Higher fuel prices and a weaker economy increase the odds that Delta Air Lines will seek a merger, some analysts say. Some observers say a merger could prompt the carrier to cut service and jobs at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, where it operates its second-largest hub.
Airlines are expanding into more international markets to keep pace with the global economy. All six U.S. legacy carriers will fly to London's Heathrow airport by this summer, and discount airlines are also looking for ways to expand overseas through partnerships.
Labor issues prompted a Wall Street analyst to downgrade shares of United Airlines on Monday. James Higgins of Soleil Securities Group noted that actions by pilots may have contributed to extensive delays in December. United's shares declined 5.9% after the downgrade.