November 14, 2013
US Airways and American Airlines announced they are going forward with a merger, but many are wondering how it will affect smaller airports.
The American Airlines and US Airways merger became official on Tuesday, creating the world's largest airline, but what does that mean for smaller airports, like Charlottesville?
The executive director at the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport (CHO) says the merger won’t be a problem.
“We believe it's going to be a positive impact,” say Melinda Crawford. “There's not going to be any overlap or duplication of services so we expect to maintain existing service.”
This merger is also creating some concerns for frequent flyers, which are under loyalty programs with US Air and American.
“I'm forced to choose between a smaller alliance with American versus staying in the Star Alliance (with US Air) which I've been since 1995,” says Stephen McIninch.
McIninch is a travel consultant for Globe Travel in Charlottesville and is also a frequent flyer for US Air.
“I mean some are going to have to bite the bullet and do what they have to keep their seniority,” says McIninch.
Crawford says that there will be some changes coming for passengers in the loyalty programs, but she believes the merger will be overall positive for CHO.
“They'll work through those processes,” says Crawford. “Individuals who have frequency or reward programs or customer loyalty programs with US Airways and American, they'll work through it.”
“As we've seen in the past they've allowed those to work together and mesh those together so there is a synergy that comes between the two airlines,” says Crawford.
Currently both US Airways and American Airlines fly out of Charlottesville, but CHO officials are preparing to change the layout of the gates at the airport, but they say that's the only change passengers will really see.