US Airways is Open to Mergers, But Nothing is Happening Soon

I spent last week at two of my favorite events – US Airways Media Day and the Phoenix Aviation Symposium. As usual, one or two big headlines will come out of these things, and they’re usually reported incorrectly. This year was no exception. So let’s talk about US Airways and why it won’t actually be merging anytime soon despite some misguided stories.

US Airways Dating Game

Many outlets picked up on the fact that US Airways CEO Doug Parker once again spoke about how the airline believes that eventually the legacy carrier world will come down to three main players – American, Delta, and United. And again, Doug mentioned how US Airways could merge with any of these at some point. That’s not a surprise. He’s been saying this for years. But apparently there’s enough turnover in the people covering the airline industry that some treat this as if it’s actually some kind of news. Take a look at Shira Ovide at the Wall Street Journal, for example:

Doug Parker is flagging he’s more than willing to break out the “for sale” sign on his lawn. It’s also a sign that US Air, which combined with Parker’s then company — America West — more than five years ago, didn’t get the kind of scale it wanted from that deal.

*sigh* That “for sale” sign has been out there for a long time, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has even remotely paid attention to this industry. But the chance of a merger happening anytime soon is slim at best. There simply isn’t a good opportunity for US Airways with any of those three right now.

American
Let’s start with the one that everyone points to . . . American. Since Northwest and Delta linked up as did United and Continental, that means US Airways and American will as well, right? Wrong. It would be a disaster of epic proportions if American tried to merge with US Airways now.

US Airways is never shy about pointing out how it survives as an airline. Its hubs are in less desirable locations than the big three airlines and that means it is able to generate less revenue from them. How does it compensate? It has lower costs than the big three to offset the revenue deficiency. That’s how the math comes together. If American buys US Airways, it buys a route system that doesn’t generate enough revenue to cover American’s costs, but American would naturally bring US Airways costs up to its level. That is bad.

I can only think of two ways this works. One would involve American buying US Airways and running it as a separate airline under a holding company. This would not only be a wasteful distraction for American but it might not work. If the feds decide that the airlines have single carrier status (just as Republic/Frontier/Lynx/Shuttle America/Chautauqua just received) then it would mean a single workforce and costs would start to rise. American would also get little benefit. If it really wanted this kind of benefit, it would be better off just agreeing to a codeshare.

The other way is more plausible. If American continues its downward slide and ends up in bankruptcy, I would look for a US Airways bid just as it did with Delta. Then US Airways could rework American before it took it out of bankruptcy and come out with a highly competitive airline. Right now, this is the only plausible merger scenario I see, but American isn’t going into bankruptcy anytime soon.

Delta
The Delta/Northwest merger went so smoothly that some wonder if the airline could handle another one? I imagine it probably could, if it so chose, but there are too many problems and not enough benefit. Forget about the cost issue and look at the route overlap. The feds are unlikely to allow Delta to control Atlanta and Charlotte – the only two viable hubs in the southeast US. Also, the feds were so concerned about the US Airways/Delta slot swap because it would concentrate power in Washington and New York that they blocked it. Just imagine how concentrated the power would be if the two merged. In addition, Phoenix and Salt Lake would only work to hurt each other in the same airline. This would simply be about eliminating competition and nothing else. I just don’t see it happening now.

United
These guys are so tied up with the Continental merger right now that I can’t imagine them being interested in taking on something further. Besides, how do you think the feds would look at a Newark/Philly/Dulles hubbing situation? And there are a bunch of cities in the west where US Airways and United provide the only two options (e.g. Yuma, San Luis Obispo). There could be plenty of concern in the near term.

But overall, the cost issue is going to be the biggest one for any of these airlines. Does that mean that a merger can’t happen? Of course not. There have been plenty of stupid airline mergers of the years. But the chance of one happening anytime soon is remote, and that’s being optimistic. Down the line, things can always change, so will US Airways be around in 5 years? That one is much harder to predict.


59 Responses to US Airways is Open to Mergers, But Nothing is Happening Soon

  1. dan powers says:

    from APC…funny but true…In related news, US Airways denied they were “acting slutty and willing to go with anyone”.

    “We’re just putting ourselves out there – sure, we had to put on a push-up bra and control top panty-hose, but we’re just as attractive as anyone out there. I think we’re a 9. At least a solid 8. Ok, high 7 but wait until we get into that dark room. We have all sorts of tricks!”

