Merger mania: US with AA? DL with US?

After another long break, your volunteer-public servant-air travel blogger is back, with a roundup of some recent developments in the airline world. Two big ongoing themes are the American bankruptcy and implications for other companies, most importantly US Airways, and the new federal rules requiring airlines to include both the fare and taxes and fees in the initial quote you see in an online display of the price of a ticket. We will do a separate posting on the blog later today on the second topic.

Catching up with merger specualtion, one important story was the confirmation by US Airways that it's evaluating a merger or partnership with American parent AMR while it operates in Chapter 11.  CEO Doug Parker confirmed the speculation (turns out it was very well-informed speculation a week or so earlier, by reporters for Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal) last week during the quarterly earnings conference call with analysts.

Then the weekend brought the story that Delta was said to be looking at an acquisition of US Airways and/or AMR.  Wow! What an airline industry we could wind up with out of all this: A gargantuan Delta combined with US Airways just a year or two after gorging on Northwest), a giant United already combined with Continental, and if it survives, a shrunken American. When Southwest is included, that could mean an industry controlled by two massive, market-hungry carriers, one famous discounter that is much less the discounter than it was before it swallowed AirTran, and a smaller American with a demoralized workforce (sorry folks, that just happens in bankruptcy). Have a nice flight!