Dozens of reporters stood cheek to cheek inside Houston Mayor Annise Parker's stuffy press room Monday afternoon seemingly waiting with bated breathe to hear what she would say about today's announced merger between Continental and United.
But in truth, there wasn't a whole hell of a lot she could say. In today's America, barring some sort of pesky federal antitrust interference, corporations rule the roost and pretty much do what they please. And in this case, that appears to mean firing a bunch of well-paid corporate suits and moving the airline's headquarters to Chicago.
Yes, Parker and the City say they will fight to keep as many jobs as possible, but the overall tone Monday afternoon was forced optimism with a dash of resignation.
"Our pride has been nicked a little bit that the headquarters will be in Chicago," said Parker. However, "We are excited about the opportunities to grow the Houston airport system."
Parker said that Houston will the gateway to Latin and South America as the biggest hub for the new carrier, which stands to be the largest in the world if both shareholders and the feds give the deal a thumbs up. Executives hope the deal is completed by the end of this calendar year.
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