Expert: American Airlines merger likely a fiasco for passengers, industry

February 15, 2013  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - American Airlines' planned merger with US Airways could leave the flying public holding the virtual air-sick bag, according to the researcher responsible for the annual Airline Quality Rating (AQR) report.

Purdue aviation technology professor Brent Bowen says every merger over the past 25 years has resulted in each of the two airlines significantly declining across the board in key performance benchmarks such as late flights, lost luggage, safety and customer satisfaction.

"There will be no benefits to performance and consumers will not see more quality," Bowen said. "Employees of both airlines will be unhappy and destabilized for an extended period."

US Airways has consistently outscored American over the past five years in the AQR, but the smaller partner will not have the heft to bring up the performance of the larger company during the inevitable clash of corporate cultures and technology, Bowen said.

Besides mining and digesting more than two decades of federally collected statistics, the AQR researchers continue to collect and collate thousands of customer satisfaction surveys at The input from America's frequent flyers echo and amplify the statistical findings.

The comprehensive Airline Quality Rating report is released each spring at the National Press Club and is the basis for broad-based media coverage of the airline industry.

Writer: Jim Schenke, 765-237-7296,

Source: Brent Bowen,

Note to Journalists: Brent Bowen is available in person or via satellite, Vyvx, Skype, phone or ISDN. For more information, contact Jim Schenke, Purdue News Service, at 765-237-7296,

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