Airline chiefs defend merger plans from congressional critics

The CEOs of United Airlines and Continental Airlines faced congressional critics on Wednesday, telling lawmakers their companies' proposed merger was a necessity in today's competitive landscape. Under intense questioning, the executives testified that combining operations would result in a more financially viable company, offering greater job stability without the need to raise fares or reduce capacity. Continental CEO Jeff Smisek noted that, "The merger will provide us with a platform for sustained profitability and position us to succeed in the highly competitive domestic and global aviation industry, a better position than either of us would be in alone, or together in an alliance." United CEO Glenn Tilton said: "The competitive landscape has changed. Our two companies also have to change."

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