Is "US Airways" A Liability?
What's in a name? In the merger between the US Airways and
America West, the decision to slap the US Airways moniker on the
new entity could wind up as a liability, according to some
But then, it could be worse, according to one survey. The
combined company could have decided to call itself America
In a recent consumer poll by JD Power and Associates, of eleven
major US airlines, travelers ranked US Airways eighth. They ranked
America West tenth.
The US Airways brand means "lost luggage" to some travelers. The
airline has the worst lost-bag rate in the industry right now,
according to the US Department of Transportation. DOT says that
problem is getting worse, with the number of complaints on the rise
in the first quarter of 2005. On lost baggage, America West ranks
slightly better than the national average, according to the DOT
US Airways is also less-than-average when it comes to on-time
performance, arriving as promised only about 70-percent of the
time, according to DOT figures studied by CNN. Again, the network
reports, America West arrives on time slightly better than the
And yet, the idea of naming the baby
US Airways has its supporters. I know it's been tarnished a bit but
it's a nationally and internationally known brand," Ray Neidl,
airline analyst with Calyon Securities, told CNN. "Remember America
West has had its troubles too. And it's more of a regional name.
And I think US Air still has some value."
America West spokesman Phil Gee told CNN both companies played
the name game during merger talks.
"It can be very expensive to rebrand an entire airline," he
What about US Airways' recently-smudged nameplate? Those
smudges, Gee said, should polish off just fine in the long-run. "We
feel if we run a great airline, if we take care of the employees
and they take care of the customers, the name will take care of