United-Continental Shareholders Approve Merger Deal

Shareholders of United and Continental airlines voted to approve a merger that would create the world's biggest airline.

The companies say they expect the $3 billion stock swap to close Oct. 1. Regulators in the U.S. and Europe have already given the deal a green light.

The vote for the merger topped 98 percent at both companies, reports The Associated Press. Ballots were cast at separate meetings in Houston and Chicago.

United owns 55 percent of the new company, to be called United Continental Holdings.

The company, based in Chicago, will overtake Delta Air Lines as the world's biggest airline.

The carriers recently unveiled a new combined livery design. Now heavy work begins in merging workforces, fleets and reservation systems. There were already hints that layoffs will occur as the workforces of the two carriers combine.

Pending is a lawsuit seeking to block the deal, filed by several dozen passengers who claim the merger will lead to fewer flight options and higher fares.

Photo, United-Continental airlines
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