European Commission (EC) approved (05-Aug-2013) the merger of US Airways and AMR Corporation under the EC merger regulation, subject to conditions. The Commission stated: "The decision is conditional upon the release of one daily slot pair at London Heathrow and of other commitments in order to induce entry on the London-Philadelphia route. In light of these comprehensive commitments, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns." Commission VP in charge of competition policy Joaquin Almunia said: "The Commission could clear this transaction in the first phase given the commitments offered by the parties which address the competition concern we identified on the London-Philadelphia route. The commitments include a corresponding slot at London Heathrow as well as far-reaching feeder arrangements to induce entry by a new competitor on the route. We are therefore satisfied that the competitive dynamics will be maintained so as to ensure choice and quality of air services for passengers on this route." AMR Corporation chairman, president and CEO Tom Horton stated: "We are very pleased that the EU has approved the merger between American Airlines and US Airways. This represents one of the final milestones on our path to becoming the new American Airlines." [more - original PR - EC] [more - original PR - EC - II] [more - original PR - AMR/US Airways]
US Airways/American Airlines merger receives European Commission approval
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United Airlines Part 1: New management declares ambitions to usher in a new competitive era
For years United Airlines has operated at a competitive disadvantage to its large US network peers. The challenges that United never seemed to overcome were largely self-inflicted, and ranged from widespread employee discontent to consistent revenue shortfalls.
Now United finally appears to be charting a course to level the competitive playing field with its large global US network competitors, to close the long-standing revenue gap it has held with its rivals. The elements of United’s plan to shore up revenues include bolstering connections at its hubs, improved revenue management, and product segmentation that entails a new basic economy fare structure whose restrictions are more stringent than those of its peers.
United’s revenue transformation will not occur overnight, but for the first time since its 2010 merger with Continental the company seems laser-focused on shrinking the competitive challenges that have hindered its performance. It projects billions in improvement – to pre-tax profits by 2020 – as a result of its doubling down on efforts to shore up revenue. Obviously the measure of United’s success lies in its execution and its ability to navigate competitive responses to its revenue-generating strategies.
This is part one of a two part series examining United’s strategies to compete more effectively with its peers on revenue and costs.
US airlines and the Cuba route awards Part 2: Cuba's smaller airports face a major influx
Now that US regulators have made their decisions on service awards for Cuba, the airlines must now prepare to serve a country with unique challenges – ranging from airport infrastructure to hotel room availability. The significant hurdles have not quelled excitement over the re-establishment of scheduled airline services to Cuba, which will resume later in 2016.
Aside from the closely watched contest to win service to Havana, the US DoT also awarded service rights to nine other secondary Cuban cities and, not surprisingly, South Florida features prominently in those route assignments. Gauging accurate levels of demand in those markets could take some time to determine. With a 50-plus year absence of scheduled airline flights between the US and Cuba, there is no up-to-date data from which to measure demand patterns.
Although Cuba holds much promise, an ample level of guesswork will be necessary as airlines navigate dealing with the Cuban government in order to ensure a smooth service launch. Some level of passenger education is also necessary in order to create the right set of customer expectations for travel to Cuba.
(This is Part 2 in a series of reports examining route awards between the US and Cuba. Part 1 focused on awards rights from the US to Havana.)