News Column

US Airways Schedules Shareholders Vote

June 4, 2013
airlines merger

US Airways will ask its shareholders to approve the merger with American Airlines on July 12 at its annual meeting, one of the final steps needed to create the world's largest carrier.

The announcement came in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday as US Airways scheduled its final gathering of shareholders.

The companies are on track to merge before the end of September unless grounded by delays in American Airlines' 18-month bankruptcy reorganization case, according to leaders at the two companies.

American Airlines' parent company AMR Corp. and US Airways Group are also waiting on antitrust approval from the U.S. Justice Department.

Executive management is urging shareholders to approve the deal, which would give US Airways investors a 28 percent share of the company with the rest going to American Airlines creditors, labor unions and shareholders.

"The board of directors of US Airways Group has determined that the merger agreement and the merger are advisable and in the best interest of US Airways Group and its stockholders and has unanimously approved the merger agreement and the merger," states a letter to shareholders from US Airways CEO Doug Parker.

Also Monday, Parker and AMR Corp. CEO Tom Horton said they will be ready to announce a new management structure by the middle of this month, according to a report from Bloomberg News. The executives spoke at the International Air Transport Association meeting in Cape Town, South Africa.

Horton, who will step aside as CEO and become chairman of the new American Airlines Group, is making recommendations, but the final decisions will come down to Parker, who will be CEO at the new company.

The two companies have spent months collecting information about how the new American Airlines Group will be structured and have brought in executives from each firm to oversee the process.

The companies have given some indication as to the first moves after the merger, including steps to "code share" so that passengers can book flights on each airline seamlessly through the same websites and reservation systems, even though it will be more than 18 months before aircraft and employees are fully integrated.

However, the merger still needs the approval of U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Sean Lane. On Tuesday, Lane is scheduled to hold a hearing in New York to consider whether American's reorganization plan, which centers on the merger, will be allowed to be presented to creditors.

Creditors groups have already indicated that they will approve the plan.

But concerns include objections from a U.S. Trustee over Horton's $20 million severance package, which Lane has already indicated is illegal under federal bankruptcy law.

American Airlines officials have indicated they will continue to seek approval for the payout from Lane as a part of the reorganization case.



Source: (c)2013 Tulsa World (Tulsa, Okla.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.


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