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July 25, 2012

Horton tells AP that he suggested US Airways merger first prior to bankruptcy

In an interview with the Associated Press, AMR chief executive Tom Horton said he was the one who suggested a combination with US Airways back in September, prior to American Airlines' parent company filing for bankruptcy.

Horton also said that it is US Airways who needs a merger to survive and not American.

The article said:

"The first conversation the two had about a possible merger took place in September, when Horton was still just American's president. Horton wouldn't say where they met but two people familiar with the situation said it was at the A Bar A Ranch, a 100,000-acre retreat in southern Wyoming during an exclusive gathering of top airline executives informally known as 'conquistadores del cielo,' or the conquerors of the skies. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because the executive meeting is supposed to be a secret. The discussion between Horton and Parker occurred during a barbeque lunch along the banks of the North Platte River.

"'I said to Doug, standing by the river, I think there could be the potential for value creation in a combination," Horton recalled. "I made that pitch. We nodded heads to one another.'"

Horton, who met with Parker on Thursday to discuss the process in which AMR will evaluate merger partners, has spent months emphasizing that AMR was focused on restructuring as a stand-alone carrier. However, earlier this month, AMR said it would be willing to evaluate possible merger options while still in bankruptcy.

-Andrea Ahles


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I think Horton wants to run the combined airline, and so does Doug Parker. It's a battle of wills.

But really, we (American) are the larger airline, so we should dominate a merger, not the other way around.

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