Airline merger impact on Albany International - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Airline merger impact on Albany International


ALBANY, N.Y. - On the heels of the announcement Thursday of a mega merger between American Airlines and US Airways many are wondering what will the creation of the world's largest airline mean for travelers? 

The $11 billion merger is expected to have a minimal short term impact but a larger long term impact on travelers.

Officials at the Albany International Airport believe it will be a positive outcome but others have some hesitation on what the ultimate impact will be.

"I'm afraid that the prices might go up because they'll be a monopoly," said Sylvia Logan of Massachusetts.

"I would assume they will, everything's going up," said Mike Rans of Indianapolis.

Ticket prices were a main concern for travelers at Albany International Airport Thursday, after learning of mega merger.

CEO of the airport, John O'Donnell says he does not believe prices will go up and expects increased services.

"Maybe in the future we'll see some combination of Dallas, Fort Worth, JFK, LaGuardia, as additional flights for this airport," said O'Donnell.

But a local travel agent disagrees.

Jean Gagnon with Plaza Travel Center in Latham says,"Less competition generally equates to higher fares. We don't know if they will maintain the same amount of flights that depart from Albany."

Empty ticket counters at Albany International Airport show proof of past mergers, and this mega merger would leave only four carriers left in the U.S. The merger will not impact frequent flier miles.
"I have them American and today I'm flying US Air so I should be able to combine these," said Rans.

In a statement Thursday Senator Charles Schumer said, ""In May of 2012, when U.S. Airways asked for my support of a merger with American Airlines, I conditioned that on four major factors – jobs, keeping prices down, maintaining Upstate New York service to Albany, Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo and Ithaca, and keeping a hub at JFK.  At that time, CEO Doug Parker committed that he would do all of those things if a merger was approved, and now I will hold him to his word."

The merger still needs approval from the Department of Transportation, the Justice Department and a bankruptcy judge. Although the company hopes to have that final approval close to this summer, it could take years before the merger is completed.

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