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The buzz on airline merger rumors

There's been a lot of buzz around a possible airline merger between Delta and United or Northwest. Nothing has been announced yet, but I wanted to offer a quick roundup of opinions.

Over at Newsday, James Bernstein talked with Dan Kasper, the managing director of an aviation consultant company. Kasper voiced doubts about whether or not a merger would come to fruition, saying "It wouldn't surprise me if people decided the game wasn't worth the gamble."

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Kasper also explored the likely effects a merger would have on fares: "I think it's important that people recognize fares are likely to go up in any event because fuel prices are up. Mergers may have some effect on fares, but mergers also play into the hands of low-cost carriers. It's not as if two legacy carriers merge and that's the end of the game. When those kinds of things happen, it's an invitation for Southwest or JetBlue to move into a market."

USA Today business travel columnist David Grossman offered a big-picture view of airline consolidation, citing both the arguments for and against a merger and speculating on future domestic airline partnerships.

Meanwhile, USA Today also reported that U.S. House Transportation Committee Chairman James Oberstar was opposed to a merger between major domestic carriers because it would hurt consumers.

Travelmole (free registration required) weighed in with an article titled "The bad news about US airline mergers: higher prices and worse service." The article cites a recent survey of corporate travel managers, the majority of whom believe airline consolidation will lead to "higher prices and worsening passenger service."

I could go on, but instead I'll just offer a Google News link to airline merger news for anyone who wants more.

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