Delta-US Airways merger labours

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US Airways chief executive Doug Parker is pressing ahead with his $8 billion-plus hostile takeover bid for Delta Air Lines despite stiff labour opposition.

Parker is vowing "full commitment" to his plan to form the largest US airline. But unions and some consumer groups such as the Business Travel Coalition are opposing the proposed merger, saying it would raise fares and reduce service.

Members of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) chapters at US Airways, its subsidiary America West and Delta have all denounced the plan. US Airways and America West pilots, noting that their workforces have yet to be integrated in the new US Airways, warn they could keep the carrier from reaching a single contract for all of its pilots, causing costs hikes and leading to potentially crippling internal conflicts. Delta pilots fear more job losses and picketed at the abandoned headquarters of the former US Airways in Virginia.

Delta management, which reacted coldly to the proposal in mid-November, again said it is not interested after Parker presented his proposals in December. ALPA's stance is significant as pilots are one of Delta's largest groups of creditors. ALPA is lobbying Congress, seeking hearings that would delay, if not block the proposed takeover. However, a group of unsecured Delta creditors has formed an unofficial committee and may back the US Airways proposal.

Delta insists it will complete a standalone plan for its emergence from bankruptcy protection as early as mid-February.

ALPA's stance is important because pilots are one of Delta's largest groups of creditors