United Airlines parent UAL Corp. and Continental Airlines Inc. completed their $3.47 billion all- stock merger, forming the world’s largest carrier and clearing the way to begin combining operations.
The carriers are now wholly owned subsidiaries of United Continental Holdings Inc., the Chicago-based company said in a statement. United Continental’s shares rose $1.09, or 4.6 percent, to $24.75 at 9:33 a.m. on their first day of New York Stock Exchange composite trading, under the symbol UAL.
Passengers won’t notice immediate changes, as the companies will fly separately until U.S. regulators give them permission to operate as one airline. Adding more business travelers is key to growth, said former Continental Chief Executive Officer Jeff Smisek, who will continue to run the merged company.