Continental Airlines and United Airlines have started merger discussions according to reports, which come following earlier reports of United also holding discussions with US Airways.
According to a report from the Reuters news service, which cites an unnamed source briefed in the matter, Continental and United talks are in the “very early stages”, although much of the groundwork has already been laid from an aborted merger attempt made in 2008 which resulted in a broad alliance between the two carriers rather than a full merger. United is also reportedly in talks with US Airways on a merger, and it is understood that those discussions are more advanced than those being held with Continental. United, US Airways and Continental have all declined to comment on the reports.
United has been pursuing a consolidation agenda for a number of years, but recent attempts to merge with the other two carriers have foundered on labour and competition issues. While it is one of the biggest carriers in the world, United is regarded as one of the weakest, with years of losses having taken its toll on the carrier, while Continental is considered among the stronger US carriers.