As you probably have heard by now, last week American Airlines and U.S. Airways announced a merger, making them the largest commercial air carrier in the world. Since then, I’ve seen many questions and comments popping up on our social media channels about the impact of the merger here at RDU.
American Airlines began serving RDU in 1985 and has a strong history of service to our airport and a long-standing commitment to the Research Triangle Region. The airline operated a hub here from 1987 to 1995. And, a combined 1.5 million passengers in 2012 departed on either American Airlines or U.S. Airways flights from RDU.
Below are answers to some of the common questions we’re receiving about the merger and its impact on RDU:
1. When will I see changes at RDU? It could be up to 18 months before visible changes occur. Until then, the airlines will still operate as separate carriers and you’ll check in for your flight at the separate ticket counters in Terminal 2 and use the separate gate areas on concourses C and D.
2. What impacts will there be to air service? We don’t expect a major impact on operations at RDU. Both carriers serve separate destinations with the exception of Washington-Reagan, which is a strong market for us. Also, keep in mind that American Airlines has illustrated it confidence in our region as it recently demonstrated with the announcement of non-stop service to Los Angeles, which will connect us to each of the airlines’ pre-merger hubs.
3. Will we keep the daily non-stop flight to London? American Airlines has been very vocal about the success of its daily flight to London-Heathrow, which has been successful for more than 19 years. Today, about 1 million of our passengers travel internationally each year. With the strong business community and the strength of the London flight, we expect strong international service for years to come.
4. If American Airlines is operating a hub in Charlotte, will that impact RDU? We don’t expect that the operation of a hub in Charlotte to impact RDU’s schedule. The Research Triangle Region is a strong market due in part to the large number of business travelers who fly into and out of RDU.
5. Will the merger have an impact on RDU revenue? We don’t think so. Last summer, American Airlines right-sized its operations to meet its daily needs. U.S. Airways has done the same recently as well. It could also open opportunities for RDU as our airport has a proven track record as a wise airline investment.
Do you have a question not answered above? Please ask in the comments below.