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How to get bigger

   Maybe it's because it was leaked over the weekend. Or because they didn't plant a bomb in Times Square or spill a gusher of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
   But the news that United and Continental are merging to form the World's Largest Airline got bumped down the list pretty fast. As of 9 a.m. Tuesday, it wasn't on the front web page of the NYT or the WSJ.United
   It wasn't that a big deal in The Buffalo News today, either. But that's because:
- Linking Continental, United expected to have little local effect - George Pyle/The Buffalo News
   The $3 billion-plus deal between United Airlines and Continental that would create the world’s largest carrier likely won’t cause much of a shake-up in the Buffalo Niagara region.
   Between them, Continental and United constitute a relatively small part of the
daily air traffic in and out of Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Because their Buffalo routes do not overlap, the merger is not expected to have much of an immediate impact here.
- Continental-United merger to get hard look from regulators - Tomoeh Murakami Tse/Washington Post
- Birth of a Behemoth - Jad Mouawad/New York Times
- United, Continental Detail Costs, Savings in Merger - Wall Street Journal [subscribers only]
- Passengers Will Get Short End Of The Pillow - Jill Schlesinger/CBS News
- Continental CEO a risk taker, blunt talker - Deepa Seetharaman/Reuters

   For a merger that was reportedly put together in three weeks, they sure managed to roll out a slick website with all the news they want us to know. That includes a state-by-state breakdown, including this about New York.

   Also today:
- Toys 'R' Us CEO teaches the art of good business - Samantha Maziarz Christmann/The Buffalo News
    Business students at St. Bonaventure University got a lesson in retail strategy Monday when Gerald L. Storch, chairman and chief executive officer of Toys "R" Us, shared the story of how he helped turn around the foundering toy company and build it into the industry juggernaut it is today.
- The future looks good for area factories - Jonathan D. Epstein/The Buffalo News
   A key index that measures manufacturing output in the Buffalo Niagara region increased in April for the fourth straight month and, even better, the pace of the growth accelerated.
- Getting set for success in small business - Matt Glynn/The Buffalo News
    Small-business owners were urged to be realistic and diligent about their ventures during a workshop presented Monday by the Small Business Development Center at Buffalo State College.

   So we won't be able to fly Continental any more:

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News


Hands across the border.

    Wanna talk about U.S.-Canada trade? Have a meeting in an American restaurant with a Canadian spelling [Harry's Harbour Place Grille], where you can actually see Canada over the shoulder of the speaker.
   Such a meeting happened Thursday. Kathryn Friedman, No. 2 at The University at Buffalo Regional Institute, runs a project called The Region's Edge, which looks into issues of trade and other relations across the heavily traveled U.S.-Canada border. She spoke to a lunch organized by the World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara [No, not that world trade center. Ask me some time, and I'll tell you an interesting story about that.] I wrote it up for today's Buffalo News Business Today section:
- UB researcher cites need of leader on issues of cross-border trade
   “It could be an office in a closet with a phone,” . . . “Someone is going to have to take ownership of the issue.” 
   [Or you could spend an early fall day in Bangor talking about the same thing.] 
   Among the other cross-border leadership groups that Friedman said we might learn from, if not exactly copy, are the The Pacific NorthWest Economic Region  and the Cali Baja Bi-National Mega Region which, if nothing else, has a zoomy video.   

   Meanwhile, some new folks are taking some leadership responsibility for the Buffalo Niagara Convention & Visitors Bureau:
- Erie County beefs up tourism dollars
    The budget announcement came at a news conference called to kick off the CVB's Buffalo Ambassador program, which calls on Buffalo boosters to help sell the city as a convention and tourist destination.

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News

Will discount plane tickets get you to travel?

AirTran, which flies out of the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, announced it will sell discounted seats through the middle of the fall, some as low as $39 one-way.

Other airlines quickly matched the fares on the routes where they compete.

The sale prices are in response to the dramatic slowdown in travel. It's Economics 101: raise demand by lowering the price.

But is it different this time? Will people travel, or are they just too frugal?

Will you splurge on a quick getaway?

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