United, Continental merger probed

US lawmakers yesterday sought assurances on safety, pensions and job security from executives of United Airlines and Continental Airlines ahead of their merger to create the world’s biggest carrier.

United Airlines Glenn Tilton and his counterpart at Continental Airlines, Jeff Smisek, received a frosty reception from the House of Representatives aviation subcommittee, and faced the sharpest public questioning yet on specifics of the deal. “I will continue to vigorously oppose it,” said Representative James Oberstar, the chairman of the full Transportation Committee who says the deal will harm competition, raise fares and reduce choice for consumers. The US Justice Department is currently reviewing the merger.