Thursday, February 14, 2013

After a year of rumors and speculation, today US Airways and American Airlines officially announced their plans to merge. The combined company will keep the American Airlines name, and will become the largest airline in the world. They've created a website for you to track developments and news:

The new American Airlines has also created a couple of web videos to mark this milestone.

Charlotteans and local businesses and media have all been concerned about the prospects of this merger because of how it could potentially affect Charlotte Douglas International Airport's status as US Airways’ largest hub--US Airways operates more than 600 flights coming in and out of CLT daily, nearly 90 percent of the airport's total daily flights. The indication right now is that the merger will bring more daily flights to Charlotte, according to US Airways CEO Doug Parker.

Charlotte's business and civic leaders are, of course, concerned about how the merger will affect the city in terms of economic impact and number of jobs. But there's another thing: Charlotte is fixated, almost to the level of obsession, with being able to claim it's the headquarters city of this and that, or is the largest home to this or that (folks still haven't gotten over losing Wachovia). After the merger, the US Airways name will go away, and as for the new American Airlines, Charlotte is expected to be its second largest hub, behind only Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (the combined company will be headquartered in Fort Worth).

All of that is fine and dandy, but to most of us there's one thing that's more important: how will the cost of fares be affected? That's something we won't know for months, maybe even years to come. As if it hasn't gotten expensive enough to fly.


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