  2. Chris says:

    Atlanta and Charlotte are the only two viable hubs in the southeast? Is Miami not considered viable?

  3. Tim Cailloux says:

    I suspect that Delta will buy Alaska (AS), and probably in the next 2-3 years. Back to your point for a minute: the reason that the DL/NW merger went so well is that Delta did everything it could to make the merger work, before they announced the acquisition. They went so far as to hire the CEO from NW (Richard Anderson). If that wasn’t a clear signal of intentions, I don’t know what more they could do. Delta’s making similar moves with AS today.

    AS has market penetration in Alaska that no other airline can pull off profitably. In some senses, AS operates its East/West route structure to feed its service to Alaska. And the east/west routes are nowhere near as strong as DL’s network. That’s evident by the increased closeness of their partnership. (SLC and SEA are far enough apart that I don’t think it will cannibalize the network, either.)

    DL would operate AS as a wholly-owned subsidiary and maintain the Alaska Airlines brand. There’s a ton of goodwill in the AS brand that would disappear overnight if DL started flying AS’s route structure as “Delta.” Maintaining the two different brands is’t that hard.

    DL knows the 737, giving AS the opportunity to reduce costs by relying on DL’s maintenance infrastructure. (TechOps has always done a fantastic job of maintenance, in my opinion. I think it’s always made money for DL, even when the airline hasn’t.)

    Boeing should be all over this deal, if it happens. It strengthens the DL/AS position with Boeing aircraft and makes it that much harder for DAL to consider the Airbus A320NEO for a fleet replacement program. I’m sure you’ve seen the recent numbers put out by Ascend Worldwide; DAL’s fleet is 16.5 years old (on average), so it’s time to start shopping. Heck, Boeing may give DL a steal on the price of a B737NEO (or whatever they call the next-gen variant) if they tie up with AS.

    I’m sure that there is a playbook for this at Delta HQ in Atlanta, just waiting for the right regulatory environment. The acquisition allows AS to shuffle the fleet around and have DL operate the East/West network while AS strengthens its’ North/South network on the west coast. SEA remains the AS hub in the Lower 48.

    • I think Alaska getting bought by anyone is just a non-starter. For two reasons:
      1. Alaska codeshares with everyone. This gets them a bunch of revenue. As soon as they get bought by Delta the airlines who aren’t in Delta’s network are going to terminate Alaska’s codeshares as fast as possible.
      2. They have the costs issue. Alaska’s costs will rise in this scenario which will make parts of their network unprofitable.

      • Alaska codeshares for passenger volume. They have an uncontested niche and are successful because they remain focused on their market. If DL purchased AS, it grows DL’s topline revenue without cannibalizing the route structure. It’s slightly neutral for AS investors and positive for DL’s.

        DL’s costs are marginally lower than AS’s (excluding fuel and special items). DL’s CASM is 8.52 cents per mile versus 8.80 cents per mile for AS (FY2010 values). But they’re basically neutral.

        However, I think DL probably doesn’t want to go through a new round of labor issues. That is probably a bigger stumbling block than the financials of the acquisition. AS has the ability to contribute to the overall health of the combined company (healthy debt position, positive cash flows from operations, etc.).

      • DL and AS reciprocal upgrade elite members. That could be seen as somewhat of a prelude to merger. Sort of kicking the tires, going out on a couple dates, etc. If we go back in time, DL/CO/NW did reciprocal upgrades and stuff like that. CO only went into UA arms when DL/NW merged. I think if they can make it work separate, they will (DL and AS, that is).

  4. AA could buy US and destroy it like they did AirCal, RenoAir, and TWA. One less carrier to deal with that has a hub between DFW and the western states.

  5. SEAN says:

    The three hubs that US has are not desireable compared to other airline networks.

    1. Phoenix is stuck between Los Angeles, Salte Lake City, Houston & Dallas Fort Worth.
    2. Charlotte is so close to the monster Atlanta, that it cant get out of it’s way.
    3. Philadelphia is litterally being crushed by a two headed giant Washington dC & New york including it’s mini me’s Baltimore & Newark.

    Can you be in a worse compettitive posission then that as far as networks are concerned? And forget about mergers no combonation with the big three would pass muster with the DOJ unless US folded. Then & only then could the route network be apended to another airlines route system.

    • CF says:

      I would argue that the hubs are not ideal for different reasons than what you’ve stated:

      1) Phoenix has huge overlap with Southwest and that makes getting higher local fares difficult.

