Published on Tuesday, October 10, 2006

US airlines looking seriously at consolidation

US airline consolidation has gotten to be a hotter topic than ever, with Continental Airlines considered the most attractive merger partner, according to news reports.

“But bankrupt Northwest Airlines would determine if Continental plays a role in future industry consolidation under a long-standing pact between the two carriers,” said Reuters.

The report said the airline industry is ripe for mergers because of the constant overcapacity that has led to often brutal fare wars.

“A long-predicted wave of airline mergers might finally commence in the months ahead…as the major carriers position themselves to survive and grow,” said

“Delta and Northwest are finalizing their bankruptcy reorganization plans. This is the infection point historically when many airlines have concluded that a merger partner would be their optimal strategy,” said Susan Donofrio, an airline analyst for Cathay Financial in a recent report.

American and Southwest Airlines are not likely to be swept up in a consolidation. But reports cited the possibility of United, Delta and Northwest combining in some way.

United’s long-time head Glenn Tilton has said recently that consolidation is needed to again make US airlines profitable.

US Airways CEO Doug Parker has approached Delta about another merger, but that airline declined to pursue the offer, reported The Wall Street Journal.

Likely pairings could include Delta-Northwest, both of which have hubs in Atlanta; JetBlue-Frontier, which could become a national low-fare carrier to compete with Southwest; and United-Continental, which could create an international airline with comparable airline fleets that could be easily combined.

United has hired an investment banker to look into possible mergers.

Report by David Wilkening

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  • US AIrways-America West Merger

    The US Airways-America West merger is completed, and the combined corporate entity is called US Airways, even though flights are still under both US Airways and America West.

    By Chip Watkins, Thursday, October 12, 2006

  • Another merger?

    Have I been dreaming or didn't US Air merge with AmericaWest? If they are now considering merging with Continental then where does that leave AmericaWest???

    By Terry Fortier, Tuesday, October 10, 2006

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