Continental, United to meet with FAA next week

By Dow Jones Newswires
Posted June 30, 2010 at 5:55 a.m.

Leaders of Continental Airlines Inc. and United Airlines will meet U.S. regulators next week to review the technical aspects of their planned merger.

The airlines said in a filing that they will hold a “kick-off meeting” with the Federal Aviation Administration on July 9 to outline the process for securing a so-called “single operator certificate”, a formal combination targeted for the first quarter of 2012.

Continental said a unit of consultant Oliver Wyman has been hired to help manage the technical program, which includes integrating training and maintenance manuals, as well as operating procedures with United, a unit of UAL Corp.

The airlines have established a number of work groups to oversee the planned merger, with the pursuit of the single certificate led by Continental’s safety staff vice president Don Gunther and Mike Quiello, United’s vice-president of corporate safety and security, quality and environment.

The airlines received the first setback in the merger process last week when efforts to establish a joint transition agreement with pilots foundered. The Air Line Pilots Association said talks had hit an unspecified “roadblock” that concerned “matters that have little financial impact.” The airlines have said joint labor deals are not required for the merger to close, though remain confident they can secure new agreements with employees.

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