United Continental Holdings

United Continental Holdings
United Continental Holdings
Type Public
Traded as NYSEUAL
Industry Aviation
Predecessor UAL Corporation
Founded October 1, 2010 (2010-10-01)
Chicago, Illinois
Headquarters 77 West Wacker
Chicago Loop
Chicago, Illinois
, U.S.
Area served Worldwide
Key people Glenn F. Tilton (Chairman)
Jeffery A. Smisek (CEO)
Revenue increase US$ 23.229 billion (2010)[1]
Operating income increase US$ 976 million (2010)[1]
Net income increase US$ 253 million (2010)[1]
Total assets increase US$ 39.598 billion (2010)[1]
Total equity increase US$ 1.727 billion (2010)[1]
Employees 86,852 (2010)[1]
Subsidiaries Continental Airlines
United Airlines
Website UnitedContinentalHoldings.com
References: [2]

United Continental Holdings, Inc. (NYSEUAL), is a publicly traded airline holding company, incorporated in Delaware with headquarters in the United Building in Chicago, Illinois.[3] UCH owns and operates United Airlines, Inc. and Continental Airlines, Inc. both of which use the trade name United Airlines. The company is the successor of UAL Corporation, which agreed to change its name to United Continental Holdings in May 2010, when a merger agreement was reached between the airlines. Its stock trades under the UAL symbol. To effect the merger, Continental shareholders received 1.05 shares of UAL stock for each Continental share; at the time of closing, it was estimated that United shareholders owned 55% of the merged entity and Continental shareholders owned 45%.[4] The company or its subsidiary airlines also have several other subsidiaries. United, when it is completely combined, will be the world's largest airline, as measured by revenue passenger miles. United is a founding member of the Star Alliance.[5]

UCH has major operations at Chicago–O'Hare, Cleveland, Denver, Guam, Houston–Intercontinental, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco, Tokyo–Narita and Washington–Dulles. UCH's United Air Lines, Inc. controls several key air rights, including being one of only two American carriers authorized to serve Asia from Tokyo-Narita. Additionally, UCH's United is the largest U.S. carrier to the People’s Republic of China and maintains a large operation throughout Asia.[5]

UCH plans to use Continental's operating certificate and United's repair station certificate. UCH plans to dissolve its Continental Airlines, Inc. subsidiary by the end of 2011 and operate under a single brand name United Air Lines, Inc.


Major subsidiaries

United Building in the Chicago Loop houses the headquarters of United Continental


Early in February 2008, UAL Corporation and Continental Airlines began advanced stages of merger negotiations and were expected to announce their decision in the immediate aftermath of a definitive merger agreement between rival Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines.[6] The timing of the events was notable because Northwest's golden shares in Continental (that gave Northwest veto authority against any merger involving Continental) could be redeemed, freeing Continental to pursue a marriage with United. On April 27, 2008, Continental broke off merger negotiations with United and stated it was going to stand alone.[7] Despite ending merger talks, Continental announced that it will join United in the Star Alliance.[8]

United and US Airways were in advanced merger talks in late April 2008, following the announcement that Continental had broken off talks with United.[9] In June 2008, CEOs of both United Airlines and Continental Airlines signed an alliance pact presaging their eventual merger. The alliance is an agreement to link international networks and share technology and passenger perks. This agreement is basically a "virtual merger" that includes many of the benefits of a merger without the actual costs and restructuring involved. The alliance took effect about a year after Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines completed their merger, as that released Continental from the SkyTeam contract and allowed for the required nine-month notice. Additionally, Continental joined the Star Alliance, as Delta and Northwest merged.[10]

United Airlines was reported to be in serious merger discussion with US Airways in early April 2010. A New York Times report indicated that a deal was close. Union consent was cited as a major hurdle for negotiators to clear.[11] On April 22, 2010, United announced that it would not pursue a merger with US Airways.[12]

The Board of Directors at Continental and United airlines approved a stock-swap deal that would combine them into the world's largest airline on Sunday, May 2, 2010. The airlines publicly announced the deal the next day.[13] The new airline will take on the United Airlines name and be based in United's hometown of Chicago. It will be run by Continental's CEO, Jeff Smisek. UAL's CEO, Glenn Tilton, will be non-executive chairman. The deal will still need final approval from labor unions and antitrust regulators before being allowed to go forward.[14] This would re-unite Walter Varney's airlines, which offspring includes Continental and United.[15]

