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January 01, 2013

What to watch for in 2013

It's a new year and who knows what will happen in 2013 in the airline industry.

But here's our best guess on what we'll be writing about this year.

-The top question, of course, is will American and US Airways merge or won't they? If American's management rebuffs US Airways' merger proposal, will we have a hostile takeover scenario play out in bankruptcy court? What we do know is that American's parent company, AMR Corp.'s, board of directors is meeting on January 9 to discuss the merger and that the non-disclosure agreement that US Airways signed with American expires on January 11.

-It appears that AMR is likely to emerge from bankruptcy protection sometime in 2013. Whether or not AMR emerges as a stand-alone carrier or a merged company depends on the answer to question number one.

-And following this same vein...the AA logo with the eagle in the middle is probably going to disappear in 2013. The carrier has hinted at a dramatic rebranding initiative that should be announced sometime early this year, possibly being unveiled with the 777-300ER launch in late January.

-Dallas/Fort Worth Airport's top tenant may still be in bankruptcy but that hasn't stopped the airport from forging ahead with its construction projects. The airport continues to work on its $2 billion terminal renovation project and may break ground on the Southgate Plaza development this summer which will include a new headquarters building for the airport's administration.

-Is Southwest Airlines stalling out? The carrier recently announced it will be adding a "no-show" fee in 2013 to help boost revenues and plans to cut expenses, partly by not filling open jobs at the Dallas-based airline. The integration of AirTran Airways, which it bought in 2011, hasn't gone as smoothly as Southwest had anticipated and it's still converting operations from AirTran to the Southwest brand.

-Andrea Ahles



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I believe there is a high probability that AMR's management team headed by Tom Horton will most certainly rebuff US Airways merger proposal. Mr. Horton along with his current management team have been dragged kicking and screaming into every little step that takes American Airlines closer to a merger. If it wasn't for the unsecure creditors and bond holders along with American Airline's employees the merger option would have been deep-sixed a long time ago by Tom Horton and his management team. When Horton went before the APA Board of Directors to convince them to support his standalone plan, it was clearly a sign of desperation since he knew how openly opposed the unions were to his plan and vision for American Airlines. Horton will not and cannot retreat from opposing the merger which will end his own career as CEO of American Airlines. Horton has invested too much of his own personal effort in opposing every inch of the merger that he can no longer be a credible leader of a US Airways and American Airlines merged entity. He has no other choice but to fight it out to the very end. Unfortunately his attempt to save his own job will hamper the future prospects of American Airlines as a number one player in the airline industry. What will the AMR Board of Directors decide on January 9th? More forestalling, trying to run out the clock out for AMR to emerge as an independent airline? What is more important to the AMR Board of Directors? Is it Horton’s job as CEO or to help give American Airlines a level playing field where it will be able to compete with the other mega airlines in the industry like United and Delta? I don’t think Hollywood could have written some of the twists and turns this whole process has taken. The next episode will most certainly continue this dramatic saga of corporate intrigue

Sammie Sawee

I predict no merger.

The plan for bankruptcy was to allow the company to shed a lot of employee cost. It has been mostly successfull in this.

Now that the unions contracts are good till 2019, there is absolutely no reason to merge with USAir.

Rumors on a potential HDQ move further cement this.

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