Charlotte-Douglas aviation director OK with possible US Airways merger
Updated: 07/01/2012 01:25 PM
By: Adam Rhew
CHARLOTTE — Aviation director Jerry Orr said Charlotte-Douglas International will be fine whether US Airways maintains a major presence in the Queen City or not.
"I think we're going to be successful either way. Because we've built a program that can sustain US Airways and the hub leaving tomorrow. From that perspective it's not a threat to the airport,” said Orr
However, Orr said US Airways is important to the City of Charlotte.
"I think Charlotte is where it is today because of the hub and what it means to business," said Orr.
US Airways is contemplating a merger with American Airlines. If the deal happens, analysts expect Charlotte to remain important to the combined carrier. Right now US Airways operates nine out of every 10 daily flights at Charlotte-Douglas.
"I don't think we're tethered at the hip. I think we're hitched to a mighty fine mule," said Orr.
Orr's comments come as American Airlines tries to stave off outside acquisitions.
In court documents filed Friday, the airline asked a federal judge to extend an exclusivity period that would give the company until December to reorganize without interference from outsiders, including US Airways.
However if the merger happens, Orr said Charlotte could gain international flights from the combined carrier.
"With a major hub in Charlotte, American would have the opportunity to extend some of those flights that are at capacity in Miami," said Orr.
A combined company, which would be called American Airlines, would become the largest carrier in the world, competing with heavyweights Delta and United.
Orr said he is not worried about the impact of whatever the companies decide. Charlotte is US Airways' second-most-profitable hub. Analysts expect the city to retain a hub if the merger happens, and they do not expect significant job cuts in North Carolina.
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There is no official merger proposal and no time line for when any deal could happen.