Union representatives of pilots from Continental Airlines and United Airlines fired a warning shot to the carriers” management as rumours of more mergers circulated following the Delta-Northwest deal.
A statement from the Air Line Pilots Association (Alpa) gave stark warning regarding where members of both airlines stand on the subject ” ”If a merger benefits airline executives, Wall Street financial groups and legal firms at the expense of pilots and the flying public, we will use all lawful means necessary to ensure the transaction is unsuccessful.
”The management teams of United and Continental must understand one hard fact: the pilots of our respective airlines will not allow any merger unless management meets or exceeds our demands to be treated fairly and equitably.
Continental hinted in its own statement yesterday that change may be on the cards following the Delta merger. It said its preference had been to remain independent ”as long as the competitive landscape remained the same” - but that is had now shifted.
”We will review our strategic alternatives and make sure we remain a strong long-term competitor,” read its statement, adding: ”We will review our continued participation in the alliance with Northwest, Delta and SkyTeam, as we evaluate what course of action would be in Continental”s best interest.”
Despite considering the ”alternatives,” Continental said it still has ”great strengths ” our newly acquired access to Heathrow improves our standing in the transatlantic sector.”
And it pointed out the Delta/Northwest transaction is still subject to regulatory approval that ”will likely take at least six months,” in which time both must continue to operate at arm”s length as independent companies.
Meanwhile the current largest US carrier ” American ” has said it does not need to merge to stay competitive, although it isn”t closing the door on the idea.