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United, Continental also in merger mix

The merry-go-round of airline merger buzz continues. Where it will end, no one knows. But here’s one theory: Continental may be looking for a merger partner of its own, and United may counter US Airways’ bid to take over Delta, or just opt to go after Northwest.

A Reuters report notes that Continental shares have rocketed up by eight percent on rumors that the airline may welcome a takeover bid by Northwest.

“What opportunities they’re going to be looking at, I tend to think they’re going to look at them through the lens of Continental first,” Reuters quotes Stuart Klaskin of KKC Aviation Consulting. The report further notes that Continental has made it known it “would consider a merger, if necessary, in order to remain competitive.”

Meanwhile, United plans to hold an analyst meeting today and is considered the most likely to throw its hat in the merger ring as well.

So what’s it all mean? Same as yesterday: wait and see. In the meantime, there’s absolutely no reason to be apprehensive about purchasing tickets on any of these airlines—any merger, even one likely to shed one airline’s routes or airport gates, is a long way from becoming a consumer-facing issue in terms of ticketing confusion or otherwise. So don’t sweat it right now, even as the merger whispers get louder.

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