If you’re a stickler for the truth, the DOT Future of Aviation Advisory Committee (FAAC) meeting that the FAA hosted in late August may have been more about what was missing than what actually took place.
The consolidation of the regional airline industry continued unabated last month, as St. George, Utah-based SkyWest revealed plans to acquire Houston-based ExpressJet. The $133 million transaction will involve a direct purchase by SkyWest's Atlanta-based subsidiary, Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA), of all of ExpressJet's common shares for $6.75 each in cash.
UAL Corp.'s United Airlines and Continental Airlines expect their proposed merger to close by October 1, now that companies have cleared the last major hurdle in their bid to create the world's largest airline. On Friday shareholders from both companies approved the transaction by a wide margin, as more than 98 percent of the votes cast by each group went in favor of the merger.
Major airline pilots have long complained about the practice of “outsourcing” flying to lower-cost regional carriers, despite the existence of clauses written into union contracts meant to limit the size and number of regional airplanes those affiliates may fly.
The U.S. Department of Justice has approved the merger of United and Continental Airlines, the carriers announced on Friday. UAL and CAL expect to close the transaction by October 1, assuming their respective stockholders vote to clear the deal next month.
An analysis of the competitive effects of the proposed merger of Continental and United Airlines by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) shows that combining the airlines would eliminate one effective competitor (defined as providing at least 5 percent of traffic between airports) in 1,135 city pairs, affecting almost 35 million passengers.
Houston-based Continental Express regional affiliate ExpressJet congratulated Continental Airlines and United Airlines on their agreement to merge, pending required regulatory approvals. ExpressJet currently operates 244 aircraft, including 206 for Continental as Continental Express and 32 for United as United Express. Based on May flight estimates, ExpressJet’s market share in the combined entity would represent approximately 30 percent.
The regional airline partners of United and Continental Airlines will no doubt face a period of some uncertainty as the major airlines prepare to merge their operations into the world’s largest international airline.
It appears United Airlines' public flirtation with US Airways might have generated the desired effect, as Continental Airlines has finally agreed to merge with UAL two years after Continental spurned United's last proposal to wed. The $3.2 billion merger would result in the biggest airline in the world and leave the U.S. with three major international carriers: the new United, Delta and American Airlines.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes faced fresh questions over its ability to stick to program timelines again last month.