The Continuing Curse of US Airways
CHARLOTTE (TheStreet) -- At the end of 2012, US Airways
Its stock had risen 163%, for the best performance among the Fortune 500. CEO Doug Parker was the new face of the airline industry, credited with engineering a brilliant merger strategy, enlisting the help of labor unions to enable a combination with American
But the top of the world has never, for US Airways, been a good place to be. Always something has interfered with the smallish airline's climb to success. "Curse'" is not too strong a word to describe the syndrome it has always seemed to face.
In a stunning announcement Tuesday, the Justice Department said it would oppose the merger -- US Airways has been seeking a merger for 15 years -- just when the deal seemed all but done.
Over the past four years, the very same Justice Department has allowed mergers between Delta
Oddly, another irrational event touched the carrier one month earlier. On July 18, Jerry Orr, longtime director of Charlotte Douglas International Airport, was fired despite being revered as either the best or one of the best U.S. airport directors. At least, that is what executives from JetBlue
Unfortunately, Orr become embroiled in a conflict between Charlotte, run by Democrats, and the state legislature, run by Republicans, over which should run the airport. Orr got sucked into North Carolina's ugly politics, despite decades of keeping a wall between politics and the airport he built, over three decades, into deregulation's biggest winner. Now, at 72, he awaits a court ruling that will determine whether he can return to his job.
A few years earlier, irrationality tarnished the 2005 merger between America West and US Airways. There, Parker and his management team combined two struggling airlines, one in bankruptcy and one close to it, into a big success story.