20091027 continental united 18
Continental Airlines and United airlines planes at San Francisco International airport in San Francisco, Calif. - 


BILL RADKE: Today we'll learn the result of a shareholder vote
on the merger of United and Continental Airlines. The deal would create the world's largest airline.

Chicago Public Radio's Tony Arnold looks at what it means for the airline industry and passengers.

TONY ARNOLD: Mergers have become the name of the game in the wild blue yonder. First there was U.S. Airways-America West. Then Delta-Northwest. Now -- the mother of all mergers -- United and Continental.

Joe Schwieterman is an aviation expert at DePaul University. He says all the consolidation is a sign there isn't much natural growth left in the airline industry.

JOE SCHWIETERMAN: We're in kind of a new era now where the growth is not being driven by announcements and new services, it's by combining.

But Schwieterman says all that combining means fewer players and less competition. And passengers should expect to be digging deeper into their pockets.

SCHWIETERMAN: No question there's going to be some upward price pressure, especially for business travelers.

There will still be some odds and ends to work out with the FAA and the Department of Transportation. Schwieterman says that could take up to a year.

In Chicago, I'm Tony Arnold for Marketplace.