United Airlines is jettisoning merger partner Continental from its parent company’s formal name, saying the change will “show the world we’re truly a united United” almost a decade after a rocky tie-up that combined the two carriers.
United Continental Holdings Inc. became United Airlines Holdings Inc., effective after the close of New York trading, the No. 2 U.S. carrier said in a regulatory filing Thursday. The company will continue trading under the UAL ticker.
What’s in a name? In the early years of the troubled 2010 merger, employee rancor led to numerous cases in which flight attendants told passengers in cabin announcements that they had a Continental or United crew. The airline also struggled to merge pilot seniority lists, issue a single uniform for some employees and achieve single labor contracts for several merged work groups.
“The name change reflects our desire to move our airline forward,” Chicago-based United told employees in a memo. “The change marks another step on our journey of showing, not just investors but the world, that we’re one team and are singularly focused on becoming the best airline for our employees, customers and everyone we serve.”
The airline dropped Continental’s brand from its planes after the combination, but the moniker lived on in United’s holding company. Following the tie-up, much of the carrier’s senior management hailed from the former Continental.
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