Both airlines have taken losses in the recession and expect the merger to generate savings of more than $1 billion a year.[16] Combined, they fly to some 370 destinations in 59 countries from their ten hubs,[17] and carry 144 million passengers a year.[16] Combined revenues will be about $29 billion.[18]

In July, the merger of the two airlines was approved by the European Union.[19]

On August 27, 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice approved the $3 billion merger[20] and shareholders of both the companies approved the merger on September 17, 2010.[21][22] On October 1, 2010, UAL Corporation (the parent company of United Airlines) completed its acquisition of Continental Airlines and changed its name to United Continental Holdings, Inc. Although the two airlines remain separate until the operational integration is completed (by mid-2012), as of this day both airlines are corporately controlled by the same leadership.


When United Airlines and Continental Airlines announced their merger in May 2010 they introduced their new corporate branding. It featured the words "United Airlines" in the then-current Continental typeface, and Continental's globe-like logo. United updated their branding once again in August 2010, replacing the words "United Airlines" with the single word UNITED and changing the font to United's traditional upper-case sans-serif font.[23] United's new CEO Jeff Smisek, who previously served as Continental's chairman, helped design the new font, integrating it with the existing Lippincott-designed Continental graphics. He has noted that he has received over 15,000 emails with suggestions for a new livery.[24]

A Continental Airlines Boeing 737-900ER series aircraft (N53442) was the first aircraft to be painted into the new livery for the combined company.

United Continental Holdings also brings its larger airline services to smaller communities via its branding rights and ownership over the Continental Connection, Continental Express, and United Express trademarks. Continental Connection and Continental Express will be consolidated into the United Express marketing and branding as the merger integration moves forward.

As of late 2010, George Gershwin's 1924 "Rhapsody in Blue" will remain as the new United's theme song, the song has since been featured on new safety videos on United and Continental aircraft.

It was announced February 2011 that United aircraft will retain the United P.S.

The first United 747 featuring the new livery was painted in February 2011. Re-painting and branding is said to be "accelerated" beginning mid-2011.[25]

United's new interim advertisement, shown on a print ad on March 1, 2011.

On March 1, 2011, United unveiled an "interim" marketing campaign replacing the previous "It's Time to Fly" campaign, which included fingerpaint ads and television spots created by Fallon. On the same date, United removed the iconic 38-year-old Saul Bass-designed "Tulip" logo from its website and all new advertisements will feature the former Continental globe logo. This new campaign will be used until 2012.[26] The newly released ads adopt the same concept of the former Continental ads which simply express a one-liner. As of now, United has no tagline, but will have a new one in 2012.[citation needed]


The combined airline serves up to 370 destinations, from the 10 hubs listed below. This may be subject to change due to future developments and decisions. Continental and United said that Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport will be the largest hub for the new airline, which is a primary gateway to Latin America.[27] The Chicago-O'Hare, Houston-Bush, and San Francisco hubs have completely rebranded. Hubs at Denver, Cleveland, Newark, Tokyo-Narita, and Washington-Dulles are currently being rebranded in phases. Guam is the only hub airport that have not rebranded.[28]

New United Airlines hubs
Airport Area served Type/region Airline before merger
Flag of Guam.svg Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport Flag of Guam.svg Guam Pacific hub Continental
Flag of Ohio.svg Cleveland Hopkins International Airport Flag of Cleveland, Ohio.svg Cleveland, Ohio Secondary Midwest hub Continental
Flag of Colorado.svg Denver International Airport Flag of Denver, Colorado.svg Denver, Colorado Western hub United
Flag of Texas.svg George Bush Intercontinental Airport Flag of Houston, Texas.svg Houston, Texas Largest hub, primary gateway to Latin America Continental
Flag of California.svg Los Angeles International Airport Flag of Los Angeles, California.svg Los Angeles, California Secondary West Coast hub United
Flag of Japan.svg Narita International Airport PrefSymbol-Tokyo.svg Tokyo, Japan Asian hub United
Flag of New Jersey.svg Newark Liberty International Airport NewarkNJ flag.jpg Newark, New Jersey, New York metropolitan area Primary East Coast hub Continental
Flag of Illinois.svg O'Hare International Airport Municipal Flag of Chicago.svg Chicago, Illinois Second largest hub, primary Midwest hub, United
Flag of California.svg San Francisco International Airport Flag of San Francisco.svg San Francisco, California, San Francisco Bay Area Primary West Coast hub United
Flag of Virginia.svg Washington Dulles International Airport Flag of Virginia.svg Northern Virginia
Flag of Washington, D.C..svg Washington, D.C.
Secondary East Coast hub United


