“Our industry is in a mess, if you haven’t noticed”

by Christopher Elliott on February 29, 2008

The doom-and-gloom talk among airlines is intensifying. Earlier this week, Aviation Week declared the industry had begun to see the effects of cooling consumer demand. And yesterday, US Airways’ chief executive, Doug Parker, sounded the alarm, warning that the U.S. airline industry is heading into a downturn as it grapples with record high oil prices and a weakening economy.

“Our industry is in a mess, if you haven’t noticed,” he told Reuters’ Kyle Peterson.

But the faltering economy isn’t entirely to blame. In the interview, Parker took aim at the likely merger between Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines. (US Airways tried but failed to acquire Delta last year.) He suggested the pilots of both airlines, who have stood in the way of approving the merger, are being unfairly singled out for the apparent failure of the Northwest-Delta union. “I don’t think it’s fair to put the pilots in that position,” Parker told Reuters. “In some sense, I feel for the pilots at Delta and Northwest.”

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