FORT WORTH — Has American Airlines, for decades the industry’s leader, been backed into a corner?
First, Delta Air Lines’ merger with Northwest Airlines two years ago knocked American to No. 2. Now, the proposed union between United and Continental Airlines would push American down to third.
All this leaves American with some of the industry’s highest costs, as well as poor labor relations and a smaller network of routes. Some analysts contend that the airline has few options other than merging with US Airways, which was left out when United decided to go for Continental. Others see American as the “Ugly Betty” of the industry, an airline struggling to find a suitable partner.