First major signs of the United – Continental merger: 500 jobs lost in Houston

We’ll file this piece of news under “quelle surprise” – now United Airlines and Continental Airlines are working hard to merge their companies, the first victims will be found at the Houston based headquarters of Continental.

Within the management and clerical ranks, 500 people will soon be without a job. The firings begin in April, and will continue through June 30. Workers will leave with a severance package and subsidized health care benefits.

Since both airlines are about the same size, it is a tricky task to figure out where the various departments will be headquartered, so this loss of jobs is most likely only the beginning.

The new airline does not expect any job losses in frontline staff positions such as pilots, gate agents or anyone that works at the airport.

There is some other good news too – despite the loss of 500 jobs, the Texas Workforce Commission expects a net gain in jobs once the merger is complete, as George Bush Intercontinental Airport will be one of the largest hubs for the new airline. Later this year, United Airlines expects to announce its first major round of job cuts.

[Photo: Getty Images]