Although it’s still pretty unlikely, United would consider dropping out of the Star Alliance if it was necessary to complete a merger, according to this article.
United also would consider withdrawing from the Star Alliance, the
global marketing consortium it co-founded, if needed to close a deal.
"You can assume that absolutely everything goes into the mix of
consideration," (CEO Glenn) Tilton said.
I guess they’re serious.
Other changes are already happening, with the airline announcing plans to sell off its Mileage Plus program, as well as a maintenance base at San Francisco.
They announced yesterday that they would cut about 4% of domestic capacity, while Delta also announced about a 5% drop in domestic capacity for 2008 (while at the same time increasing international flights, where they already do 1/3 of their flying).
The shrinkage in the number of available seats domestically will be a (the?) big story for the year, as airlines try to figure out the correct mix of flying. Remember — too little domestic capacity and you’re not feeding enough traffic to your hubs, which leads to fewer international passengers. It’s an enormously tricky balance, and one that will lead to higher fares for consumers. At least until a lowfare carrier sees an opportunity in these now thinner routes with high fares. An AirTran (or whoever) will jump in, lower fares and increase the number of flights. Which will, of course, be met be the incumbent with lower fares and more flights, which will cause them to lose money. Rinse. Repeat.