Impact of Airline Merger on Charlotte's Hub Status
CHARLOTTE, NC - "Well, if you don't change you're gonna get left behind," says Jerry Orr, Charlotte Aviation Director.
Orr is looking to reassure people worried about Charlotte's future as a hub.
"Healthy competition, is more important in my view than just plain competition," Orr explains.
The merger of US Airways and American Airlines will make the Queen City the company's 2nd-largest hub after Dallas-Fort Worth.
Orr believes long-term.. the airport's location and low cost to airlines will be a positive.
"I think this will be change for the good," he says.
US Airways CEO Doug Parker will lead the combined airline.
"The over 900 routes that we fly individually, when you add them up, there are only 12 of them where you have overlap," Parker explains.
Many say the merger is a way the new American can stay competitive in a fast-changing industry, with major competitors like Delta and United.
"That's comforting to us, to know that our company is going to be able to survive, long term," says Captain James Ray.
Ray, with the US Airline Pilots Association, says unlike previous mergers, most contracts have already been negotiated.
And US Airways flight attendants are currently voting on a new agreement due February 28th.
"More revenue generating capability is good, however, right now we're concerned with the protection of the flight attendants going forward," says Paul Hartshorn, with the Association of Flight Attendants.
And while passengers like Anna Kerce say she likes what major airlines have to offer, she's worried about cost.
"I'm on a budget like most people and I have to look at the price to determine if i'm gonna take vacation or stay home," Kerce says.
It will be more than a year before the two airlines officially combine.
They'll also have to get approval from regulators.