The new United will be the world's second largest airline in terms of fleet size, while Delta remains the largest. The combined airline houses a fleet of 709 aircraft, surpassing American Airlines' 621. There are also 116 aircraft on order, 50 from United, and 66 from Continental. The combined fleet features a mixture of Airbus and Boeing aircraft: Airbus A319s, Airbus A320s, Boeing 737s, Boeing 747s, Boeing 757s, Boeing 767s, and Boeing 777s with orders of Airbus A350s and Boeing 787 Dreamliners.[29]

Aircraft Total Orders Notes Livery
United "Battleship" United "Blue Rising" Continental New United Star Alliance Special
Airbus A319 55 0 11 16 0 28 0 0
Airbus A320-200 97 0 N475UA in painted in United's 85th Anniversary, 1971 "Friend Ship" livery 0 49 0 47 0 1
Airbus A350-900 0 25 Entry into Service: 2016-2019
Replacing: Boeing 747-400
0 0 0 0 0 0
Boeing 737-500 28 0 All have Winglets.
5 Aircraft to Exit service in 2011
0 0 3 25 0 0
Boeing 737-700 36 46 N13720 painted in New-United Star Alliance livery: 737-700 orders can, and are, being converted to other 737NG models 0 0 2 33 1 0
Boeing 737-800 130 2 N26210 painted in New-United Star Alliance livery
N76516 painted in New-United Eco-Skies livery
0 0 33 95 1 1
Boeing 737-900 12 0 0 0 9 3 0 0
Boeing 737-900ER 33 19 N75436 painted in Continental 75th Anniversary livery 0 0 0 32 0 1
Boeing 747-400 23 0 N121UA painted in United Star Alliance Livery
Exit from Service: 2016-2019
Replacement: Airbus A350-900
1 Aircraft to be retired in 2011
0 17 0 5 1 0
Boeing 757-200 134 0 Second Largest operator of 757-200 after Delta Air Lines
N14120 painted in New-United Star Alliance livery.
1 Aircraft to Exit service in 2011
2 53 0 78 1 0
Boeing 757-300 21 0 Largest operator of the Boeing 757-300
Retrofitted with blended winglets
0 0 0 21 0 0
Boeing 767-200ER 8 0 All feature Boeing's signature 777 style interior
Will be the only airline to operate all 3 767ER models. N68155 (Ship 155) first COA
762 to be retired, sent to Phoenix Goodyear on 5/17/11 as COA 9990
1 Aircraft to be retired in 2011
0 0 0 8 0 0
Boeing 767-300ER 35 0 N653UA painted in New-United Star Alliance livery
Will be the only airline to operate all 3 767ER models
To be retrofitted with blended winglets starting in early 2012
Exit from service: 2016-2019
Replacement: Boeing 787-8
6 13 0 15 1 0
Boeing 767-400ER 16 0 N76055 painted in New-United Star Alliance livery
Will be the only airline to operate all 3 767ER models
0 0 0 15 1 0
Boeing 777-200 19 0 0 4 0 15 0 0
Boeing 777-200ER 55 0 N77022 painted in Continental Star Alliance livery
N218UA painted as United Star Alliance livery
N76021 N78017 painted in New-United Star Alliance livery
Largest operator of the 777-200ER.
8 7 0 36 4 0
Boeing 787-8 0 36 Entry into Service: First quarter of 2012
Replacing Boeing 767-200ER & Boeing 767-300ER
0 0 0 0 0 0
Boeing 787-9 0 14 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 702 142 27 159 47 456 10 3

