Rather than be an analyst regarding the United Airlines & Continental Airlines merger, and address United Airlines’ failed merger talks with US Airways in an attempt to draw Continental Airlines into merger talks; the fluctuating stock values of both airlines; fleet commonality issues; the incompatibility between fleet engine types, the Department of Justice approval process … and the impact to passengers … I’d like to focus on the branding of the combined United Airlines – Continental Airlines.
The combined airline will utilize the United Airlines name, yet strangely the aircraft will adopt the Continental Airlines livery.
While United Airlines and Continental Airlines are calling this a “merger of equals” the use of the Continental Airlines paint scheme, blue tail with gold globe and lettering fonts with the word “United” is a poor choice.
Why is the combining of the United Airlines name and Continental Airlines branding a poor choice? Because it is confusing to passengers. If the two airlines are to merge and create one new brand existence under the United Airlines name the company should develop an entirely new branding scheme.
As customers become further aware of the merging of Continental Airlines with United Airlines the focus should allow for the history of both airlines to be present, but the emphasis should be on the creation of the new airline and what that new airline offers passengers. Continental Airlines is soon to be extinct and holding onto the Continental Airlines paint scheme on planes and the ‘Golden Globe” in a sea of blue is a mistake.
Airlines change branding and aircraft liveries every few years for marketing purposes (with limited exceptions, such as American Airlines‘ distinctive look of its aircraft), and the soon to be “New United Airlines” needs to create a new brand identity.
The “New United Airlines” will become the largest airline on the planet, with substantial service throughout North America, Europe, South America, Asia and the Pacific, and mixing and matching of airline branding, holding onto one airline’s name and the branding of the other airline does not instill a sense of moving forward and an eye on the future. In fact, mixing and matching of the airline brands seems more like a clash of corporate culture and a battle for internal dominance before the merger is even legally allowed to proceed.
So, as a traveler who has flown with both United Airlines and Continental Airlines extensively throughout he United States and crossed both the Atlantic and the Pacific with both airlines I’d like to say the following…
… congratulations … and please go back to the drawing board and choose a better branding scheme. Might I suggest “Varney Airways”?
Before you laugh at the Varney Airways suggestion, both airlines share the same founder. Water T. Varney. Varney founded Varney Air Lines in 1926, which would become United Airlines and later founded Varney Speed Lines in 1931, which would later become Continental Airlines.
I look forward to flying with the New United Airlines … just as soon as they decide on a better aircraft livery.
Below is a graphic of the New United Airlines aircraft livery.