Airline CEOs talk merger, how it will affect competition
(CBS News) In their first network morning interview, US Airways chief executive officer Doug Parker said the merger between US Airways and American will not mean prices will go up.
Parker said on "CBS This Morning," "Fortunately we have two airlines that are highly complementary, not much overlap at all. But we've combined to create an airline that can compete against the other two airlines that happen to be larger than us right now -- United and Delta -- to create an airline that can compete strongly against us. So it's more competition, not less."
Parker also disclosed that the US Airways name will be retired and the combined airline will be known as American.
"Unfortunately that name is going to go away," he said. "I'm a fan too. But the American brand is one of the most iconic in the world and one that we decided is an even stronger brand and once we close this, we'll be American Airlines and the US Airways brand will be retire, but the US Airways that you know will just be a stronger airline now with more places for you to fly."
The merger was a matter of timing, Parker said. He noted that the merger has made sense for a while but said, "sometimes all the planets need to align and it's taken a while for us to get here."
He said, "Fortunately we've come to an agreement that this makes sense for all of our customers, for all of our employees, for our investors and we couldn't be happier."
As for American Airlines, which has been restructuring, the carrier is moving forward, according to American Airlines chief executive officer Tom Horton, who also appeared on the broadcast. "We've been in the middle of a restructuring, which has brought down our cost structure and strengthened our balance sheet, but at the same time, we've been reinvesting and renewing the company. We've got a new fleet of aircraft on the way, hundreds of new airplanes. We've launched a lot of new products and services and we've recently refreshed our brand, so we've been doing a lot of things to bring the company back, and, indeed returned it to profitability, and now this is really the logical next step to return American back to industry leadership. We'll be the number one airline in the world and create, really, a truly world-class global carrier with our partners at US Airways."
Parker said the merger was not hostile and is an agreement "both are happy about."
Parker said when the deal is complete he we will be the chief executive officer and Horton will be the chairman. He added, "We're going to work together between now and then to make sure we have a good and nice transition."
Horton added, "I think it's all about the company. It's not about the individual. I certainly feel that way. I know Doug feels that way too. It's about making sure we're create new American Airlines and that's what we're going do with this merger."
For more with Parker and Horton, watch the video in the player above.
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