American, US Airways merger on the horizon?

By Hugo Martin, Sun-Sentinel 

A global recession and a surge in fuel prices sparked a frenzy of airline mergers and acquisitions over the last decade as carriers joined forces to stay airborne amid economic turbulence.

Merger mania is not over. The biggest yet may now be in the works, combining American Airlines and US Airways into the nation’s largest airline with up to 1,500 planes in its main line and regional fleets and more than 120,000 employees.

Analysts say a merger between Fort Worth-based American and Tempe, Ariz.-based US Airways could be announced as soon as January. It would produce a mega airline with an estimated value of about $8billion.

At Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, American had 5.1 percent of the airport’s passenger traffic this year through November, while US Airways had 6.9 percent, according to the latest airport data available. Combined, the airlines have about 12 percent passenger share, which would put them in the top five carriers behind Delta Air Lines.

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