he collapse of the United-US Airways
merger is a good thing. This deal was wrong all over.
Some Wall Street analysts have moaned that further consolidation
of the U.S. airline industry is necessary and inevitable, and that
the collapse of this deal could have a chilling effect on the
market and delay some beneficial combinations.
Maybe, but at this stage of the industry's evolution we'd prefer to
see cute little mergers that strengthen some of the industry's
smaller players rather than big ugly mergers that contribute to
An industry dominated by a Big Three needs a Big Four, not a Big
It was obvious from Day One that United and US Airways knew they
had a long shot on their hands. The proposal for spinning off US
Airways' Washington operations to DC Air, a new entity created for
that purpose, was a clumsy solution for an obvious problem, and it
was followed, incredibly, by the even more awkward proposal that
American peel off some of US Airways' assets and somehow share
ownership of the US Airways Shuttle with United.
The worst thing about the collapse of this house of cards is
that the employees of US Airways have spent the last year following
leaders who tried to sell them, and us, on the notion that this
problematic merger was their only option. We think US Airways'
management was wrong to insist that there could be no Plan B, that
US Airways can't survive on its own. With an attitude like that,
how can it?
It's one thing to fight the good fight and to gracefully accept
the inevitable when the time comes, as the people of TWA have done,
but a strategy of preemptive surrender doesn't do much to inspire
And it seems to us that this has to be especially true in the
field of commercial aviation -- for who among us would place our
desire to fly, to rise above the very earth, in the hands of a