United, Continental discuss potential merger, source says

Continental Airlines and United Airlines' parent UAL Corp. are holding preliminary conversations about a possible merger, according to an unnamed source. The negotiations could derail United's reported merger talks with US Airways. A merger between Continental and United would form the largest airline in the world. "The stars have lined up -- market sentiment is favorable, industry conditions are favorable, regulatory conditions are much more favorable," said Vicki Bryan, a debt analyst. "Both companies have definitely acted as if they agree they are a good match." Meanwhile, on Tuesday a pilots group requested the U.S. Appeals Court in San Francisco to grant a stay to shelve its ongoing legal dispute over seniority rights; a move that makes some analysts believe that a United-US Airways deal is back on the table.

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