May 19, 05, 10:25 am
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Join Date: Oct 2002
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US CEO flying to PHX; deal announcement expected as soon as 1 PM today
In today's Arizona Republic
AmWest deal looming
US Airways chief expected in Valley today
Signals were mixed Wednesday on whether America West Airlines and US Airways will announce their merger today as planned.
But there was a clear sign an announcement could be imminent: US Airways CEO Bruce Lakefield was booked on an early morning flight to Phoenix.
Lakefield, who has led the bankrupt carrier since April 2004, is due into Sky Harbor International Airport this morning on an America West flight, sources familiar with his travel plans say. His reservation calls for a one-day stay with a departure late tonight.
The merger discussions largely have taken place in Washington, D.C., so his expected presence in Arizona today is notable. Assuming his travel plans didn't change overnight, Lakefield will arrive as America West's board of directors is meeting. The board has to approve any proposed transaction.
The airlines' most recent plan has been to announce the merger between the nation's seventh- and eighth-largest carriers after the stock market closes at 1 p.m. today Arizona time.
As of last night, investors and other players in the deal still were tending to final details, sources close to the talks say, so there's no guarantee everything will be finished in time for an afternoon announcement. Big businesses, including General Electric, Airbus, Air Canada and a variety of others are involved in the talks, so there are a lot of moving parts, a lot of lawyers and hundreds of millions of dollars involved.
In fact, US Airways Chairman David Bronner told Bloomberg News on Wednesday that a merger had not been approved by enough people to announce it today. He said he expected "some kind of announcement" by the end of this week or early next week.