United and Continental May Be Next to Merge

Delta-Northwest deal likely to spark more consolidation
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2008 4:11 AM CDT
Delta Airlines, Northwest Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines signs are posted at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Monday, April 14, 2008.    (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
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(Newser) – The Delta-Northwest merger will create the world's biggest airline—but that title could fall before the ink is even dry on the deal as industry pressures force other carriers into shotgun weddings, the Houston Chronicle reports. Analysts believe United and Continental would be a good match and a deal between the two is widely expected, possibly in a matter of weeks.

The creation of the merged airline behemoths, triggered by record fuel prices, will change the face of the industry, attracting close attention from antitrust regulators and leaving American Airlines, currently the biggest US carrier, slipping down the rankings. "American is like the last one at the dance," said an industry expert. It "might hook up with a smaller carrier."