The proposed United Airlines and Continental merger moved closer to becoming a reality on Friday as the Justice Department revealed it no longer has anti-trust concerns related to the deal that would result in creating the world’s largest airline.
The Justice Department said the two airlines overlap on only a limited number of routes with Newark (N.J.) Liberty International Airport posing the biggest overlap.
The two airlines agreed to lease takeoff and landing slots in Newark to rival Southwest Airlines, a move Justice Department representatives said clears up lingering competitive concerns.
The merger now rests in the hands of shareholders at Continental Airlines Inc. and United parent UAL Corp., who are now ready to vote on the move on Sept. 17.
The enlarged airline would create eight hubs domestically: Cleveland, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Newark and Washington’s Dulles International Airport.
Both airlines have promised not to raise airfare prices or reduce capacity to meet their targeted annual revenue.