Okay, more what-if's ahead, so you have been warned:
In reading the other posts that have as of late been going rampant, things are about to get exciting in our civ-av world. 2007 is going to be an exciting year. For one, carriers are finally and overwhelmingly returning to profitability. (yeah!) Also, Washington is going to be Democrat (not so yeah, but maybe good for the industry?)
1) Doug Parker started all of this consolidation speculation that people like Mike Boyd have vehemently stated is going to happen, and I think by this point we have all consoled ourselves to the fact that some, if not a lot of consolidation is going to occur in the fairly near future.
2) Numerous threads are currently VERY active concerning mergers/acquisitions involving carriers such as DL, NW, CO, US, UA, AA, F9, FL, B6, and YX. I think it is important to note that if ONE of these actually happens, many will follow.
US/DL. In my opinion, now that DL/NW has been leaked, will not occur. It just doesn't make as much sense. DL/NW seems like a very good fit. Certainly there are many issues that will need to be addressed, but together the carriers could become fairly dominate...with the right management and business plan.
DL/NW. This seems to be a sure bet. I do not own stock in any airline companies, but if I owned DL, US, or NW stock, I would be for the DL/NW deal...even though the US offer has it's financial rewards (initially).
***NOTE***Industry consolifation will hinge upon what happens with DL. If DL maintains its position as a standalone carrier, all my bets are OFF!
CO/UA. A given if DL/NW occurs. Likely if US/DL occurs. This is the second best fit that I see and one that could give any DL merger/acquisition a run for it's money. I feel it should happen anyway, but I don't feel it will unless someone consolidates first.
CO/NW. In my opinion, this is a non-issue. I don't think this merger/acquisition has much meat, and I don't feel it is a good fit.
FL/YX. This could happen regardless of what happens with the legacies. FL seems intent on getting YX for whatever reason, my thought is the 712's.
FL/F9. Possible, but not likely. Their marketing agreement works well, and with that there seems to be no need to screw up the mix.
B6/F9. I think this is the third best match. While there are issues to be worked out, again there is much to be gained in the case of legacies merging. Route structure would be the main benefit here.
AA. I really donlt see a good suitor in the mix for AA. They would be irreparably harmed by any idustry merger, yet they are large enough that antitrust issues would undoubtably prevent them from solidifying their position. AS maybe??? HA??? Both? I truly don't see any value in AA/US.
US. Again, another airline without a suitor. If consolidation begins, without US, they are toast.
In the next 12-24 months, I see DL/NW, CO/UA, FL/YX, and B6/F9 coming into existence. That is serious consolidation and I think it will happen. The big winners would be DL/NW, CO/UA, and WN. The big losers would easily be AA and US.
These are unique times we find ourselves in and I think that as civ-av fans, we shall have much to talk about and discuss in the coming months as things come to light. As the captain would say, "Sit back and enjoy the flight."
Mike S in AUS