      2) Charlotte’s location is great, but it’s just not that big in the scheme of things. It’s a clear #2 in the region, but a very distant #2.

      3) Philly is actually not bad. It has a good local market, but again, it’s smaller than the DC and NY areas in terms of generating local traffic.

    • Andrew says:

      Agree with Cranky on Phoenix: hard to raise prices on local traffic, although PHX is a good geographic location for a western hub.

      Not sure what Sean is talking about with CLT; CLT is several hundred miles from ATL, so they aren’t competing for O&D traffic at all; In fact, geographically, CLT is situated almost halfway between DC and ATL, so it’s a perfect hub location…you’re basically equidistant between most east coast destinations…but as Cranky says, the city itself just isn’t nearly as big, so not a ton of O&D traffic.

      As for Philly…it’s the 5th largest city in the country and lots of O&D, so not a bad situation (other than the physical limitations of the airport currently).

      • CF says:

        True that Philly is a very large city (also 8th largest Combined Statistical Area) but it definitely lags NYC and Washington in terms of desirable traffic. New York being the financial capital and Washington being the government capital mean they’re the big prizes in that corridor. But Philly is still a good place to be for sure.

    • James Williams says:

      @Sean, I agree on most points except that Baltimore is a minime of DC. At under 40 miles from airport to airport(DCA – BWI), they are well within the same metro area. For the most part DCA is the int’l hub and BWI is a Southwest hub.

      Southwest already attacked the Philly fortress once. They would do it again.

      @Andrew, I don’t presume to speak for Sean but it is several hundred miles away, indeed. But ATL’s shadow looms large. With the ATL superfortress and all the hub-captives, it’s hard for CLT to compete.

      • Isn’t there a joke in the south about when you die you’ll have to go through Atlanta to get to heaven. The joke is go through Charlotte to get to heaven, so even by locals in the southern states they think of ATL instead of CLT and USAir has been a part of the south/east coast for decades so maybe peoples minds are just geared to ATL and it would be hard to sway them away.

  6. Frank says:

    No one wants to touch this carrier with it’s pilot’s dispute. That’s been ongoing in the courts for several years now. They’re a poster child to: How NOT to merge.

    • CF says:

      I disagree. This would be easy to fix in a merger. The problem now is the fight between the two pilot groups. You get a bigger airline to take over and then the numbers are there to finally resolve this thing. If it’s UA or DL, they go back into ALPA and abide by the original binding arbitration. If it’s AA, the APA guys will make it happen. Either way, USAPA goes away.

      • Frank says:

        Quoted:

        Doug Parker has hung a for sale sign on US Airways’ doorstep in Tempe. He continually tells American, Delta, and United through third party comments that the Tempe-based airline is for sale. In my opinion, because of isolated comments Parker has made in private and in a Crew News session, US Airways’ CEO believes our airline is the most vulnerable network airline who could fail due to a shock event/energy volatility.

        However, because of USAPA’s position on the seniority integration and Change of Control provision I believe it is highly unlikely American, Delta, or United will merge with our company because US Airways and the merged network airline cannot integrate.

    • Frank, its a poster child from the Union’s perspective of how not to merge. From the airline’s perspective it is pretty good. Not having a single union is saving them lots of money every year.

  7. dan powers says:

    the way this could play out = some airlines will have BIG issues with Republic and the scope clauses now that the FEDs have declared the Bryan Bedford group a single carrier…chataqua will be sold to skywest or pinnacle…Lynx only has a few airplanes and will disapear…shuttle america will be divested…and frontier will merge with usair-east…america west…or both

  8. Sanjeev M says:

    Love the pic, Cranky!

    I have for a while said that US Airways-Frontier combo would work if the pilots situation works out. US Airways & Republic have been buddy-buddy for years. PHL + CLT + MKE + DEN/PHX (if they can do both) is not a bad domestic network.

    On a related note, Charlotte is such a strong hub for US, and a beautiful airfield means it suffers few of the problems that ATL has.

    However, it seems that airlines have extracted 99% of the cost savings possible from implementing fees, cutting services and wages. So any subsequent merger is just for market share and connecting flows, not necessarily major efficiencies. This means that airlines are going to have to increase revenues on the ground with much better facilities (enticing people to shop, lounge, duty free, etc.). Better international transfers regulation would help too – just ask BA.

  9. CP says:

    Is there a hidden commentary on MEM as a hub in your articulation of ATL and CLT as the only two “viable” SE hubs?

