United Continental’s board of directors consists of six members each from the two airlines, Glenn Tilton, the former chairman and CEO of the United, Jeff Smisek, the former CEO of Continental and two union representatives.
“This is a true merger of equals, bringing together two strong companies and positioning us to succeed in a dynamic and highly competitive global aviation industry,” Tilton said in a statement. “This sets us on a path to create the world's leading airline from a position of strength, with one of the industry's best cash positions, industry-leading revenues and a competitive cost structure.”
While now a merged company, both companies will continue to act independently for several more months. Customers will continue to use the ticketing, customer service and rewards services for each respective airline. Airline officials expect a merged airline, which will be known as United, to emerge in 12 to 18 months.
The merger of United and Continental is the latest in a long trend of consolidation within the legacy carrier airlines. United Continental is now the world’s second-largest airline behind Delta (NYSE:DAL) and ahead of America Airlines (NYSE:AMR).
The new United has about $9 billion of unrestricted cash and expects the combined company would have pro-forma revenues of around $31.4 billion, based on results for the 12 months ended June 30.
Shares of United rose 3% to $24.38 on Friday on its first day of public trading.