APA: American to keep branding and Fort Worth base in possible merger

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Published: April 20, 2012

A possible merged carrier between American Airlines and US Airways would be branded American Airlines, and would be based at Fort Worth, says one of three American unions which formally supported a merger today.

“The combined carrier will be branded American Airlines, based in Fort Worth Texas and headquartered at CentrePort,” says Allied Pilots Association (APA) president Dave Bates.

Bates’ comments in a letter to union members offer the first public details of US Airways’ post-takeover strategy, if the proposed merger goes beyond the discussion stage.

The merged airline will be comparable in size and scope with rivals United Airlines and Delta Air Lines “with a robust domestic network capable of supporting significant international expansion”, he adds.

American’s Boeing and Airbus aircraft orders will remain in place, says Bates.

The APA, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants and the Transport Workers Union formally supported a merger with US Airways today, following months of speculation that the two airlines could merge. US Airways chief executive Douglas Parker said earlier today that a merger with American presents an opportunity for US Airways that it should not ignore.

Bates says that under the proposed merger, the former US Airways’ route system will be realigned with American’s to add more destinations, markets and better frequencies.

“On the East Coast, which is the largest and most lucrative airline market in the world, American Airlines will go from No. 5 to a strong No. 1. In the Midwest, we will go from No. 4 to No. 1. In Miami, our dominance to South America will be enhanced by stronger East Coast traffic flows. For the first time in years, American Airlines will be in a position of strength in Chicago,” says Bates.

The APA has agreed with US Airways on a framework for a new collective bargaining agreement, and Bates says this will be distilled into final contract language in 60 days before being put to a ratification vote by the union’s membership.

Detailing the events that led to today’s statement in support of a merger with US Airways, Bates says that he initiated a dialogue with US Airways’ leadership after he was briefed on the airline’s proposed plan to merge with American.

“Working with US Airways, APA was able to achieve in just over a week far more than we had been able to achieve in more than five years of trying to bargain with AMR management. Our interaction with US Airways was in stark contrast to what we have been experiencing with AMR. We dealt directly with the people whose jobs are to run an airline. Many of the talks consisted of president-to-president interaction,” says Bates.

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