US Airways has its eye on bankrupt American Airlines.
At a recent aviation industry conference in Dallas, US Airways Chief Operating Officer Robert Isom confirmed that US Airways has hired advisers to monitor American.
"We want to always be mindful of changes in the industry that we can either take advantage of or changes in the industry that will affect us, and we need to react to," Isom said.
US Airways itself is the result of airline consolidation. Most of the airline's current leadership is from the former America West Airlines. In 2005, America West acquired US Airways out of bankruptcy. They kept the more recognized US Airways name and then phased out America West.
"That merger has allowed different assets to really come together and produce results that neither could have achieved on their own," Isom said.
US Airways is now profitable and has made significant improvements in airline quality rankings.
Another merger could reap big rewards for US Airways. The Wall Street Journal reports that US Airways estimates a merger with American could generate $1 billion in addition revenue and $500 million in cost savings. Other published reports say US Airways is courting American's creditors and union leaders.
In recent years, US Airways tried unsuccessfully to combine with Delta and United. Those airlines paired off with Northwest and Continental. That leaves American as one of the last potential partners for US Airways. Isom said US Airways can thrive on its own, but he acknowledged another merger is not out of the question.
"We've been aggressive in our pursuits, and we've been mindful of those things that make the most sense for our stakeholders, our customers, our employees, and the markets that we serve," Isom said.
American Airlines CEO Tom Horton says his goal is to bring American out of bankruptcy as a stand-alone company. American issued a statement saying:
"We are in the midst of a complex restructuring, intensely focused on successfully reorganizing American to restore our airline to industry leadership, profitability and growth. This will position us to determine our future and choose the very best path forward for all of American's stakeholders."
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