US Airways, American Airlines Merger Wins Employee Union Backing

In January 2012, US Airways expressed interest in a merger with bankrupt carrier American Airlines, which was able to take a step further after winning the backing from employee unions. The three unions combined make up some 55,000 American Airlines employees and have agreed to support a potential merger with U.S. Airways. However, some say that the deal has a long road ahead with several obstacles to over come.

After the announcement of the Allied Pilots Association, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants and the Transport Workers Union wanted to merge, U.S. Air CEO Doug Parker said in a letter to the employees that this is “a unique opportunity that we should not ignore.”

On November 29, 2011, AMR Corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Then, Chairman and CEO Gerard Arpey stepped down and was replaced by company president Thomas W. Horton. Horton said in March that American was open to a merger.

Parker, while saying the union’s agreement is a step forward, went on to say in the letter that employees should be cautious of expecting a deal to be a lock as it still has a long road ahead with several obstacles to over come. “To get to an actual merger, many more things must happen including gaining the support of AMR’s creditors, its management team and its Board of Directors,” he writes. “[W]e are hopeful we can all work together to make this happen.”

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