Air- Merger talk intensifies for US Airways and American –

Posted: January 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

Jan. 6, 2013

US Airways Group Inc. and American Airlines are hurtling down a path toward a potential merger, with American’s board scheduled to meet Wednesday and likely to consider creating the world’s largest carrier – or remaining independent.Expectations are high, but American chief executive officer Tom Horton told employees Thursday that the company would decide “within a matter of weeks.”Union leaders of American’s pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, and ground workers are firmly behind the merger and want US Airways CEO Doug Parker at the helm.

US Airways pilots also are in favor, but want certain protections for flights and aircraft.

AMR Corp., American’s parent, has until March 11 to come up with an independent reorganization plan to emerge from bankruptcy, which it entered in 2011. Horton and his team stand to gain millions in company shares and other compensation if American exits bankruptcy a stand-alone – and later buys US Airways or another carrier.

“Time is of the essence, but AMR runs the clock,” said aviation consultant Robert W. Mann, “and I think they will run the clock as long as they have the clock in their hands.”

Momentum picked up over the holidays with signals that a merger should occur, airline analyst Hunter Keay, of Wolfe Trahan & Co., wrote Friday in a client note.

The union leadership for American pilots voted 11-5 on Dec. 29 to approve a transitional labor agreement until a joint contract for American and US Airways pilots was negotiated.

The proposal is being considered by management at both airlines and also by US Airways pilots, whose board voted unanimously Friday to recommend it to members for ratification. If the merger happens, the union said, the framework for a labor accord “is the quickest and surest path to a better lifestyle for all of us.”


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