Possible US Airways, American merger could be good news for Charlotte

by: Holly Maynard Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The head of US Airways said if a merger with American Airlines does happen, he would move the headquarters to Fort Worth and keep the American name. Doug Parker made those comments recently in an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Eyewitness News looked into what that could mean for Charlotte travelers, its airport and the overall economy. About 90 percent of the flights at Charlotte Douglas are operated by US Airways, and the airport is the airline's largest hub. So, when Doug Parker talks, more than 7,000 US Airways employees in Charlotte, millions of travelers, and Charlotte residents listen.

When longtime Charlotte resident Ashley Woody heard the news, she was concerned.

"I just don't want to lose our main hub here," Wood said.

Experts say that likely will not happen, because Parker has said he sees Charlotte as a strong hub.

American filed for bankruptcy last year. Robert Herbst, an airline industry consultant and founder of www.airlinefinancials.com, told Channel 9 he is convinced a merger will happen, and travelers should like that news.

"Having American and US Airways together in the long term is much better for the consumer," Herbst said.

One reason is because American flies to several places US Airways doesn't fly to, so travelers will have more destination options, especially in Latin America, North America and parts of Europe.

Several businesses have relocated to Charlotte over the years, in part because of the large US Airways hub at Charlotte Douglas.

Herbst said it won't be a big detriment to the Charlotte economy if the US Airways name goes away, because the new airline will be much stronger.

"I'm willing to bet there will be considerable jobs added into the Charlotte community because of the merger with American Airlines," Herbst said.

He also said if the merger doesn't happen, over time, Delta and United would pick away at American and US Airways and make them weaker airlines, which could hurt the Charlotte area.