PHOENIX - US Airways CEO Doug Parker is putting on the pressure, warning that his company's offer to merge with American Airlines won't last forever.
Parker spoke at the National Press Club Speakers Luncheon Wednesday and said a merger would benefit passengers and employees.
"The best plan for the creditors, employees and customers of American is a merger with US Airways during the bankruptcy process," Parker said.
He gave no timeline as to when this merger could happen.
But, Parker admitted not all of American Airlines' executives are willing to negotiate a merger.
"I find it noteworthy that the only opposition to this merger is the senior management at American," Parker said. "Every single independent analyst on Wall Street and elsewhere who has taken the time to go through the data and run the facts has decided that a merger with US Airways is in the best interest of American Airlines."
One major change would directly affect employees here in the Valley. If a merger occurred, the companies would keep American Airlines' branding. The consolidated company would be headquartered in Texas, not in Tempe, where US Airways is currently based.
But surprisingly business owners and experts say it may not be that big of a loss.
Michael Monti, owner of Monti's La Casa Vieja next door to US Airways' Tempe headquarters, says the building will not sit vacant,
"It's always been a feather in Tempe's cap to have a global airline headquartered here and that would be a loss of prestige," Monti said. "I actually think that building will fill up very quickly, it's a very attractive building and it faces Tempe Town Lake."
"I think the biggest impact is an ego impact, meaning that we lose a corporate headquarters, who is a good partner to the community, but it probably won't be that many jobs," said Robert Mittelstaedt, Dean of W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.
Mittelstaedt says when companies like US Airways make a move, it's usually just the corporation's executive managers and not all its employees.
Parker has been pushing for a merger for several months now. He says a consolidation would give the airlines a competitive edge against leading networks, Delta and United.
Parker pointed out weaknesses in American's current structure. There's a huge gap on the East Coast, he said. A merger would allow passengers more options and efficient routes with more connecting flights in major cities. Parker goes on to say that a merger would give the airlines more presence on the West Coast, bringing American up from the number five place to number three.
US Airways alone employs more than 32,000 aviation professionals worldwide. Parker addressed questions about how a merger would affect jobs.
"A stronger network (means better) job security," Parker said.
US Airways has received support from three labor unions that represent American Airlines employees.
American's parent company, AMR Corp., is in bankruptcy court and seeking to reorganize. American had resisted a merger until earlier this month. American's CEO said it would consider interested parties.
A merger would make the combined airlines comparable in size to United, the world's largest airline.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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