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Posted: 11:30 a.m. Thursday, March 21, 2013
By Jim Bradley
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
The US Airways CEO was in Charlotte Thursday and discussed the merger with American Airlines.
Doug Parker believes Charlotte Douglas's hub will not only survive the merger, but thrive when the two join forces.
“Charlotte is so important to the US Airways system,” he said.
Parker said he believes the Charlotte hub is not only safe, but in a one-on-one interview, he said Charlotte's role in a merged airline could get bigger.
“I would hope over time you'd see growth. That's certainly what we expect,” Parker said.
What he's not willing to do is take sides in the city's tug of war with the state over who will run the airport.
“We honestly don’t care who is in control, so long as they understand how important it is to this community that the costs of the airport remain low,” he said.
Low costs are the major reason Charlotte has 600 daily US Airways flights and is the world's fourth-busiest airport hub.
State leaders pushing for a new airport authority say they're worried current city leaders will allow costs to rise.
On Thursday, Parker made clear what the consequences could be.
“If that were the case, that would be a significant problem for US Airways, for flights here, and I think it would be bad for the community,” he said.
Parker believes neither the city nor state would let that happen.
And so his focus today is on selling the deal, selling Charlotte and rebutting critics who say a bigger airline will mean higher fares.
“There's nothing in our analysis to suggest higher fares,” he said. “There's nothing that would lead us to believe that this is -- it's not about increasing prices.”
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