U.S. Airways Pilot and Professor Weighs in on Airline Merger

Published on Tue, February 26, 2013

American Airlines and U.S. Airways recently merged, creating one of the biggest airlines in the world. With a combined 21 percent market share in the United States alone, "The New American Airlines"—as the consolidated entity will be called—will be a major force in the airline industry.

Capt. Joe McDonald is an assistant professor of business at Marywood and an airline pilot. He has been a pilot for 32 years, flying national and international routes from Florida to Mexico to the Pacific Northwest. As a pilot for U.S. Airways, Capt. McDonald has experienced three previous mergers.

"The airline industry has been consolidating over the years," Capt. McDonald explains. "As always, when something changes, people always wonder: 'How is that going to work out?' And it always does."

It is important for students in Marywood's aviation management program to note the shifting dynamics in the airline industry, such as large corporate mergers. A veteran of the airline industry, Capt. McDonald instills in his students the lessons he has learned.

"The pilot group is a very task-oriented group," he says. "When you get into an airplane, you have to put aside all of the business distractions. I don't know of any pilots who say: 'I'm not going to give 100 percent today, because they cut my pay, or this is a lousy contract.' Every day, you have to be ready."

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