Yeager Airport, United and Continental are two of the airport's six airlines.

"Hopefully what we'd like to do is get them to expand after they merge and maybe add more flights to Houston and see how Chicago O'Hare's route is doing," airport spokesperson Brian Belcher said.

The new carrier plans to keep the United name but use the Continental colors and logo.

The company plans on making Chicago their headquarters.

Yeager Airport officials tell there are still a lot of unknowns, but they're doing all they can to avoid negative effects on air service including an increase in ticket prices or a decrease in the number of flights available.

"We don't want to see where there's only three airlines serving your market and then they have pricing control because you don't have as much competition," Belcher said. "We like the lineup of airlines that we have. We think there's a lot of competition and we think competition is healthy."

American is already competing with United for flights to Chicago and US Airways and United both fly out of Yeager to Dulles International Airport near Washington D.C.

Continental does not have any competition for its once a day flight to and from Houston.

"United is a larger airline worldwide," Belcher said. "We've had a great relationship with Continental and we think they do a great job with customer service. We want to see that continue so they both have their pluses and minuses and so we'll have to see how it goes."

There are 14 total flights in and out of Yeager by the two airlines combined.

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