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Jerry Costello

Airline dominos?

Continental Airlines Inc. and UAL Corp.'s United Airlines gave strong signals yesterday that they would consider a merger, either together or with someone else, raising the prospects for another big airline deal.

A combination of the two carriers would create an even larger airline behemoth than Monday's proposed merger of Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines and could drastically alter the competitive landscape.

In the end, the industry shakeout could mean substantially higher air fares leading to more people staying home, some aviation experts believe.

With industry consolidation and the recent demise of three discount carriers, "You have a perfect storm of...