US Air says well positioned if a merger arises

WASHINGTON (BestGrowthStock) – US Airways Group (LCC.N: ) does not perceive any merger opportunities in the near term, but said on Wednesday it was well positioned to participate in consolidation if the opportunity arises.

Chief Executive Doug Parker told analysts on a conference call that the airline’s goal on consolidation was to run as a stand-alone company and be “in a position of extreme strength” with sustained profitability.

“I think there is enormous shareholder value to be created simply by continuing to do what we’re doing,” Parker said. “There is a lot of room for investors to participate in a lot of upside with the industry remaining at the current state of consolidation.”

Parker added US Airways would have to be involved if there were any mergers among the remaining four major U.S. carriers — itself; Delta Air Lines (DAL.N: ); American Airlines, a unit of AMR Corp (AMR.N: ); and United Airlines, a unit of UAL Corp (UAL.N: ).

“The other three cannot do anything without large antitrust problems,” Parker said hours after his company reported its largest ever third-quarter profit (Read more your timing to make a profit.) of $240 million. “But any of the three can do something with us.”

US Airways shares were up more than 8 percent following the quarterly results that credited a rebound in business travel demand, stronger revenue and the ability of airlines to capitalize on industry capacity cuts created partly by mergers.

Parker, who created the current US Airways through a 2005 merger involving his former airline, America West, has long been an advocate of industry consolidation.

US Airways held discussions with United before UAL decided to merge with Continental, a deal that just closed.

(Reporting by John Crawley, editing by Maureen Bavdek)

US Air says well positioned if a merger arises