American Airlines will decide whether to pursue a merger within "a matter of
weeks," CEO Tom Horton said in an interview published Sunday by the Financial
But a company spokesman said that doesn't mean the company is accelerating its planning process. AMR Corp. has said it would review alternatives in the coming weeks once its labor contract issues are resolved in court.
"The timetable for our review of alternatives has not changed and we expect it to occur by or into the fall time frame," spokesman Andrew Backover said.
Horton, who had been critical of merger proposals advanced by US Airways, has sounded less hostile lately.
He told the Financial Times that a merger with US Airways "may be an attractive option under the right circumstances.
" Our view [earlier this year] was not that that combination was unwise. It was that that was not the right time to discuss it."
Backover said Horton was interviewed by the British publication last week before the Allied Pilots Association announced that its members overwhelmingly voted down the company's final contract offer.
American sent nondisclosure agreements to prospective merger partners, including US Airways, on July 27.
Those companies have to sign those agreements to receive detailed and proprietary information from American.
A US Airways spokesman said Monday that his airline has not signed the document.
"We have received an NDA from AMR Corp. and are reviewing it. US Airways does not plan to comment further at this time with respect to its review," spokesman Ed Stewart said.
On Wednesday, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane will rule on American's request to throw out its contract with the pilots union and impose American's terms. He had withheld a ruling until the union voted.
But Lane will delay his ruling on the flight attendants contract until after the Association of Professional Flight Attendants completes its ratification vote Aug. 19.
Over the weekend, that union posted a message to members on its hotline that all but endorsed ratifying the negotiated final offer submitted by American rather than risk the court imposing more stringent terms.
"APFA's bankruptcy attorneys and financial experts have expressed over and over that there is no positive side to a 'No' vote," the message said.
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