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f "2010 Form 10-K, United Continental Holdings". United States Securities and Exchange Commission. http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/100517/000119312511042335/d10k.htm. 
  2. ^ "United Fact Sheet"
  3. ^ "Board of Directors." United Continental Holdings. Retrieved on October 3, 2010.
  4. ^ "United Continental Holdings, Inc. - Investor Relations - News". Ir.unitedcontinentalholdings.com. http://ir.unitedcontinentalholdings.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=83680&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1478014&highlight=. Retrieved 2011-02-12. 
  5. ^ a b http://www.unitedcontinentalmerger.com/press-release
  6. ^ United stands ready to merge – chicagotribune.com
  7. ^ "Continental Abandons Merger Talks With United". The New York Times. April 28, 2008. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/28/business/28air.html. Retrieved May 26, 2010. 
  8. ^ Continental Airlines
  9. ^ 'http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24352806/'
  10. ^ Johnsson, Julie (2008-06-20). "United, Continental join forces". Chicago Tribune. http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-fri-united-alliance-uaua-caljun20,0,3619794.story. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  11. ^ "United and US Airways Said to be in Merger Talks". New York Times. 2010-04-07. http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/united-and-us-airways-hold-merger-talks/?ref=business. Retrieved 2010-04-07. 
  12. ^ Reed, Dan (2010-04-22). "Irked US Airways ends merger talks with United". Usatoday.Com. http://www.usatoday.com/MONEY/usaedition/2010-04-22-us-airways-ends-merger-talks-united-airlines_NU.htm?csp=34. Retrieved 2010-05-03. 
  13. ^ Press Release. "Press Release | Let's Fly Together". Unitedcontinentalmerger.com. http://www.unitedcontinentalmerger.com/press-release. Retrieved 2010-05-03. [dead link]
  14. ^ Continental and United Reportedly Approve Deal to Combine
  15. ^ "Love is in the air". The Economist. May 6, 2010. http://www.economist.com/node/16064180. 
  16. ^ a b "United and Continental Airlines to merge". BBC News. 3 May 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/10095080.stm. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  17. ^ http://www.unitedcontinentalmerger.com/worlds-most-comprehensive-network
  18. ^ "United, Continental create world's biggest airlin". The Sydney Morning Herald. May 4, 2010. http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-world/united-continental-create-worlds-biggest-airline-20100503-u39b.html. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  19. ^ http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iLtBZzKBc8HAtWTZlIMlpoajQZnQD9H7ILIO0
  20. ^ Mouawad, Jad (August 27, 2010). "United-Continental Merger Clears Federal Hurdle". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/28/business/28air.html?hp. 
  21. ^ http://ir.united.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=83680&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1472600&highlight=
  22. ^ http://www.continental.com/web/en-US/apps/vendors/default.aspx?i=http%3A%2F%2Fphx.corporate-ir.net%2Fphoenix.zhtml%3Fc%3D85779%26p%3Dirol-newsArticle%26ID%3D1472570
  23. ^ Posted Aug 12th 2010 05:13 PM (2010-08-12). "United, Continental Show Off New Livery - AOL Travel News". News.travel.aol.com. http://news.travel.aol.com/2010/08/12/united-continental-show-off-new-livery/. Retrieved 2011-02-12. 
  24. ^ Brookson, Ben. "Here's what United's CEO thinks of the carrier's new livery - Flight International". Flightglobal.com. http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/flight-international/2010/12/heres-what-uniteds-ceo-thinks.html. Retrieved 2011-02-12. 
  25. ^ Boeing 747 Debuts in New United Livery United Continental Holdings PR, 24 Feb 2011
  26. ^ "United Airlines launches new campaign from Kaplan Thaler/New York". Chicago Sun-Times. http://blogs.suntimes.com/media/2011/03/united_airlines_launches_new_c.html. 
  27. ^ United Continental Holdings. "Cleveland Hopkins to remain a hub after Continental-United merger - at least for now". cleveland.com. http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2010/05/continental_and_united_announc.html. Retrieved 2011-02-12. 
  28. ^ http://www.continental.com/CMS/en-US/travel/Pages/airportupdates.aspx
  29. ^ Numbers and types of aircraft, as of December 31, 2010, are in the 10K annual report, availbale on the United-Continental corporate website

External links

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