USAirways, American merger could have minimal local effect

David Albers/Staff 
- Travelers file through Southwest Florida International Airport on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, in Fort Myers.

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David Albers/Staff - Travelers file through Southwest Florida International Airport on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, in Fort Myers.

— It doesn't appear as if air travel to Southwest Florida would be affected much if American Airlines and US Airways merge, local airport officials said Monday.

National news reports Monday said directors of American Airlines and US Airways plan to meet Wednesday to consider a merger.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that negotiators were still considering the makeup of the combined company's board and an exact role for the CEO of American parent AMR Corp.

US Airways declined to comment and AMR executives couldn't be reached for comment.

The companies are trying to finish a deal before Friday, when a confidentiality agreement covering some AMR bondholders expires. That could result in the public disclosure of negotiation details.

If the two carriers were to strike a deal, it would create the world's biggest airline by passenger traffic, although United Continental Holdings Inc. would still be bigger if regional affiliates are counted.

AMR has been operating under bankruptcy protection since November 2011.

Shares of US Airways Group Inc. fell 29 cents, or 2 percent, Monday to $14.46.

The merger of two airlines may not affect travelers at Southwest Florida International Airport in Lee County.

"There are no overlapping routes here," said Victoria Moreland, spokeswoman for the Fort Myers airport.

At the Fort Myers airport, US Airways serves the east coast, while American Airlines serves the Midwest.

In 2012, US Airways reported 748,226 passengers, or 10.18 percent of the local market. Last year, American Airlines had 463,516 passengers, or 6.31 percent of the total passengers for 2012, according to Southwest Florida International Airport's website.

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