With still-bankrupt Delta being courted by suitors such as US Airways, possibly United, and others, Southwest has just thrown its own hat into the ring. But the Dallas-based low-cost carrier isn’t looking to pair up with Delta. Rather, Southwest is looking at the assets that will be left over if a merger does take place.
USAToday.com reports that Southwest’s founder and board chairman Herb Kelleher has made calls to his counterparts at both Delta and US Airways to find out what might become available should the two airlines come together. An AP article points out that certain assets such as routes, gates, and aircraft are typically dropped by merged airlines to avoid antitrust violations. According to Southwest spokesperson Edna Ruano, if the airline were to pick up some of those assets, those on the East Coast—where Southwest has less of a presence—would be the most desirable.
If the merger does occur, and if Southwest jumps in to pick up some of the goodies left behind, and if the typical “Southwest effect” brings lower fares to additional cities, it could be good news for the traveling public. But that’s already three “ifs” down the road, so I think it’s best to have a wait-and-see attitude in this case.