Consolidation fever took another step in the US market after Continental Airlines and United Airlines announced plans for their merger on 3 May.

Industry watchers expect more North American airline consolidation moves in the wake of Continental Airlines' success in yanking United Airlines out of the arms of US Airways to forge a merger that would leapfrog Delta Air Lines to become the largest US carrier.

The tie-up would force American Airlines into a distant third place in terms of overall traffic.

United Continental 
"With United and Continental getting together, others are going to have to take action," says Chris Tarry, chief executive of UK-based consultancy CTaira.

For more on the Continental/United merger, check out the following Flightglobal articles and blogs:


Impact on US airports will be mixed in a Continental-United merger

Combined Continental and United fleet could reach 750 by 2014

United and Continental agree stock-swap merger


Continental/United: first, second or third biggest airline in the world

Flightblogger on United and Continental

On the verge of number one


The Airline Business cover interview from November 2009 with Jeff Smisek and Larry Kellner, on guiding Continental's move to the Star Alliance