Officials at both Akron-Canton Airport and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport said Thursday the proposed merger between American Airlines and US Airways should have little to no impact on airport operations and could mean potential growth at Akron-Canton.
US Airways operates nine nonstop flights a day — five to Charlotte, N.C., three to Philadelphia and one to Washington, D.C., out of Akron-Canton.
American Airlines has not flown out of the airport for many years, while US Airways has been at the airport for more than 40 years, said spokeswoman Kristie Van Auken.
“They have a great franchise. They are the third largest carrier. We have an exceptional relationship with them,” said Van Auken of US Airways.
With the merger and American not flying out of Akron-Canton, “the way we look at it is this could be a great opportunity,” she said.
“American is a strong global brand. The combined carrier would be the world’s largest airline [provided they keep all their current flights],” Van Auken said.
The airport’s US Airways station is operated by Piedmont Airlines, an operating partner. It employs 11 full-time and 15 part-time workers.
US Airways also has a PSA (regional US Airways affiliate) maintenance base at Akron-Canton that services regional jets. It has 55 full-time and part-time workers.
Hopkins Director Ricky Smith said the airport does not anticipate the potential merger to have a significant impact in Cleveland.
The carriers operate 27 daily services to seven destinations — 15 for American and 12 for US Airways, the airport said. With one exception, the flights are spread between the carriers’ hubs — Chicago O’Hare, Dallas-Fort Worth, Miami and New York Kennedy for American, and Charlotte and Philadelphia for US Airways. The one non-hub flight is American’s four-times daily service to New York LaGuardia.
“We are confident that each of these flights serves a valuable purpose in both carriers’ networks. All seven of the destinations are in [Hopkins’] top 50 markets, including our No. 1 market [Chicago O’Hare] and No. 3 market [New York LaGuardia], and several — notably including New York Kennedy and Miami — are also leading connecting airports used by [Hopkins] passengers to access international flights. For these reasons, we see no reason to believe that a merged American/US Airways would significantly reduce its service at CLE [the industry abbreviation for Hopkins],” Smith said.
Based on current flight schedules, the combined carrier would be Hopkins’ second-largest airline (after hub carrier United Continental), operating 13.3 percent of the airport’s total flights and seats. Individually, American and US Airways — including their regional affiliates — are the airport’s fourth and fifth largest airlines, respectively, the airport said.