US Airways has said that it would move its headquarters from Tempe, Ariz. to American's in Fort Worth, Texas.
Nothing in the non-disclosure agreement with US Airways prevents American from discussing a merger with another airline. It just can't disclose details of its US Airways merger talks with a third party. In a note to American Airlines managers Friday morning about US Airways, the airlines said "other parties have also signed confidentiality agreements."
International Airlines Group, parent of British Airways and Spanish carrier Iberia, is one of those parties, British Airways spokeswoman Caroline Titmuss said Friday. The two airlines already have a joint business agreement for flights across the Atlantic Ocean and were founding members of the OneWorld frequent flier alliance.
The agreement with British Airways could be a sign that American is lining up the financing to remain independent, said Ray Neidl, an airline specialist with the Maxim Group.
American spokesman Bruce Hicks wouldn't say if any other airlines had signed one.
The CEOs of JetBlue Airways Corp. and Alaska Air Group Inc. have both publically said they are not interested in a merger with American. JetBlue spokeswoman Alison Croyle said Friday that the airline has not signed a non-disclosure agreement with American.
Virgin America and Frontier Airlines, part of Republic Airways Holdings Inc., have also been discussed as merger partners but representatives from the airlines have declined to comment, saying it was just speculation.
Regardless, US Airways is the most-likely partner for a merger.
"I don't think there's really any other realistic prospect out there for American," said Savanthi Syth, an airlines analyst with Raymond James.
The airlines warned in a joint press release that they will not "provide any further announcements regarding the status of any such discussions unless" a merger is ready to be announced or if the talks fall apart.
US Airways' stock closed Friday at $10.66, up 2.5 percent. Shares in the company have more than doubled since AMR filed for bankruptcy, driven up by merger speculation.
Scott Mayerowitz can be reached at http://twitter.com/GlobeTrotScott.
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