Tri-Cities Airport says merge is 'nothing to worry about'

Tri-Cities Airport on airline merger

BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. - With the new merge of the airlines, many smaller airports could be affected with less flights and higher airfares. We went to the Tri-Cities airport to find out what they expect from the change.

"It happens all the time. Companies merge, things change. Life goes on," said Joyce Deckley with the airport.

American Airlines and US Airways announced they are merging together to create a premier global carrier, but it has some folks worried about flights in and out of the local airports.

Executives from the Tri-Cities airport said people shouldn't think twice about it here in the Tri-Cites, saying it will be a good thing; but that didn't ease the mind of every flyer. "I think airline tickets will go higher, I don't have as many choices to go where I want to go," said Rick Washburn.

But Wilson says people in this market won't have to worry about that. "We wouldn't see that affect here because we only have US Air currently. It's not like we would be losing a competitor in the market; that would have a negative effect on airfares," he said.

And he says the two airlines' flights overlap less than two percent and tells me not many flights will be removed. "We're hoping a bigger combined airline of US Airway and American Airlines will make a healthier airline and allow them to acquire a few more destinations," said Wilson.

Including a possible flight to Dallas. "That may be an option in the future that could come out of the merger. A bigger airline may present more opportunities to compete more with other large carriers," said Wilson.

But even with the worries of the merge, it isn't keeping them from flying with the same airline. "Personally it doesn't make a whole lot of difference to me. I travel about once a month by air, they're all about the same to me," said Washburn.

"I don't see why not. It gets me into the Tri-Cities real nice," said Deckley.

We learned you won't see a full consolidation for at least another two years.

We also learned if you're a frequent flyer with either company, nothing will change.

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