The heads of America West Airlines and US Airways last week refused to comment on reports of merger talks when they unveiled their first quarter results, despite US Airways chairman David Bronner confirming in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the carriers are in advanced negotiations, writes Kerry Ezard.

In an internal memo, US Airways president and chief executive Bruce Lakefield urged employees of the carrier, which is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, to "stay focused" amid the speculation. While saying he could not be more specific "while this process continues", Lakefield did not confirm or deny the reports.

He admits US Airways has been "in discussions with a number of interested parties over the past several months" as it works to raise new capital to emerge from Chapter 11.

America West Airlines chief executive Doug Parker says changes within the airline industry make consolidation between carriers easier than in the past.

Source: Flight International