American Airlines is very close to a merger with US Airways, which the two companies are reviewing a non-disclosure agreement, in an effort to keep confidential and competitive information on the path toward the talks.
“We’re hopeful that we’ll be in a consensual process, maybe sometime soon,” President Scott Kirby said in a meeting with the editorial board of The Arizona Republic.
CEO Doug Parker said if US Airways decides it doesn’t like the terms in the agreement, it instead will make another move to push the merger process along. He did not elaborate but said, either way, the decision will come within a month. The company could take its case directly to the airline’s creditors, or it could make a hostile bid.
“I don’t think it should be surprising that we’re not just going to pack our bags and go home,” Parker said. “So we’ll try and do something. You’ll see something else.”
US Airways, the smallest of the big four hub-and-spoke airlines, has been pressing its case for a merger with American since that airline filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection late last year. The merger would create an airline on par with United and Delta, each of which grew dramatically in the past few years through major acquisitions. A combined airline would be able to better compete for lucrative business travelers, especially on the East Coast and in the Midwest.
“It allows American to return to what it used to be, which is one of the top airlines in the world,” Parker said.
American has softened its stance on a potential merger recently, agreeing to evaluate strategic alternatives and send out the non-disclosure agreements.