Doug Parker's rise through the ranks of the airline industry - New York News

Doug Parker's rise through the ranks of the airline industry

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PHOENIX -

At the center of this merger is the man in charge of US Airways. In the last 12 years, Doug Parker has completely changed the face of the airline industry.

Parker was hired in 1995 by valley-based America West Airlines to be its chief financial officer. In 2001, he became its CEO just 10 days before the 9-11 attacks.

Just weeks after 9-11, he testified before congress in support of a $15-billion aid package for the airline industry.

"It'll help us stabilize the industry, it'll help America West stabilize some of our flying and allow us to continue flying the network that we're flying today," said Parker in 2001.

In 2005, Parker took the smaller America West Airlines and led a successful takeover of US Airways, merging the two airlines.

The merged airline kept the US Airways name, but the headquarters stayed in Tempe, where America West was based. And it would be Parker who would run US Airways.

"It's a great day for America West, it's a great day for US Airways, it's a great day for our customers," said Parker in 2005.

But Parker didn't stop there. Always pushing for more consolidation, he made a run at Delta Airlines in late 2006, but withdrew the bid in early 2007.

Delta, of course, later merged with Northwest.

In 2008, and in 2010, Parker tried to merge with United Airlines. United walked away from the talks in 2008 and in 2010. United later decided to merge with Continental instead.

With the Delta-Northwest and United-Continental mergers, that left one final merger possibility for his airline. American Airlines.

When American went into bankruptcy last year, Parker put the wheels in motion.

"We've taken a long hard look at American, and we know that together we can build the greatest airline in the world and could compete more effectively with United, Delta and the others," said Parker in 2012.

And Parker took the lessons he learned from the Delta and United takeover attempts and used them in this attempt with American.

Among the things he did -- getting the support early on of American's three main labor groups -- the pilots, the flight attendants, and the mechanics.

The new airline, which will be named American Airlines, will be based in Dallas-Fort Worth. Federal regulators still need to approve the merger, and that is still months away. But Parker doesn't expect the merger would be blocked.

"The over 900 routes that we fly individually, there are only 12 of them where we have overlap. So this is really about taking two airlines and putting them together and providing better service to customers. And I would note, creates a nice third competitor to larger airlines so in our view, it increases competition, doesn't decrease competition," said Parker today.

For more information about the merger: www.newamericanarriving.com

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