Airline merger could bring changes to Augusta Regional Airport

Airline merger could bring changes to Augusta Regional Airport

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - A new deal between American Airlines and US airways is having a far-reaching impact, including right here in the CSRA.

"We've had 100% growth since 2006, and we continue to grow," said Lauren Smith, Communications Director with Augusta Regional Airport.

She said they're waiting and watching to see if the relatively new Augusta to Washington, D.C. route could be slashed as a result of the merger. Airline industry experts also have mixed feelings about the deal.

"Let's be very honest," said Seth Kaplan, with Airline Weekly. "Airlines, or companies in any industry, don't merge for consumer benefit. They merge to help themselves, but that doesn't mean it has to be bad for consumers."

As one of the Justice Department stipulations for the merger, the big carriers would have to sell takeoff and landing slots at major airports, including Reagan National. That could mean an expansion in larger cities of cheaper flights.

"I think it's a win for the low-cost carriers," said Charlie Leocha, a consume advocate. "All of a sudden they now have access to all of the major markets that they couldn't get before."

It's unclear if Augusta would benefit from the merger at this point. Airport officials said they hope to possibly add new routes in the future, but their focus right now is to ensure our link to the nation's capital remains uninterrupted.

"We hope we will keep it because, like I said, it has been very popular for us and I know the community would hate for it to go," said Smith.