They're Not Fans
Despite repeated assurances by executives at Delta Air Lines and
United Airlines last week's rumors of a proposed merger of the two
carriers were just that -- rumors -- fallout from the news
continues to ripple through the ranks at the Atlanta-based
On Tuesday, pilots at Delta called the trial balloon posed by
hedge fund Pardus Capital Management LP a "poisonous vision" of
Delta's future, and vowed any such attempt at consolidation in that
manner would die without the union's support.
As ANN reported, news of an
impending merger surfaced November 14, with The Associated Press
quoting an unnamed source who described a combined United-Delta
airline carrying forth under the United name, with headquarters in
Chicago and an operations center in Atlanta. The source said both
sides expressed a "sense of urgency" to the talks.
After letting most of the day lapse without comment, both sides
issued harsh rebukes late in the evening of November 14. The next
day, Delta CEO Richard Anderson followed up his vehement denials
with assertions before a House transportation subcommittee --
telling Georgia Congressman Lyn Westmoreland he "was as surprised
as you were" about the speculation.
This week, Delta pilots union chairman Lee Moak told Reuters
while talk of a Delta/United merger may have subsided, the issue
hasn't gone away among the carrier's rank-and-file.
"Pardus' demand for a merger between Delta and United is a
poisonous vision built upon an artificial timeline and focused
primarily on a financial transaction," said Moak. "As we
demonstrated in the case of the US Airways assault on our company,
we can stop a consolidating event that is not in our best
interests, and we will treat the demands by Pardus no less
seriously than those presented by US Airways last year."
Despite that statement, Moak did not plainly state pilots would
attempt to block an attempt by Pardus -- which owns shares in both
Delta and United -- to force a merger between the two... but he did
question the wisdom of such efforts.
"I don't like Pardus' tactics. This is a very complex, difficult
strategic decision that will have effects for many years," Moak
said, adding any attempt at consolidation would have to be handled
very carefully "or else we'll all end up in bankruptcy again."