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American, US Airways boards could meet Wednesday — or maybe not

Feb 11, 2013 11:15 am

Skift Take

Warnings of further delays to a decision could be caused by questions over the role of American’s CEO Tom Horton, which could be problematic given how long the parties have had to settle this.

— Samantha Shankman

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The boards of American Airlines parent AMR Corp. and US Airways have pushed back meetings to consider final plans for their merger, Associated Press sources said Sunday.

If American and US Airways combine, it would create the world’s biggest airline as measured by passenger traffic.

A source close to the matter said the AMR board wants to meet in person, and that the US Airways board would only meet after the AMR board approves a deal. The source requested anonymity because the talks are private.

[Another report suggests the boards will meet on Wednesday.]

It is not clear when the two boards would finally meet. People familiar with the matter said negotiations are continuing on issues that include AMR CEO Tom Horton’s exact title and role in the combined company.

Discussions were centered on Horton being a non-executive chairman of the board while US Airways management, led by CEO Doug Parker, would run the day-to-day operations of the new carrier, which would keep the American Airlines name.

The negotiations could still fall apart. United Airlines and Continental Airlines were within days of announcing a merger in 2008 when that deal fell apart, although they later resumed talks and completed a deal in 2010.

On Friday, US Airways pilots ratified an agreement covering their pay and working terms if there is a merger. That was the last major piece to fall into place on the labor side for a merger to occur. American Airlines pilots approved a similar agreement in December. All three of American’s unions support a merger that would result in US Airways management running the new company.

The committee representing unsecured creditors in AMR’s bankruptcy case had planned to meet Monday.

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