The new American doesn’t step on toes in Atlanta, but it does pose a significant challenge to Delta’s ambitious plans for expansion at New York’s LGA coming in just behind Delta's 45.5% slot control.
Even though a combined American-US Airways will create a larger competitor to Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, Delta executives support further industry consolidation. Delta and other airlines see industry mergers as a way to ease the intense competition between airlines that over the years led to financial losses and bankruptcies.
American and US Airways are small players in Atlanta, with about 3 percent of the total market, so the merger likely will have limited impact on local fares. Delta remains dominant, controlling about three-quarters of the passenger traffic at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
Rather than fretting about the prospect of a bigger competitor, Delta executives and employees spent Thursday celebrating a profitable 2012 and paying out $372 million in profit sharing to employees. The profit-sharing payouts for each employee amount to about 6.7 percent of eligible earnings.
“We’re happy for the [American-US Airways] merger,” Allison Ausband, Delta’s vice president of reservations sales and customer care, said Thursday.
Ausband said Delta is focused on continuing to grow revenue and improve service.
“Regardless of what’s going on with US Airways and American, this is about our customers,” she said.