NEW YORK, Nov. 8 (UPI) --
High fuel costs will prompt major airlines to merge as a way of controlling operating costs, US Airways Group Inc.'s chief said in New York Wednesday.
And if deal-making starts to happen, US Airways "will be in the middle of it," Chief Executive Officer Doug Parker told analysts at a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. industry conference.
With crude oil prices nearing $100 a barrel, air fares are bound to increase, Parker said.
Crude closed at $96.37 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Wednesday, with prices reaching as high as $98.62 before easing back.
"In today's environment, we believe there certainly is room for additional price increases," Parker said. But raising fares will be difficult, "if the economy goes into a softening mode.
"The industry is still extremely fragmented, which puts severe pressure on the financials in difficult times."
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