I believe the two most viable mergers would be Delta-Alaska and Frontier-Spirit. Delta and Alaska are already codeshare partners, and a merger would give Delta dominance over the West Coast, while feeding their growing international hub in Seattle. Frontier-Spirit would create a major ULCC force, hopefully bringing lower fares to many cities across the nation and the Caribbean/Latin America.
Delta-Alaska, if it were to occur, may be considered a “hostile takeover.” Their relationship seems to becoming more and more that way with each new route announcement. The Alaska brand may be retained on flights within Alaska, as I am sure the airline has a strong following. Delta’s big, red widget would seem out of place flying from Dead Horse to King Salmon and everywhere in between.
Frontier-Spirit would be a very interesting merger to watch. Their route networks are very complementary, with Spirit already trying to establish a presence in Denver and the West in general. This merger would be most likely to occur if Indigo Partners was unable to revive Frontier. Trenton and Wilmington would probably be cut since Spirit focuses on major markets, a practice that has been very successful.
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