United and Continental have officially voted to merge, which won't suck for Chicago:
The new United's operations headquarters will be located in Chicago's Willis Tower, which was formerly known as the Sears Tower. United will move forward with plans to place its crucial nerve center and 2,800 staffers in the skyscraper starting in October.
The combined airline would have revenues of $29 billion, based on 2009 results, and hold an unrestricted cash balance of about $7.4 billion. The carriers said in a press release Monday that they expect to complete the transaction in the fourth quarter of 2010.
Unlike the earlier merger that United had contemplated with US Airways, this deal isn't expected to involve large-scale cuts since United's and Continental's networks have little overlap. The carriers expect to continue serving the 370 cities where United or Continental currently fly, and will operate 10 hubs, including bases in the four largest cities in the U.S.
(The photo above shows the new color scheme on a Boeing 787, of which Continental has ordered 25 and United has ordered none, as of November.)
American and USAirways will have to merge, really. Or USAirways will have to join oneworld. That will leave three major international airlines in the U.S., which won't do a lot to help prices.