Augusta Regional hoping for good news out of US-American merger - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

Augusta Regional hoping for good news out of US-American merger

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) -

For the past 11 months, thousands of fliers have been taking advantage of the daily non-stop flight to Washington, DC.

"It is such a popular flight for the community," said Lauren Smith, Communications Manager for Augusta Regional Airport. "We have Fort Gordon, SRS, Plant Vogtle, all the main industries are using it. So it's very beneficial to have it."

Smith says the proposed merger between US Airways and American Airlines is now putting that benefit in jeopardy because of possible stipulations in the deal.

"Jetblue Airlines contacted the DOJ," explained Smith. "They proposed they relinquish some of the slots going into Washington, DC. And if that does happen, there's a high possibility they'll pull from the smaller airports."

Smith says there's no real system here as to how or which routes will be taken away, so the airport and community leaders are now reaching out to federal transportation leaders. 

In a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Augusta's Chamber of Commerce said the flight has a "big impact" on our community and urged officials to ensure the merger does not have a "debilitating loss" on access to the nation's capital.

"We're asking all the local business leaders and legislation to write letters of support for the DC flight," added Smith.

She says the merger is not necessarily all bad and that it could also bring new flights to Augusta.

"If the merger does happen, there's the potential we could get more non-stop direct flights to different areas," Smith said. "We're hoping we could get Dallas back, because that was a very popular flight for us when American had it." 

Airport officials for now are watching and waiting to see what happens next.

Smith provided me with the following list on who to contact to express support of the route:

Department of Transportation

The Honorable Ray LaHood
Secretary
United States Department of Transportation
West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, 9th Floor
Washington, DC, 20590-9898

The Honorable Susan Kurland, Esq.
Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs
United States Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20590-9898

Department of Justice

The Honorable William J. Baer, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
Department of Justice, Antitrust Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC, 20530

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