Published April 24, 2013
SCOTTSDALE – US Airways Group Chairman and Chief Executive Doug Parker said he was hopeful government leaders would come to a solution that would halt the travel disruptions in wake of U.S. staff cuts of air traffic controllers.
"It's untenable as it is," Parker said in an interview on Wednesday in Scottsdale, Arizona, where US Airways held briefings with media.
"We can't do this for long without having major disruption to the flying public. And nobody wants that. We're highly hopeful something will get resolved soon."
U.S. air travelers have endured delays at some airports this week as furloughs of air traffic controllers started. Airlines have forecast hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue from the furloughs that have been imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The FAA has outlined plans to idle 47,000 workers for up to 11 days through the end of September as part of its plan to meet required spending curbs. Nearly 13,000 of those staffers are air traffic controllers.
The airline industry has expressed concern that delays from the furloughs could depress travel as the critical summer season gets underway.
Parker said he spent a lot of his personal time in the past week calling government officials in his carrier's hub markets to stress the need to end the furloughs.
"Everyone understands the severity of the situation," Parker said. "Good-minded people are trying to figure out ways to stop it. We don't need finger-pointing, we need solutions."
US Airways plans to merge with American Airlines parent AMR Corp this year and form the world's biggest carrier. The company said on Wednesday it expected the combination to close by the end of September.
Parker will be chief executive of the new American Airlines once the merger closes. The $11 billion all-stock merger would finalize the consolidation of legacy U.S. airlines that has helped put the industry on more solid financial footing.
The tie-up would help US Airways and American better compete with United Continental Holdings and Delta Air Lines , both the products of mergers.
(Reporting by Karen Jacobs. Editing by Andre Grenon)