European Commission OKs United-Continental Merger

In an indication of how quickly the United-Continental merger is moving, the European Commission this week gave its approval to the $3 billion acquisition, saying they found minimum overlap on trans-Atlantic routes flown by the two carriers.

The “unconditional clearance” from European Union regulators is not a pre-condition for approval in the U.S., where the deal is under review by U.S. Justice Department officials and must also be approved by shareholders of both carriers.

Additional merger-related news this week included an announcement of the senior management team for the combined carrier, which would include Continental’s Jeffery Smisek as President and CEO and United’s Chief Administrative Officer Peter McDonald as chief operations officer. United’s current Chairman and CEO Glenn Tilton, will serve as non-executive chairman.

Of Continental’s current management team, CFO Zane Rowe will continue to serve in that role, while Mike Bonds, Continental’s senior VP for human resources and labor relations, will head these departments at the combined carrier.

The IAM continues to meet with representatives from both airlines to ensure members’ jobs, contracts and pension benefits are fully respected as the merger moves forward.