The common (or, more correctly, a common) perception in the industry is that consolidation makes sense in the long term. The talk of a KLM-AF merger no doubt will prompt a lot of soul-searching among enthusiasts, analysts, and insiders alike.
But, for different reasons, I can't think of a single high-profile merger in the last 10 years that has yielded a positive result: that has benefited customers, satisfied employees, and improved earnings significantly. Ask any former TWAers about the AA/TW merger, and I'm sure you'll find that it didn't satisfy the second condition. The Swissair fiasco is a testament to the dangers of over-complicated consolidation. The US/UA merger failed when US (prompted by the DoJ) had second thoughts; the QF/NZ merger was barred by regulatory authorities; and regulators worldwide have openly said they oppose industry consolidation as a panacea for all that ails the industry. To all those who favor consolidation, I say: Prove them wrong. Have there really been any successful high-profile consolidations in the last decade?