United Airlines - Predecessors

Predecessors

United Airlines is a combination of a number of air carriers that merged with each other over the past 80+ years with the most recent merger concerning Continental Airlines (which had previously merged with or acquired several airlines during its history) thus reflecting changes in focus of both United and the U.S. air transport market.

Predecessor air carriers that form the present United Airlines include:

  • Boeing Air Transport (formed in 1927, merged into United Airlines in 1931)
  • Capital Airlines (formed in 1936, merged into United Airlines in 1961)
  • Continental Airlines (formed in 1934, merged into United Airlines in 2010)
    • Air Micronesia (formed in 1968 as a division of Continental Airlines, later became Continental Micronesia and merged into United Airlines in 2010)
    • Pioneer Airlines (formed in 1939, merged into Continental Airlines in 1955)
    • Texas International Airlines (formed in 1944 as Trans-Texas Airways (TTa), Texas International was merged into Continental Airlines in 1982)
    • People Express Airlines (PEOPLExpress) (formed in 1981, merged into Continental Airlines in 1987)
      • Frontier Airlines (formed in 1950, merged into People Express Airlines in 1986)
        • Arizona Airways (formed in 1942, merged into Frontier Airlines in 1950)
        • Central Airlines (formed in 1949, merged into Frontier Airlines in 1967)
        • Challenger Airlines (formed in 1941, merged into Frontier Airlines in 1950)
        • Monarch Airlines (formed in 1946, merged into Frontier Airlines in 1950)
    • New York Air (formed in 1980, merged into Continental Airlines in 1987)
  • National Air Transport (formed in 1925, merged into United Airlines in 1931)
  • Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) (Formed in 1927, Pacific Division acquired by and merged into United in 1985, London Heathrow international traffic rights acquired by and merged into United in 1990. Pan Am was later forced to declare bankruptcy in 1991)
  • Pacific Air Transport (formed in 1926, merged into United Airlines in 1931)
  • Varney Air Lines (formed in 1926, merged into United Airlines in 1931)

The majority of these acquisitions and mergers were accomplished by Continental Airlines when this carrier was under the ownership and control of Texas Air Corporation from 1982 to 1987. During that time period, New York Air and Texas International Airlines (which were already owned by Texas Air Corporation before this company acquired Continental) were merged into Continental. Texas Air Corporation subsequently acquired PEOPLExpress Airlines (which had previously acquired Frontier Airlines) and then folded these air carriers into Continental as well. As for United, before merging with Continental it had acquired Capital Airlines in the 1960s and had also purchased Pan Am's Pacific Division as well as Pan Am's transatlantic route rights into London Heathrow Airport (LHR) during the 1980s.

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