    • CF says:

      I guess I haven’t talked about that recently. Good catch. With Delta’s decision to cut Memphis by 25 percent, I think the writing is now on the wall. It seemed like they had figured out a way to make Memphis work, but that’s clearly not the case anymore. I’ve been waiting to write about this until I saw the full cuts and what would still be there in the end.

      • CP says:

        I’ve been awaiting your commentary! I’d love to hear more about the specific routes they will cut, too, once that is announced.

        I’ve always wondered how many seats DL is unable to sell nonstop (at higher, last-minute price) out of ATL, where I would suspect there is a fair amount of O&D and business traffic, because they are taken up by connecting travelers.

        It seems that if they get the routes and times right out of MEM, where there is less O&D and business traffic and therefore less of a desire to “hold” seats for higher revenue, it could open up more seats to sell to the non-stop, last-minute traveler out of ATL.

        Then again, maybe ATL has enough capacity to handle both business and leisure, or perhaps the relief is provided by DTW and MSP.

        Fascinating stuff. As a former St. Louisan, I hate to see airports “de-hubbed,” even if I understand it as a business decision — Lambert is depressing, and so is CVG. That said, FedEx’s hub in MEM will at least help.

        • CF says:

          One very important saying in this industry is that you can never have too little capacity. That’s not entirely true depending upon what your competition does, but ultimately, having the inability to serve everyone isn’t a bad thing.

          If Delta is doing this right, then the high dollar, last minute walkup traveler is having seats held for him. The systems should be organized so that an $800 fare from Atlanta and, say a $1000 fare on a connection are treated the same (just using random numbers to illustrate) so that if the demand is there, they’ll take either one. If they’re “selling too soon” and not holding enough seats for that high dollar traveler, they’re screwing up.

          What should happen here is that the higher dollar connecting traffic that’s going over Memphis now will find a home via Atlanta (or other hub). But the cheap stuff that’s filling up the planes will just not go on Delta anymore because the seats won’t be there to accommodate those people. With gas prices rising, that’s a good thing because the flights probably can’t survive on those lower fares anyway.

          I agree – there is nothing worse than seeing an airport after the hub is gone. It’s a very sad state, but it is a business decision so it’s likely to keep happening.

          • CP says:

            Thanks, CF. I always enjoy your insight.

            On a different issue — at the US media day, did they speak to facility issues? PHL is a terrible facility — dirty restrooms, having to take a bus over to F instead of being able to walk, etc.; plus, I know there were some issues at one time about having enough gate space in A to allow for continued international expansion. Just curious.

          • CF says:

            No talk about facility improvements at Philly but a lot of concern about Philly’s multi-billion dollar long term plan. They want to spend something like $3b to build a new runway. The costs would go off the chart at that place.

  10. If I remember correctly, a US exec said specifically that the “for sale” sign was NOT being put out. US simply wants to be ready (i.e. has its house in order) in case something comes up. I found it interesting that they’re not interested in smaller airlines like jetBlue of Alaska, but no mention was made of Republic or Hawaiian. Maybe I’m reading too much into that. I do believe Hawaiian would make an ideal merger partner for US and vice versa. It’s a totally end-to-end combination that would improve both networks. I also like the idea of a merger with Republic (not necessarily Frontier, whose assets could be sold to United or jetBlue). In the latter scenario, US’s lack of presence in “larger markets” could be an asset. It means the mainline (or “branded”) part of the enterprise won’t directly compete with carriers for whom it provides lift. Hawaiian’s interisland service could be kept separate under the HA code and merged into one of Republic’s subsidiaries (Republic Airline).

    What’s the magic with three large legacies, anyway? Is it global alliances? What’s wrong with the idea odf a fourth? US / Hawaiian could be part of a hypothetical Virgin Alliance. It could possibly form a code share partner ship with (should I write it?) Southwest. US and Southwest compete all over the place. That can be an asset, too.

    If US does merge with another large legacy, American seems to be the best fit. Delta is too much of a parallel merger. That’s why I felt Doug Parker made a major mistake going after pre-merger Delta, but that’s water under the bridge. United would be a better fit. Both would create a behemouth that would face much regulatory scrutiny. American is more of the right size and the networks are relatively complimentary. A merger between Delta and US would either have to include an AMR bankruptcy or major concessions by labor on work rules and scope on everyone;s part to pull it off.

    Just my two cents worth, and you got it for nothing. You get what you pay for, huh?

