Airline Mergers: Issues Raised by the Proposed Merger of United and Continental Airlines

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Earlier this month, United Air Lines (United) and Continental Airlines (Continental) announced plans to merge the two airlines and signed a merger agreement. This follows the acquisition of Northwest Airlines by Delta Air Lines (Delta) in 2008, which propelled Delta to become the largest airline in the United States. This latest merger, if not challenged by the Department of Justice (DOJ), would surpass Delta's merger in scope to create the largest passenger airline in terms of capacity in the United States. The passenger airline industry has struggled financially ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. May 27, 2010.

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Earlier this month, United Air Lines (United) and Continental Airlines (Continental) announced plans to merge the two airlines and signed a merger agreement. This follows the acquisition of Northwest Airlines by Delta Air Lines (Delta) in 2008, which propelled Delta to become the largest airline in the United States. This latest merger, if not challenged by the Department of Justice (DOJ), would surpass Delta's merger in scope to create the largest passenger airline in terms of capacity in the United States. The passenger airline industry has struggled financially over the last decade, and these two airlines believe a merger will strengthen them. However, as with any proposed merger of this magnitude, this one will be carefully examined by DOJ to determine if its potential benefits for consumers outweigh the potential negative effects. At the Committee's request, GAO is providing a statement for the record that describes (1) an overview of the factors that are driving mergers in the industry, (2) the role of federal authorities in reviewing merger proposals, and (3) key issues associated with the proposed merger of United and Continental. To address these objectives, GAO drew from previous reports on the potential effects of the proposed merger between Delta and Northwest and the financial condition of the airline industry, and analyzed Department of Transportation (DOT) airline operating and financial data."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • May 27, 2010

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Airline Mergers: Issues Raised by the Proposed Merger of United and Continental Airlines, text, May 27, 2010; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc290795/: accessed September 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.