US Airways CEO makes stop in North Texas

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by JASON WHITELY

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on June 18, 2012 at 9:57 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 19 at 9:03 AM

DALLAS — US Airways CEO Doug Parker will meet with congressional lawmakers in Washington Tuesday, promoting a merger between his company and American Airlines.

But Parker started the week making a secret stop in North Texas.

"We're here to talk about the idea we have of putting American and US Airways together," he told News 8, "things we can do to build a better airline together."

Parker was in North Texas late Monday afternoon to meet with the editorial boards at The Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star Telegram, hoping to convince the papers that merging US Airways and American Airlines is a good move.

American plans to eliminate more than 12,000 union jobs in bankruptcy. But US Airways has told American's labor unions that it can save 6,700 of those positions — including every one of American's flight attendants and many ground workers and pilots, too.

That's why leaders of American Airlines' unions joined Parker Monday to make the case for a merger — something he conceded is not imminent.

"It will be a while," Parker said. "American is in bankruptcy and that has a process that needs to take place."

US Airways has not released specifics on how it can acquire American while keeping thousands of employees and still making money.

Parker did confirm that a merger would mean US Airways assumes American's name and remains headquartered here.

"If it comes to fruition, it would certainly be American Airlines based in Dallas-Fort Worth," Parker said.

But he refused to reveal his next step, admit whether he has reached out to American yet, or even define details of a merger plan that remains short on specifics.

The board of directors for the Allied Pilots Association will decide by Wednesday or Thursday whether to send American's final offer to the membership for a vote.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane will decide on Friday whether to let American cancel its labor contracts and lay off thousands.

If the APA members are voting on the company's offer, the union said it would ask Judge Lane to stay the decision on whether to abrogate the pilots' contract.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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