Tag Archives: American Airlines

United-USAirways Deal Nears

flight attendantJust weeks after Northwest Airways and Delta Airlines announced their merger plans, it appears that United Airlines and USAirways will soon make their own announcement. If pulled off, a United-USAirways merger would create the world’s second largest airline just behind the newly-merged Northwest-Delta entity which will be called Delta Airlines.

Flying as United Airlines, the newly-merged airline is expected to keep its headquarters in Chicago, but be controlled by USAirways management. USAirways was bought out by America West in 2005, but the airline kept the better known USAirways name.

We’ve Been Down This Road Before

If the United-USAirways deals sounds familiar, the Chicago Tribune

recently reminded its readers that these airlines had announced a deal in 2000, that collapsed 14 months later. Opposition from regulatory and union officials ditched those plans and a slowing economy was also being blamed for the earlier collapse.

Gates To Open Up

Certain east coast US gates controlled by USAirways and United could suddenly be freed up if the merger goes through. Likely, regulators would force the newly-merged entity to cede gates at important airports, including Reagan National in Washington, DC, allowing JetBlue, Virgin America, and Air Tran to bid on available gates.

Other Industry News

Most of the merger talk these days has come about as airlines face record jet fuel prices. A rash of smaller airlines have already declared bankruptcy with several closing their doors permanently. However, a few airlines are hoping to make it through the current crisis including:

  • Silverjet, which is the last of three air carriers flying business class only passengers between New York and London (after MAXjet and EOS’ demise) has been in talks with Lufthansa and other interested parties to purchase the airline. However, Silverjet CEO Lawrence Hunt is reluctant to sell citing market conditions as the chief reasons to keep Silverjet off the market.

Oil Dips Slightly

One glimmer of light for the airlines is the price of oil which actually dropped slightly

by 56 cents to $125.40 for June crude delivery. Not that bright of a light, that is for certain, but one the airlines can use if only for the moment.

Southwest Remains Best Loved Airline

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines, the budget air carrier who has been gradually and methodically transforming itself for decades into a national powerhouse, remains the best loved airline in the eyes of the business community. In a recent survey, Fortune magazine bested Continental Airlines as the most admired U.S. airline.

Thumbs Up For American Too

While the news for Southwest, Continental, and American (which also did well) was good, the flip side is that all four airlines which went through bankruptcy over the past several years brought up the rear. United, USAirways, Northwest and Delta were the least admired airlines as was SkyWest which hasn’t gone through bankruptcy. Many customers have been complaining that the service on these impacted airlines is deplorable something Southwest has been able to avoid.

Airlines Under Attack

The airlines have been under a relentless attack for many years now as higher fuel prices and the effects of airline deregulation close in. The terrorist attacks of September 2001 fueled the decline, putting even the strongest airlines in a grave position. Add in all of the security requirements and the removal of basic amenities and it is no wonder that passengers are unhappy.

Southwest has managed to buck the trend by offering a working environment many employees compare to family relationships. Unlike the management-employee polarization prevalent at most air carriers, Southwest has managed to cultivate and sustain a good working environment despite the added pressures. Indeed, Southwest has been profitable for 35 consecutive years, an unheard of feat in aviation.

Check Them Out

Although I haven’t included Southwest on the list of CabinManagers recommended airlines (for the simple reason that their starting pay is low) I can unequivocally say that they are perhaps the best airline to work for from an employee satisfaction standpoint. Unfortunately, Southwest isn’t hiring flight attendants right now nor are they accepting applications. Keep an eye on their career page

in the event that this should change.

Further Reading

He Gave Southwest Its Wings

Southwest CEO describes 2008’s challenges

Now Boarding Business Class

(Source: Dallas Morning News)

Logo copyright/courtesy of Southwest Airlines.