Shares of UAL Corp and US Airways Group rose on Thursday in the wake of news that the two airlines were in merger talks.

Neither airline confirmed the talks on Wednesday.

Clearly these potential talks are a massive positive for US Airways and United, but I think it speaks volumes to the changing landscape in the airline industry, said Morningstar Equity analyst Basili Alukos.

He said a potential major airline merger, combined with the capacity cuts of 2008 and 2009 hint that the industry could be en route to earning its cost of capital.

History is not on the side of the airlines, but maybe the horrible losses encountered recently have scared newcomers enough to reconsider starting an airline, Alukos said.

Two sources familiar with the US Airways/UAL talks said the airlines were considering a tie-up that would create the second-largest U.S. airline. The talks were not in advanced stages, they said.

US Airways and UAL discussed a merger in 2000 and again in 2008. The chief executives of both airlines are vocal proponents of consolidation for an industry that has long suffered from competitive pressures and overcapacity.

The last merger of two major U.S. airlines was between Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines in 2008.

United Airlines parent UAL shares were up 7.55 percent at $20.38 on Nasdaq. US Airways shares were up 13.78 percent at $7.76 on the New York Stock Exchange.

We think a deal would help what we see as US Airways' main problem, a lack of international breadth and scale, while United would gain control over a low cost airline with strong domestic route map, said Jim Corridore, equity analyst at Standard & Poors'.

Airline mergers are complex and unions, antitrust regulators or other circumstances could derail a deal, he said. We are positive on US Airways shares based on improving airline industry fundamentals and keep our $10 target price.

Reuters Breaking Views columns

(Reporting by Kyle Peterson; Editing by Derek Caney)