Even after a failed merger attempt two years ago, Continental Airlines always knew that United Airlines was "the right partner," though it took some competition from US Airways before the No. 3 and No. 4 carriers would agree to a tie-up. "The stars were aligned," Continental CEO Jeff Smisek said. "This is a match made in heaven." Smisek said he learned of the United-US Airways discussions in the news media and called United CEO Glenn Tilton at his weekend home in New Mexico. Tilton insisted the US Airways talks were conducted in good faith, but Continental's approach was hard to ignore. "At the end of the day, industrial logic and the telling proposition we have presented to the marketplace today trumps work you may have under way," he said.

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