Christine Grimaldi

Christine Grimaldi
Articles
Expectations High That American, US Airways Will Unveil Merger Feb. 14 

AMR Corp. and US Airways is increasingly likely to unveil a merger agreement on Thursday.

The boards of directors of the two operators are expected to meet today to vote on the merger, according to two sources close to the negotiations. Should the separate meetings proceed as expected, the boards will approve the deal, which would allow the companies to announce the accord at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport the next day, the sources said.

Meeting Schedule Could Result In Feb. 14 AMR Merger Announcement 

The boards of directors of AMR Corp. and US Airways could meet Feb. 13 to vote on a potential merger of the two carriers.

According to two sources close to the merger negotiations, the boards would meet separately to vote on the deal, and the merger could be formally unveiled Feb. 14. They caution, however, that the deal still is being negotiated and may take longer to finalize.

Airbus Restores American Airlines A321NEO Order 

Airbus has reinstated American Airlines’ order for 130 A321NEOs 13 months after taking the firm order off its books when the U.S. carrier entered Chapter 11. The deal was announced in July 2011 when American split a record narrowbody order between Airbus and Boeing. Boeing last week also logged American's 737 MAX order as well a 787 deal unveiled in 2008.

American Eagle’s ALPA Unit Attempts To Derail AMR’s Deal With Republic 

American Eagle Airlines’ Air Line Pilot Association (ALPA) chapter have asked the U.S. bankruptcy court overseeing AMR Corp.’s restructuring to block a 12-year capacity purchase agreement signed last month with Republic Airways Holdings.

AMR executives “provide no explanation for why it would make sense to use a third-party carrier, one that provides regional feed to American’s mainline competitors, instead of AMR’s wholly owned subsidiary, whose labor costs have been successfully restructured in this bankruptcy,” ALPA says in its court filing.

Democrats Warn Of Adverse Effects Of Sequestration On FAA’s NextGen Plans 

Imminent government-wide budget cuts could significantly hinder the FAA’s five-year capital investment plan, which maps out National Airspace System modernization projects, including NextGen, claims a new report from Democrats on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee.

The FAA’s overall budget could be reduced by $1 billion if the sequestration cuts go into effect March 1. According to the report, this is likely to adversely affect a capital investment plan that already has been constrained.

TSA Accepts Improvements Needed In Use Of Canines In Airport Security 

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) acknowledges that it needs to do a better job managing its canine detection program at domestic airports after a federal report highlighted lapses across the program.

Passenger screening canines are trained to identify and track the odor of explosives on individuals, but some canine teams repeatedly failed to meet the TSA’s monthly training requirement for explosives detection proficiency over a period from May 2011 through April 2012, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

UPS Abandons TNT Takeover After European Regulator Blocks Deal 

United Parcel Service (UPS) yesterday formally withdrew its bid for TNT Express after the European Commission (EC) announced it would block the proposed acquisition.

UPS planned to abandon the TNT Express offer after European competition authorities notified the logistics companies earlier this month that their proposals to remedy EC concerns fell short. The EC has long questioned the merger’s possible effect on competition for European international small-parcel delivery services.

AMR, Flight Attendants At Odds Over Republic Feeder Contract 

AMR Corp. is defending its decision to contract additional feeder operations to Republic Airlines as part of a plan to provide incremental growth at its American Eagle Airlines affiliate with Embraer E-175s.

AMR subsidiary American Airlines has long planned to diversify its regional feed, and the announcement last week is “consistent with previous statements and the company’s plan for an increased use of larger regional aircraft,” a spokesman tells Aviation Week.

Long-Elusive Trans-Siberian Overflight Rights Top Next Month’s Russia-U.S. Talks 

U.S.-based cargo operators that fly near trans-Siberian routes over Russia could soon gain full access to the routes or, at the least, liberalized overflight rights.

American Assigns 18 City-Pairs To ExpressJet’s Feeder Agreement 

SkyWest Inc.’s ExpressJet division will operate up to 38 daily departures from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) under a feeder contract with American Airlines scheduled to start Feb. 14.

The carrier will serve 18 destinations across Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, North and South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin, although almost half of the destinations are Texas, Terry Vais, VP-customer care tells Aviation Week.

American Eyes Incremental Increase In Feeder Capacity From Republic Deal 

American Airlines’ new 12-year capacity purchase agreement with Republic Airways Holdings will provide incremental growth at American Eagle Airlines even as the feeder operation continues to cull smaller jets.

United Warns Of Unit Cost Growth After Posting Poor 2012 Results 

United Airlines expects to end 2013 with essentially the same capacity as 2012 despite plans to cut available seat miles by up to 5.1% in the first three months of the year.

“We are committed to capacity discipline in achieving our return on invested capital goal,” Chief Revenue Officer Jim Compton said yesterday during the airline’s fourth-quarter results conference call.

Pinnacle Headquarters Decision Imminent 

Pinnacle Airlines by the end of January will likely decide if it will relocate its Memphis International Airport-based headquarters, a spokesman tells Aviation Week. The regional carrier, which is restructuring under Chapter 11 protection, will not say what cities are being considered, although Delta Air Lines’ hub at Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport has been widely speculated for several months. Last week, a U.S. bankruptcy court approved a deal that will allow Delta to purchase Pinnacle.

Cargolux Commits To 747-8Fs, Seeks New Financial Backers 

Cargolux is searching for financial partners following the departure of a key investor late last year but remains uncertain about what course of action it will pursue, says the head of the Luxembourg-based operation.

“Whether it’s an airline or an industrial partner or a pure financial partner, I think that decision still has to be made,” interim President and CEO Richard Forson tells Aviation Week.

Qatar Airways in December relinquished its 35% stake in Cargolux, returning its holding to the government of Luxembourg for $117.5 million.

IATA-ICAO Safety Plan Awaits African Union Ratification 

A plan to align aviation in African countries with international safety standards by 2015 will come before the African Union for formal ratification by the end of the month, says Guenther Matschnigg, International Air Transport Association senior VP-safety operations and infrastructure. Ministers from about 40 African states approved the plan last July, and now the African Union must decide to ratify the joint IATA-International Civil Aviation Organization venture, which sets a number of benchmarks.

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