American Airlines escaped from bankruptcy after merging with US Airways. If that merger remains in effect, it will create the nation's biggest airline, putting it ahead of United Airlines and Delta Air Lines.
The Department of Justice noted in its lawsuit that there were nine major airlines in 2005. If this merger goes through, there would be four: United, Delta, Southwest and the merged American-US Airways. Those airlines would account for more than 80 percent of the passenger service market in the United States.
Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper said, "We generally think [the new merger] is good, despite the fact it will generally mean higher ticket prices.
"Beside that, this is the way it is," Carper said. "The idea that you have less air carriers is not a good thing. But the world we grew up in -- with our grandfather's Oldsmobile and Mom-and-Pop grocery stores - is not here any more. The merger will be OK."
Atkinson said the new merger could also "have a positive impact, because it would give US Airways more reach. ... Our analysis is that it will improve our competitiveness.
"When Southwest and AirTran merged, it had a negative impact on Charleston. We lost service to Orlando, Fla. I didn't see the Justice Department looking at that one," Atkinson said. "They have already gone down the road of letting airlines merge. With the toothpaste out of the tube, it is sort of hard to put it back in."
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.