OUT OF THE ASHES
Doug Parker took the helm at America West in September 2001 and hit the ground running, fighting to keep the carrier afloat in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the USA.
Reflecting on what has transpired, Parker says no one would have picked America West to “come out on the other side of this” without having filed for bankruptcy. “Indeed, we were and we would have been picked as one of the first ones to go away.”
He feels “extremely good” that during that period America West, which has become US Airways, paid back every dollar it owed, never defaulted on its creditors, and never asked employees for wage concessions.
Looking back, would he have done anything differently? “If you had the benefit of going back, I’m sure I could think of some things I’d do differently. But what I will say is I feel good about what we’ve accomplished over the last ten years.”
Parker is confident that the course US Airways has set for itself is “the right one”. “The fact that we’re modestly profitable in a year like this , highlights how far we’ve come.”
Parker adds: “We talk more about industry issues than others. I think we recognise the best thing for US Airways is to have a strong industry, one that is intensely competitive and able to withstand the inevitable difficult times the industry goes through.”
And even though he declares he has finished talking about consolidation, Parker offers a smile and says: “I still keep talking about it, obviously, because people keep asking me about it.”