US-American fleet differences not a concern: Parker

Washington DC
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US Airways chief executive Doug Parker has played down concerns over the fragmented combined fleet of a merged carrier with American Airlines.

There are few commonalities between the fleets of the two carriers, which announced their intentions to merge on 14 February. The proposed merged carrier will operate 948 mainline aircraft. US Airways operates a mostly Airbus fleet while American's in-service fleet comprises exclusively of Boeing aircraft.

Parker says fleet simplification would not add much value because the merged carrier's combined fleet would be large enough. "It works if you have small subsets, but if you have large subsets, it doesn't save you much," he says at the J.P. Morgan Aviation, Transport and Defense Conference in New York today.

Parker believes that having a wide pool of suppliers with parts in the merged carrier's fleet would help the airline obtain more competitive pricing. "At least you have that competition, it helps a lot in getting your costs down," he says.

Parker also indicated that the merged carrier could increase the number of regional airline partners it has. "We cetainly have enogh relationships now. We are going to need more regional lift than we have right now. We might need more so we might work on something there," he says.

The combined carrier will have a variety of regional partners between them. These include US Airways-owned Piedmont Airlines and PSA Airlines, as well as Air Wisconsin, Chautauqua Airlines, ExpressJet, Mesa Airlines, Republic Airlines and SkyWest Airlines that have capacity purchase agreements (CPAs) with American, US Airways or both.