31 May 2008

Continental Two Step?

So UAL's United Airlines having jilted its fellow Star Alliance Partner US Airways is not promoting a deal with Continental as the wave of the future.

Having been the "rebuffer" already in merger talks in April, CO would be very unwise to hook up with the rather long in the tooth Chicago based carrier in an alliance partnership. Its fellow Texan, AMR corp is very keen to have Texas a solid OneWorld Alliance market.

For those of you who have not been following the Forsythe Epic Saga of Airlines - here is a recap of CO's position.

Rejected United on April 26th. Recovered its Golden Share back from Northwest (even if the Delwest marriage doesn't go through). Has danced with AMR for a partnership and entry into the OneWorld Alliance. Is constrained until 2010 from leaving its current alliance Skyteam unless Delwest does go through then it can leave 9 months after that formal Union takes place. CO is not a party to the 6 way Skyteam Anti-trust immunity (AF-KL-CS-AZ-NW-DL).

CO is therefore every-one's favorite gal to sleep with but she is playing hard to get. The only one, the two time visitor to Chapter 11 has not slept with at this point is the sole other US airline still standing who also has taken two visits to the Chapter 11 courthouse - US Airways. (Aloha doesn't count anymore as it is no longer offering passenger service).

So decisions decisions. Perhaps there is a possibility of a happy arrangement where there is regular fraternization with more than one player. A Texas Two-Step with AMR and a Pas De Deux with United? Perhaps even CO can take a leaf out of Alaska Airlines playbook where lots of players get to sleep with the Eskimo. Domestically that means CO-NW-AA-DL and HA. Internationally a further few with CX-QF-LN-KL-BA and AF are all partners.

Boy this is getting more complicated than SOAP.

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