Updated from 9:35 a.m. ESTUS Airways ( LCC) CEO Doug Parker said Tuesday that he would be perfectly content to refocus his attention on his own company if the bid to acquire Delta ( DALRQ) falls through. His comments came on a conference call after US Airways posted a fourth-quarter profit of $12 million, or 13 cents a share, compared with a loss of $261 million the previous year. Excluding items, the company would have earned 91 cents in the most recent quarter, 11 cents ahead of estimates. "We have a company to run, one that we're doing really well at as today's results show," Parker said. "We are so happy with where we are, we're not going to keep chasing this thing. We're quite happy taking care of our own debtholders, whom we haven't defaulted on and don't plan to default on." US Airways has set a Feb. 1 deadline for Delta's creditors to take "affirmative action" on its hostile $10.2 billion takeover bid. The action would have to include postponing a scheduled Feb. 7 court hearing on Delta's disclosure statement. "If the creditors committee is not willing to do what it should do for the people it represents, the people who have been defaulted on by Delta management," US Airways will walk away, Parker said. He declined to say whether US Airways would raise its bid for a second time but acknowledged that the possibility has been raised by bondholders because the value of Delta bonds is dropping and they "are getting more and more agitated."
If Delta and Northwest ( NWACQ) both emerge independently from bankruptcy, short-term prospects for industry consolidation disappear, Parker said. "The right way for this to happen in our business is when companies are in that kind of stress, to make them stronger," he said. "If they choose to come out stand-alone, I don't think you're going to see any consolidation in this business until the next cycle." Revenue for the quarter was $2.79 billion, up nearly 9%. For the full year, the airline made $507 million excluding special items, the highest for any of the six legacy carriers. "US Airways has never been, among the big six airlines, the most profitable," said Parker, who presided over the 2005 merger between the old US Airways and America West Airlines. "But we like it here, and we're planning on staying here." The carrier said it expects first-quarter revenue per available seat mile growth to be in the midsingle digits. During the fourth quarter, mainline passenger RASM rose 8.6%. On the cost side, mainline cost per available set mile, excluding fuel, special items and merger costs, rose 2.8% to 7.64 cents during the fourth quarter. Parker said spending on the Delta merger effort was "an extremely small number
that is a fraction of what the bankrupt company on the other side is spending."