If United Airlines merges with US Airways while maintaining an immunized partnership with Continental Airlines, analysts say the result would be an aviation giant almost 50% larger than Delta Air Lines, currently the world's biggest. Some experts believe Continental favors such an arrangement over a full merger. "In 2008, Continental decided it was better to get 85% of the benefits of merger by joining in a partnership with United ... (than to) deal with all the labor issues and fleet issues and integration issues that would have come with" a full merger, says airline analyst Hubert Horan, who helped engineer the Northwest-KLM alliance in the 1990s. "Nothing's changed."
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