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US Airways CEO Predicts Delta Will Lead Merger Mania

But Probably Not With His Airline

If the domestic airline industry moves towards consolidation, Delta Air Lines will lead the charge. That's the opinion of US Airways CEO Doug Parker, even though his own hostile takeover bid for Delta failed this past spring.

When his turn came at this week's Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit in Washington, DC, Parker (above) said Delta is uniquely positioned to be the catalyst for what could be a wave of airline mergers... despite the carrier's earlier reluctance towards US Airways.

"Delta will be the trigger if they want to be," said Parker. "When they decide to do something, that will be the trigger."

Parker reasons US Airways and Northwest are too small to kick start the process, while United is willing but has so far been unable to generate much interest. American and Continental Airlines appear unwilling to try.

He told Reuters he believes 2008 will be a difficult year for the airlines, but that they are better prepared to survive an economic downturn today than they were in the past.

"I think the definition of a difficult year in our business has gotten more manageable," Parker said.

FMI: www.usairways.com, www.delta.com

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