ATLANTA (AP) _ The head of Delta's pilots union said in a letter
to members today that the carrier shouldn't be forced into a merger
with United by a hedge fund he believes is only interested in
short-term financial gain.
The letter from Lee Moak, chairman of the union's executive
committee, served as an effort to sharpen the union's position at a
time when high fuel prices and some investors are putting pressure
on airlines to consolidate to reduce costs.
It also was a rebuke of Pardus Capital Management LP, the hedge
fund that is urging Atlanta-based Delta to combine with United.
While Delta's pilots union has said it is not opposed to a
merger involving Delta, it wants to have a role in the process and
to ensure that the pilots have a meaningful stake in the new
company if a deal is reached.
The pilots union can't stop a merger on its own. But it has a
nonvoting seat on Delta's board and influence with management and
other employees. It was a vocal critic of US Airways' hostile bid
to buy Delta. The bid, which came while Delta was in bankruptcy,
was defeated in January. Delta emerged from bankruptcy in April.