    • Oops! My last paragraph sould read “A merger between American and US” not Delta. That’s what I get for being a windbag.

    • CF says:

      They aren’t aggressively putting a for sale sign out there because they don’t need it to survive at this point. But you can believe that the door is open for talks anytime anyone is interested. There’s no doubt about that.

    • CF says:

      I forgot to respond on the 4th alliance thing. I think the problem is that it’s just too thin to create a truly global network out of a fourth alliance. Despite all the noise, Virgin Group really covers woefully little around the globe. Sure, they have Australia covered well, and if you throw them in with US Airways, they can cover the US to some extent. But Virgin Atlantic only has a few big routes. There’s no good way to cover Europe or Asia for that matter. It doesn’t mean they couldn’t create a fourth alliance, but it does mean that they just won’t have good coverage.

      • Maybe it wasn’t worth responding to? I’m fully aware I could be wrong about my observations. I do think that US / HA will make a good airline (It’s the fastest way for US to enter Asia and an easy way for HA to get a presence on the mainland without being an afterthought); be it as a stand alone or part of a merged American / US Airways if that comes to pass (and no matter who is the acquirer). Again, all of this is just my opinion. I’m sure you’ve forgottem more about the airline industry than I could possibly know as an outsider.

        In reading CAPA’s report on US’s media day today, I got the impression that the airline’s thrust is to make sure it controls its destiny; to be in the position to choose to merge or go it alone on its terms. That’s what I took away.

        There’s no way of telling if US Airways will be around in 5 years. But don’t sell it short. As you know, HP went toe to toe with WN in PHX for years and
        survived. It was (and is in essense) the longest surviving post deregulation start up. That’s quite an accomplishment. It was strong enough (I’m not saying it was strong, just strong enough) to acquire US Airways. And from everything I see and read, the airline is stronger than ever. It’s focused and knows what it is. I’m not sure AMR does.

        If things keep going as they are, I like US’s chances of survival more than AMR’s. But I believe AMR is doing exactly what US did to strengthen itself – go back to its core and build up its operations where it’s strongest. I wish it well.

        The US airline industry is shrinking, as are newspapers. it’s not easy being employed in a shrinking industry. I wish all airline employees the best, but they have to adapt to the real world, not go back to the way it was. That’s true of US and AMR’s people, whether they merge or not.

        • CF says:

          I would agree with the CAPA report summary. US wants to control its own destiny, meaning that it would like to be able to survive as an independent. So far, it seems to be working. But you can tell that the preference is still for a merger at some point. Just making sure that they can stay independent prevents them from being vulnerable to taking a bad deal just to save the airline.

          I do think they can survive on their own over there. I doubt US Airways will be around in 5 years simply because I imagine a merger could get done by then. I don’t think it would be because of liquidation. Then again, who knows what the heck will happen in this goofy industry.

          • I agree. In any event these are interesting times in the airline industry. Maybe all of these mergers will make it a bit less goofy. But then again, the industry will be less interesting (not much) if it gets more rational (in all senses of that term). During the 70’s and 80’s the freight railroad industry was going through the same thing; bankruptcies, mergers, etc. It settled into four major carriers (and a few niche companies) and is now boringly profitable. Warren Buffet got burned on US Airways stock (pre-merger). He just took the entire Burlington Northern Santa Fe private. That speaks volumes.

    • Ken says:

      HA/US makes some bit of sense (much like HP/HA made sense years ago). I have concerns about HA using the A332 to fly the big East coast markets, especially as fuel prices continue to go up. The airlines with big hubs on the East coast don’t even fly that much to the Aloha State with the feed they have. US could provide the feed primarily through PHX but also through their transcons to the West (LAX/SFO/SEA/SAN). HA would provide access to Asia, something that would be very attractive to US.

      Not saying its going to happen, but I think there’s some synergies.

  11. Sean says:

    Is an Alaska & US Airways merger possible? They seem to have relatively complimentary route maps…

    • CF says:

      I would argue this is impossible for one reason: Delta. Both Delta and American get huge network benefit by having Alaska as a partner. Were US Airways to buy Alaska, it stands to reason that those partnerships would be in jeopardy. So any bid for Alaska by US Airways would inevitably result in a more expensive bid by Delta. Once it gets into a bidding war, the US guys are too smart to let ego get involved. It would get too expensive for them quickly. Meanwhile, Delta could justify paying more, because the benefit is so great that it’s worth protecting.

