Delta Air Lines ( DALRQ) has told its creditors that it will suffer if a takeover bid by US Airways ( LCC) succeeds and then triggers a new round of airline consolidation.

The suggestion is part of Delta's continuing battle against the hostile merger proposal unveiled Nov. 15 by US Air, which has offered to pay Delta's bankruptcy creditors about $8.6 billion in cash and stock for their claims.

Delta has said a more appropriate value is between $9.4 billion and $12 billion, a range US Airways maintains is excessive.

The management team at Delta is resisting the deal on various fronts. It's lobbying politicians in Washington, working with its pilots union and other employees and, like US Airways, trying to convince creditors to back its plan of reorganization. A Delta spokeswoman declined to comment on the specifics of the discussions between the airline and its creditors.

Part of Delta's argument is that a combination with US Airways could set off a consolidation wave that would leave the Atlanta-based airline in a weaker position, according to a creditor with knowledge of the carrier's efforts.

For instance, in theory a Delta takeover could convince United ( UAUA) and Continental ( CAL) to merge. That could, in turn, make American ( AMR) go after Northwest ( NWACQ).

Both of those potential mergers, if they were to occur, would produce airlines with a higher number of strong domestic hubs and with better international routes, particularly in Asia and Latin America, than a joined Delta and US Airways.

Plus, if the Justice Department allowed a Delta and US Airways merger despite the considerable overlap between the two carriers, it would hardly be in a position to deny similar advantages to other airlines.

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