AirTran Buyout Likely If Delta Bankruptcy Exit Unsuccessful According To Author Harry Nolan

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Wide speculation about the future of Delta Air Lines, if it does not emerge from bankruptcy, has focused on a merger with another trunk carrier. Instead, Harry L. Nolan, Jr, author of the acclaimed book, "Airline Without A Pilot - Lessons in Leadership" predicts that AirTran is the likely candidate to buy the Delta brand name and selected pieces of the company.

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Airline Without A Pilot - Lessons in Leadership

Delta continues its struggle to survive bankruptcy and restore its financial health according to Harry Nolan, author of acclaimed book, "Airline Without A Pilot - Lessons in Leadership." The book documents Delta's success, decline and path to bankruptcy.

Delta lost $500 million in the first two months of 2006, although the loss was less than the comparable 2005 period. Delta's cumulative losses since January 1, 2001 have been $12.8 billion, including an airline industry record loss of $5.2 billion in 2004.

Author Nolan, a strategy and leadership consultant, says, "I hope Delta survives, but they are in an increasingly precarious position. The immediate threat of a flight attendant strike at subsidiary Comair and a pilot strike at Delta have the potential to be a tipping point for the company."

A key component of Delta's survival strategy is earning a greater share of revenues from more profitable international flights while cutting less lucrative domestic flights. However, most other trunk carriers are following the same strategy, setting the stage for future price competition internationally that is as intense as ongoing domestic price competition. Nolan believes that it is also not a matter of if, but when, there will be significant low-cost carrier competition on international routes. As a result, while Delta's international strategy may temporarily help lessen its financial crisis, it is not likely to be a viable long-term strategy for survival.

Should Delta not survive as an independent carrier, Nolan believes AirTran is the likely competitor to pick up the most desirable pieces of Delta - particularly its brand name. "While the Delta name is tarnished, it still has a value. AirTran could build on a combination of its proven ability to make a profit with the Delta tradition of service to take their company to a higher level quickly."

AirTran is no stranger to acquiring a company for its name. The former ValuJet acquired Orlando-based AirTran and immediately changed their original brand name to that of the acquired company.

AirTran's major operations are based in Atlanta. As a result, they have existing infrastructure that would enable them to begin assimilating quickly any gates and routes acquired from Delta along with selected aircraft.

Just as Delta was able to acquire Pan Am aircraft after Pan Am ended, AirTran would be in a position to acquire selectively Delta aircraft that would complement their existing fleet of modern equipment.

For additional information about the book, "Airline Without A Pilot - Lessons in Leadership," or its author, see and

The author is available for print and broadcast media interviews. Call (404) 705-9093 or email to schedule.

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