AMR Corporation (American Airlines) (Dallas/Fort Worth) and US Airways (Phoenix) in a show of unity, vowed yesterday to fight the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) lawsuit in court (along with six states and the District of Colombia). Three high-powered attorneys have been hired to fight the lawsuit. The two airlines will try to argue in court that their merger will promote competition, especially against Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines.
However the real measure being used by the DOJ and will probably be the central theme in the court, will another merger lead to lower ticket prices? With the recent Delta-Northwest, United-Continental and Southwest-AirTran mergers, ticket prices have been raised steadily (probably due more to fuel costs) along with an increasing long list of add-on charges. Airline profits are at its highest. The DOJ is using American’s and US Airways’ own pre-airline merger reports when they were arguing for a merger which states an AA-US merger would lead to higher yields permitting the lower ticket prices to be dropped on many routes where they compete adding to the bottom line for the merged company. AA-US also have a large share of the routes and traffic from slot-controlled Washington Reagan National Airport. Very few of those routes have any meaningful competition. DCA routes have some of the highest yields in the country.
At any rate the lawsuit will delay the merger decision, probably now to 2014.
Read the full report from Reuters: CLICK HERE
However for bankrupt AMR Corporation and American Airlines and its shareholders, the rejection could send its bankruptcy reorganization back to where it all started with a key question:
Can the deal be restructured again to meet the DOJ’s antitrust objections (especially concerning Washington’s Reagan National Airport) and keep some value for the creditors and shareholders? Without US Airways in the equation, a new reorganization would probably shift the company’s equity to the current creditors. The existing shareholders could get nothing in any new reorganization making it harder to “sell”.
In addition what happens to CEO Tom Horton and his nearly $20 million severance package?
Nick Brown examines the options for AMR in this article as it tries to adjust to a newer reality: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. The new 2013 livery of American is now likely to become the livery of a new American with or without US Airways as more aircraft are repainted. There is a tipping point (probably already achieved) where it becomes unfeasible to go to another look. US Airways’ CEO Doug Parker, if he becomes the CEO of the new American, may be stuck with current CEO Tom Horton’s design going forward. The controversial livery is the least of Doug’s problems right now. Boeing 737-823 N965AN (msn 29544) poses for the camera under perfect light at Toronto (Pearson).