photo courtesy: Wall Street Journal
I always get a kick out of bloviating Senators and this week will feature a doubleheader on Thursday, when the Senate examines the Continental-United merger.
…First up, on Thursday, is a full hearing of the Senate Committee on Science, Commerce and Transportation into "The Financial State of the Airline Industry and the Implications of Consolidation."
Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D., W. Va.) has been an advocate of industry change, supporting, for example, the pending application for antitrust immunity by AMR Corp.’s American Airlines and its partners in the Oneworld global alliance.
Ranking Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison, of Texas, in contrast, has been a long-time opponent of the current and a previous Continental-United deal, citing the impact on consumers and because it would remove an airline headquarters from Houston.
The morning event will be followed in the afternoon when Continental and United executives appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights. That hearing, with the title "How Will Consumers Fare?," will focus on the effects on passengers.
I’m a political junkie so I watch committee hearings often on C-SPAN, but I’ll be paying particular attention to the spin that Smisek and Tilton will put on the merger Thursday afternoon.