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The head of Continental Airlines Inc. (CAL) said all but a handful of job cuts from its planned merger with the parent of United Airlines would happen after March 31, 2011.
Jeff Smisek, Continental's chairman and CEO, also said in a message to staff that he was close to naming the senior officers for the merged airline, with a deal expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.
Continental and United, a unit of UAL Corp. (UAUA) haven't detailed the level of job losses they foresee despite intense scrutiny from some lawmakers who oppose the combination. Smisek will lead the merged carrier as CEO, and assume the chairmanship in 2012.
Smisek said in an email to staff that the only cuts before next March would be from the ranks of senior executives, with the timing of other losses dependant on the final integration plan and spread through 2011 and 2012.
The process for selecting management and clerical staff is expected to be announced in the fall, said Smisek in an email to staff circulated Friday. The message said the "talent selection process" for groups such as aircraft operations will likely extend into 2012.
-By Doug Cameron, Dow Jones Newswires; 312-731-6910; email@example.com