US Airways Merger Wouldn't Help AMR, Transportation Expert Says

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In the meantime, "we've decided to focus in the short term on Europe, which is very successful," Lehmacher said. To South America, US Airways operates Charlotte-Rio flights and hopes to begin Charlotte-Sao Paulo service as well. It has obtained a Sao Paulo route authority, but continues to face delays in securing takeoff and landing times as well as space to park the plane at Sao Paulo's Guarulhos International Airport. In general, Sao Paulo is a difficult place for a U.S. carrier to establish new routes.

Gellman said that US Airways has focused on short-term profitability, "on quarter-to-quarter improvements," rather than taking a longer view which "could lead to lost opportunities in the future.

"I'm not criticizing Doug Parker or his team," Gellman said. "But they have to live with what they've done today for many tomorrows if they don't pay attention."

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

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