United and Continental airlines stockholders voted to approve carriers’ merger on Friday. American and European regulators have already signaled their approval of the $3.2 billion stock swap.
Associate Press reports that the companies expect it will be at least a year before federal authorities approve their request to fly as one airline, which will be called United but painted in Continental’s colors. Continental CEO Jeff Smisek will take up the merged company’s reins.
Smisek hinted at layoffs Friday, saying there will be overlapping jobs, though he didn’t give any numbers.
Even though United and Continental overlap on few routes, “losing a major competitor is likely to make prices rise,” said Rick Seaney of FareCompare.com.
The companies say they compete with low-cost carriers on about three-fourths of their U.S. routes, which will help keep fares down.