I could never understand some of the mergers. DL
killed most of Western, AA
killed most of Reno..............why bother if you are going to gut the route structure and let others like WN
in for free?
Bro, that's the $64,000 question. It's also one of, if not the biggest problem facing the airlines: they are too shortsighted and operate in a REactive mode as opposed to a PROactive one.
Except possibly for aircraft purchases, most decisions that airlines make (running the gamut from what brand of soft drink to serve to what kinds of meals to what cities will be added/dropped to who to buy or merge with) tend to be spur-of-the-moment, and whatever seems to suit them on THAT particular day. No thought is ever given to the long range consequences. Airlines are indeed hand-to-mouth, day-by-day businesses. Their only concern is "today". Yesterday is forgotten. Tomorrow, let alone 5 or 10 years from now is to be worried about...well.....later.
As mentioned above, PSA was bought largely on a whim because PSA was afraid of American, which had just purchased AirCal, it's main competitor.
USAir, having seen comparable sized airlines such as Western, Frontier, Republic, etc. all get snapped up figured that they might be next and decided to engorge themselves to the point where no other airline would touch them. I guess in that sense, the PSA and Piedmont mergers made sense. USAir was never bought out.