America West Holdings
America West Holdings Corporation was an Arizona-based company whose primary holding was America West Airlines. On May 19, 2005, America West Holdings Corporation announced it would acquire the Arlington, Virginia-based US Airways Group.
The merged company adopted the more well-known US Airways Group name and was based in America West's former corporate offices in Tempe. US Airways Group corporate offices in Arlington were closed, and most US Airways management were laid off. America West CEO Doug Parker became CEO of the merged company. The merger was completed on September 27, 2005. A merger of the two airlines' FAA operating certificates occurred on September 25, 2007 (the US Airways certificate survived), ending the 24-year history of the America West Airlines name.
The company was founded September 4, 1981 by a group of investors led by Edward R. Beauvais. The first flight for America West Airlines took place on August 1, 1983 using a leased Boeing 737. Beauvais ran the company until he resigned in 1992.
In December, 2004, America West Holdings Corporation announced interest in buying part of ATA Airlines, but did not submit a bid.
On May 19, 2005 the corporation and US Airways Group Inc. announced plans to merge their operations.
On September 27, 2005, the merger with US Airways Group Inc. was completed.
Merger with US Airways Group
On April 22, 2005 it was announced that America West Holdings Corporation was in talks with US Airways Group Inc., which owns US Airways, regarding a possible merger with the latter. As reported in the press, US Airways would create a new holding company. Shares in that company would be given to America West Holdings shareholders as well as creditors of US Airways.
On May 19, 2005, America West Holdings Corporation and US Airways Group Inc. announced plans to merge their operations. The Wall Street Journal reported that Doug Parker, America West's chief executive, said the merger would create "the nation's first full-service airline with the customer-friendly pricing structure of a low-fare carrier." The proposed combined airline hopes to achieve profitability by cutting $600 million a year in costs. New equity investors, including Air Wisconsin Airways Corporation and ACE Aviation Holdings, the parent company of Air Canada, pledged to invest a total of $350 million in the new company. Airbus was also one of the investors.
Later investments increased the total new equity raised to $565 million. Of that, ACE Aviation would contribute $75 million for a 7% ownership stake. ACE Aviation would also receive a five-year, C$1.5 billion (US$1.19 billion) contract to maintain all of the merged company's mainline jets. ACE Aviation would also provide other services for the new company, including ground handling, training, and operation of regional jets. Such cooperation is expected to bring more traffic to Air Canada from the merged carriers, and could lead to a code-sharing alliance in the future, the Journal reported.
The Journal characterized the merger proposal as "[offering] a huge break to US Airways and potentially [carrying] big risks for America West," which was in better fiscal shape. In the weeks leading up to the merger announcement, Phoenix-area media reported that local passengers worried about cuts in service to the city's Sky Harbor International Airport, where America West has its largest hub; such things have happened before when US Airways (or a predecessor company) merged with a regional airline. But while the new company would operate under the US Airways name, management would be led by America West Airlines managers and would be located at America West's Phoenix headquarters.
Under terms of the merger agreement, the America West board of Directors created two new entities. 1. A new "US Airways Group" was created to receive the bankrupt US Airways assets and form the new corporation. 2. "America West Holdings" was merged into "Barbell Acquisition Corporation", a subsidiary of the new "US Airways Group", on September 27, 2005. Through this transaction, "America West Holdings" became a wholly owned subsidiary of the new "US Airways Group". The "America West Holdings" stockholders were required to authorize these changes. Upon completion the new "US Airways Group" would be owned by 37% of "America West Holdings" stockholders, 11% from the old "US Airways Group" debtholders, and 52% for new equity investors. Both of the merged airlines retained their names and continued operating until September 25, 2007 when America West's FAA certificate was merged into US Airways.
- America West Airlines
- America West Express
- America West Vacations This division provided vacation packages that include airfare, accommodations and optional rental cars at selected destinations. These are only offered for destinations that America West flies to or offers as a code share destination.
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- "US Airways Plan Of Reorganization Receives U.S. Bankruptcy Court Approval" (Press release). America West Holdings Corporation. 2005-09-16.
- "PROSPECTUS US AIRWAYS GROUP, INC.". p. A-2-4. Retrieved 2008-08-23.
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