Alaska Air Group Incorporated
Fuel prices, competition has airlines looking to consolidate

As U.S. airlines pressure each other with low fares, executives are keeping an eye on consolidation efforts as the one sure way to squeeze profits out of an industry plagued by sky high fuel costs. Many carriers have tried to boost profits by offering travelers fewer seats. But US Airways Group Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Doug Parker said Thursday that airlines only have so much capacity left to trim on their own, probably less than 5 percent. "Consolidation allows you do something much more than that," Parker said. He added that when America West Airlines combined with the former, Virginia-based US Airways, it was able to cut capacity by 15 percent as it merged...