Two of the country’s biggest airlines, Continental Airlines and United Airlines, have announced their intentions to merge, effectively becoming the largest airline. The announcement comes after talk between the two companies ended on the issue came to a standstill in April of 2008. Employees and customers to both airlines have responded with mixed feelings. Some worry that the merger might create problems for Texan residents that are accustomed to having an airline based in Houston. Under the new merger, Continental would move its operations to Chicago. Fear continues to surge among current employees for both airlines that layoffs might be on the horizon. Neither of the companies have yet to indicate that they will be letting go of personnel.
Airlines at home and abroad have been battered by the economic conditions due to a declining demand for air travel. Some national airlines like JetBlue have managed to get passengers back to the terminals by offering heavily discounted rates on plane tickets. Foreign airlines like Lufthansa have also had to deal with contract disputes with employees, causing walkouts that translated to millions of dollars worth of losses. The most recent event to impact air travel was the eruption of an Icelandic volcano that sent a plume of smoke into the atmosphere, stalling air travel for several days.