US Airways is the latest to show an interest in owning Fort Worth-based American Airlines.
The Wall Street Journal said Delta Air Lines Inc., US Airways Group Inc. and the buyout firm TPG Capital were separately looking at Fort Worth-based AMR, which is in the early stages of reorganizing through the bankruptcy process.
AMR and its three major unions met with federal mediators Thursday. North Texas airline analyst Denny Kelley said he doesn't believe a Delta takeover is too likely, and that the talk may be a ploy to give American Airlines an advantage in negotiations with its unions.
For US Airways, the merger would be beneficial, yet challenging. Even with a 2005 merger with America West, US Airways remains much smaller than United, Delta and American and would gain from American's larger global network and hubs at bigger U.S airports.
The Los Angeles Times reports US Airways is cited most often as having a potential future partnership with American.
But mergers in US Airways' history have not always worked.
In 2010, negotiations between US Airways and United fell apart after UAL Inc. merged with Continental. To complicate matters further, US Airways is still resolving issues from its 2005 merger with America West Airlines.
In 2009, TPG teamed with AMR to invest in Japan Airlines, a key ally of American, although no investment was made. AMR's new CEO Thomas Horton, who was chief financial officer at the time, had glowing words for TPG back then.
"TPG is a well-respected investor in the airline space ... they would be a natural partner for American," Horton told reporters in Tokyo.
In an ironic twist, American was working with TPG in 2009 to prevent Delta from replacing American as a Japan Airlines partner on trans-Pacific flying.
Although Horton has indicated he wants American to emerge from bankruptcy as an independent airline, it is too early to determine American's future.