) -- The CEOs of
have decided to kiss and make up, after the former called the latter airline "an ugly girl."
In a letter to employees on Tuesday, Parker said that Continental CEO Jeff Smisek had sent him an apology, and he had accepted it.
In announcing the merger between Continental and
( UAUA) on Monday, Smisek said that he contacted United CEO Glenn Tilton after reading in the newspaper that US Airways was talking to United about a merger. "I didn't want him to marry the ugly girl," Smisek said then. "I wanted him to marry the pretty one."
In his letter, Parker said that Smisek "sent me an apology, stating that he 'got carried away in the moment,' 'really felt badly' and 'had no good excuse.' I believe Jeff was sincere in his apology, have accepted it on behalf of all of us and am ready to move past it.
"Like me, many of you found his comment both chauvinistic and offensive to the hard-working people of US Airways," said Parker, who added that US Airways is not ugly. "In fact, we are performing better than Continental on almost all of the important metrics of our business," Parker said, including profit margin, rate of financial improvement, and on-time performance in 2008, 2009 and the first quarter of 2010.
The stock market has also weighed in at this beauty contest, pushing US Airways shares up 42% this year, while Continental is up 15%, Parker wrote.
Of course, it is important that these two CEOS get along. It is not unreasonable to suppose that once the merger between Continental and United is completed, the quest to become ever bigger could lead to a merger with US Airways, also a Star Alliance member.
-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.