US Airways CEO: Everybody Wants a Merger Except for AMR Bosses

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"It's similar to a situation I faced at AT&T (T) " said Horton, who presided over the phone company's restructuring in the early 2000s. "We had a lot of work to do before the company was properly prepared to participate in consolidations."

On Wednesday, Parker said bankruptcy is, in fact, the best place to effect a merger. Chapter 11 enables terminations or cost reductions involving airport space, aircraft leases, vendors and credit card partners.

"American got itself into this situation in part because they were singularly focused on fixing internal issues and thought the world would stand by while they did," he said.

Besides, Parker said, "US Airways is here now, and we are ready to do this now -- there is no guarantee that will be the case forever." In the past, he has said that Delta and United might also seek to merge with US Airways. In either case, AMR would be deprived of the opportunity to grow dramatically in the eastern U.S, where it has a minimal presence and no obvious path, beyond a US Airways merger, to build a major one.

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

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