US Airways Set to Receive $125 Million

US Airways and the parent of two of its commuter carriers reached an agreement last week that gives Philadelphia's largest airline more of the money it will need as it tries to emerge from bankruptcy this summer.

The airline's parent, US Airways Group Inc., said Republic Airways Holdings Inc. and its majority shareholder, Wexford Capital L.L.C. of Greenwich, Conn., would invest $125 million when US Airways gets out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The investment is contingent on US Airways' securing $350 million in new cash, including Wexford's $125 million and another $125 million investment announced two weeks ago, as part of its reorganization, the airline said. The recent agreements leave it $100 million shy of that target.

US Airways says it plans to emerge in June from its second trip in two years into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The deal with Republic and Wexford is the second in recent weeks involving operators of US Airways Express feeder service.

Republic Airways is the parent of Chautauqua Airlines and Republic Airlines, two of the commuter carriers in the US Airways Express network.

The other investment came from Eastshore Aviation L.L.C., the financing arm for another commuter, Air Wisconsin. Eastshore's planned $125 million in financing can be converted into equity if US Airways comes out of Bankruptcy Court protection as planned.

The agreement with Republic Airways and Wexford gives US Airways the option to obtain an additional $110 million by selling to Republic 137 landing-and-takeoff slots at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and New York's LaGuardia Airport, 13 regional jets, and equipment related to the jets.

"I think you would call this a strategic investment by Republic," said Vaughn Cordle, an analyst with AirlineForecasts, a Washington consulting firm. Having access to slots at LaGuardia and National "is a way for Republic to expand... . They may not care about US Airways as an investment."

US Airways also said General Electric Co.'s aviation-services unit, the airline's major aircraft financier, had agreed to a US Airways request to extend until April 15 the date for filing its bankruptcy reorganization plan. The deadline had been last Tuesday.