Odds of an American-US Airways Merger Are on the Rise

Worried about the much-rumored tie-up between American and US Airways?

Today, those fears would appear to be more reality-based than ever.

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A letter to employees from American Airlines chief Tom Horton, reprinted in the Dallas Morning News, included the following: "... it now makes sense to carefully evaluate a range of strategic options, including potential mergers, which could make the new American even stronger."

While Horton mentioned US Airways (which has very publicly expressed its interest in merging with American and has made overtures to American's creditors and unions) only in passing, it's considered by far the most likely merger partner.

Due diligence requires that American consider all options. But there is clearly a compelling business case to be made for an American-US Airways marriage. It is, however, a prospect that many American partisans find deeply unsettling.

US Airways can boast of solid growth and profitability. But such metrics have gained the company little in the way of support from either its customers or its own employees.

American, on the other hand, enjoys substantial loyalty from its customers, in spite of its diminished circumstances.

Responses from readers to a recent blog post epitomize the feelings of many travelers:

"I still think AA has the best FF program all-around when compared to other domestic airlines. Here's hoping they come out on the other side of bankruptcy as a stand-alone airline!"

"I am very worried about the future of the AAdvantage Program if the merger with US goes through. I had the misfortune to be forced to fly US on business when they were the only option available. The experience was a disaster on all fronts."

"I am committed to American and AAdvantage for now but will bail if US Scareways takes over."

Reader Reality Check

Are you in favor of a merger between American and US Airways? Why?

This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.

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