New York Times Reporting that United/US Airways Deal is Dead

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And I quote,

United Airlines told US Airways on Thursday that it had decided not to continue talks on a possible merger, people with direct knowledge of the situation said.

The chief executive at US Airways, W. Douglas Parker, was told of United’s decision during a meeting with its chief executive, Glenn F. Tilton. The airlines are expected to announce Friday that the discussions have ended, these people said late Thursday. They spoke on condition of anonymity. Both airlines plan to cite the difficulty and expense of combining various labor contracts, particularly agreements covering pilots, these people said.”

The Associated Press, meanwhile, reported this afternoon, ” The CEOs of United Airlines and US Airways met Thursday but there were no indications a decision was near on whether to combine the two carriers, a person with knowledge of the meeting said.”

If the Times‘ version is accurate — then I’d say the folks at US Airways can start to prepare for some serious crunch time. We are told that US Airways’ President Scott Kirby was pretty straightforward today in his assessment of what the airline is looking at now, as a result of higher fuel prices. Kirby, who spoke at a luncheon with a group of US Airways‘ pilots,  would not rule out the possibility of potential furloughs, further reductions in block hours, or the removal of some aircraft from the system as the airline tries to figure out how it is going to pay for an estimated additional $1.6 billion or so in fuel costs for the year.

Oh, yeah, and there are all those “ala carte pricing opportunities.” Which begs the question… long until US Airways matches the American Airlines’ $15 bag charge?

As for United — I don’t know what they intend to do. But given communications we have read over the last week from United employees — particularly pilots — apparently one thing we know very few United employees apparently wanted to do — was a deal with US Airways.