November 13, 2013

Views differ on airline merger’s impact on Maine

The director of the Portland Jetport sees the merger of American Airlines and US Air as positive, but Rep. Michaud cautions, ‘The devil is always in the details.’

From staff and news service reports

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

US Airways Express Flight 3722 takes off for Philadelphia from the Portland International Jetport and flies over the oil tanks in South Portland. US Airways, the largest carrier in Portland, will be merging with American Airlines.

Gordon Chibroski/2013 Press Herald File

The companies expect to complete the merger in December. As soon as the deal closes, the airlines will coordinate prices and schedules as if they were one, but combining the fleets will take months or years, executives said.

Six states had joined the lawsuit to block the merger, fearing the loss of flights and jobs at their airports. The Justice Department said that American and US Airways agreed to maintain for three years the US Airways hubs in Charlotte, Philadelphia and Phoenix and American hubs at Miami, Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Los Angeles International.

If the settlement is accepted, the combined American and US Airways would operate 44 fewer daily departures at Reagan National and 12 fewer at LaGuardia than they would have without concessions. But the new American will still be the biggest carrier at Reagan National. The two airlines run about 290 takeoffs a day at Reagan National – about two-thirds of the airport’s total – and 175 at LaGuardia now.

Standard & Poor’s analyst Jim Corridore said the airlines gave up more than he expected but the settlement shouldn’t change the financial benefits of the merger to the companies.

The companies and some airline industry experts said the Justice Department had a weak case, especially after allowing four big airline mergers in the past eight years with few conditions.

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