  12. Davester says:

    US Airways + SouthWest = finally getting MetroJet right

  13. Jim says:

    Cranky, this is a very interesting article and I enjoy your perspective.

    I am just wondering why you say that “If American buys US Airways, it buys a route system that doesn’t generate enough revenue to cover American’s costs, but American would naturally bring US Airways costs up to its level.” If US Airways currently has lower costs, why would those costs magically increase just because of a change in ownership? Why could AA not continue to operate US’s routes at current costs?

    • Jim, generally and historically in airline mergers the highest labor rate is the one that is adopted by the merged entity, thus all those US Airways flights that are breakeven or marginally profitable become losers at American’s labor rates.

    • That’s why AMR would need to file for Chapter 11 (or find some other way to lower its labor costs) for a merger with US (or any other network carrier that went through bankruptcy – i.e. any of them) to work. That’s also why a merger is unlikely in the short term. AMR isn’t in a position to have to file for BK in the near future, but it’s closer than anyone else.

    • CF says:

      Labor is one issue for sure – the costs would go up to that higher level of cost at American. But other costs will generally rise as well as the airline gets absorbed into the AA way of doing things. Sure, they can crow about “synergies” and all that, which will have some impact, but the basic cost of operations will settle on the higher level.

  14. Henry says:

    Maybe JetBlue could buy US Airways.

    CF, do you see any impediments?

    • CF says:

      I see a ton of impediments. First of all, the cost structure differences are vast, so that would be a tremendous problem. Also, JetBlue has built a culture and a brand, something that would be killed immediately upon buying a much larger airline like US Airways.

  15. Eric says:

    I do not understand why Parker & Co. are putting capital into their hard and soft products while continuing this ‘take my airline, please’ dance. Is it psyops with the unions? Is he trying to put LCC stock in play? Is it giving into pressure from LCC institutional investors (86%) who want to see some ROI? We all know that PHL, CLT and PHX are not JFK, ATL and LAX…but they are hardly ABE, CHO and YUM…they are viable business centers and (in the CLT/PHX cases) growing metro areas.

    IMHO the only ‘do-able’ merger scenario would involve RAH and F9 in some shape or form…either via a direct investment of one party to another or a spin-off/acquisition. As you and everyone else have settled, AA is a no go, UA/CO has plenty on it plate, DL has it sights set on other projects and AS simply isn’t interest. B6 is testing the waters of becoming the AS of the east with AA and NK is in a market league of its own. HA looks pretty and yea, the route maps overlap but they are doing just fine on their own (now that they have little inter-island competition). Still…HA does not bring much to the US network other than a presence in a very cyclical leisure market (see NK).

    • Brad says:

      I agree with Eric, you can’t really say “someone please buy us” and then give your CapEx a significant bump at the same time. words < actions

      • US would be foolish not to invest in its product. There’s a parallel in the railroad industry, in fact two parallels. They were the Rock Island and Milwaukee Road. Both were heavily involved in mergers. Both relied too heavily on the pending mergers to save them. Neither invested in its infrastructure. When the mergers fell through, both went bankrupt. The Rock Island was liquidated and 2/3rds of it was parcelled out among other carriers. The Milwaukee was purchased by the Soo Line (part of Canadian Pacific and 2/3rds of it was abandoned. Both would have been bought out but they would have been in far better shape and gotten a better price for their investors had they invested in themselves. If you want to be liquidated, don’t invest in your product. If you want to survive, invest.

  16. Brad says:

    setting aside the AA bankruptcy scenario or relaxed foreign ownership restrictions for US airlines, I don’t see how US can continue as a major carrier. I see it putting the majority of its network on the block and merging with whichever carrier matches up best with the remaining entity.

    • CF says:

      I’m not sure why you say that. As long as US continues to have a cost advantage to make up for its revenue disadvantage, then there’s no reason it can’t survive.

  17. It’s funny. Alaska is less than half the size of US, yet very few say the same thing about it. US may not be as large as American but it is a player in the market. It has a rate of return on investment that compares well with other carriers.
    It has a niche market it serves well, just as Alaska and Hawaiian do. US doesn’t have to be broken up as much as some want that to happen. Some base their US hate on a past that hasn’t existed for nearly six years. It doesn’t make sense to me.

  18. Skydragon says:

    I hope USA does merge with Alaska Airlines……and ALPA gets back on property….then they can vote the corrupt USAPA off of the property. Then the fed’s can investagate that whore of a union.

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