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How Lee Moak Changed the Airline Industry

In November 2006, as Delta prepared to exit bankruptcy, US Airways launched a surprise $8 billion takeover bid. Pilots took the lead in fending it off, launching a "Keep Delta My Delta" campaign that not only underscored their importance but also brought employees and management closer. Parker withdrew the offer in January 2007 and Delta emerged from bankruptcy in April 2007. It announced plans to merge with Northwest in April 2008.

The carrier quickly faced another problem -- sharply rising oil prices. "It became apparent that we might have to file again," Moak said. "Having been through that process, we knew it wasn't good for anyone. (Rising fuel cost) was a secular change, not a cyclical change, and Delta pilots saw that ahead of other pilots. The pilots' strategic planning showed that the best way for the airline industry to become profitable was to participate in mergers and consolidation, so we started to pursue that."

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Ted Reed

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