Fitch: AMR-US Airways Deal Leaves Questions for Some Airports
NEW YORK -- November 13, 2013
The gate divestiture concessions in the antitrust settlement between AMR, US
Airways and the U.S. government raise questions on how the carriers' hubs
might ultimately be aligned after the merger, Fitch Ratings says. The
agreement is not likely to have an impact on the two airports with largest
number of slot divestitures - Reagan National Airport (DCA) or LaGuardia
Airport (LGA), and is intended to preserve service at smaller market airports.
The antitrust settlement to allow the $17 billion merger to proceed was
The merged carrier will divest 52 slots at DCA and 17 at LGA to make room for
competing airlines. We do not expect any negative impact for these airports as
they are in high demand origin and destination markets with heavy competition
for slots. They generally operate under use and lease agreements that we
expect to continue after the merger.
The agreement also includes the divestiture of just two gates at Boston Logan,
Chicago O'Hare, Los Angeles International and Miami International. These
divestitures will also not have an impact as their number is low and not
concentrated in one geographic region.
The agreement provides some clarity on how small- to mid-sized airports will
fare in the merger. The merged airline will use all of its DCA commuter slot
pairs to serve mid-sized and small markets. While the pact affords some
operational protections at the existing major hubs for a three-year period, we
expect some hubs will be strengthened at the expense of others as the combined
carrier implements cost synergies. Fitch will continue to monitor that
situation and report promptly.
Additional information is available on www.fitchratings.com.
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Seth Lehman, +1 212-908-0755
Senior Director, Global Infrastructure Group
33 Whitehall Street
New York, NY
Rob Rowan, +1 212-908-9159
Senior Director, Fitch Wire
1 State Street Plaza
New York, NY
Elizabeth Fogerty, +1 212-908-0526
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