Wilmington Chamber expresses support for merger
August 16, 2013By Jenny Callison
The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce is voicing its continued support of the proposed US Airways-American Airlines merger, following a federal antitrust lawsuit filed this week to stop the transaction.
“We believe that this merger will be a boost to the Wilmington economy and will lead to improved service, choice, and competition for travelers throughout North Carolina,” chamber president and CEO Connie Majure-Rhett said in a news release Friday. “With more than 700 daily departures leaving North Carolina daily, our state will be a major hub of operations for the newly combined American Airlines. This has a tremendous impact on local economies that rely on travel and tourism and on the jobs supported by this industry.”
According to the news release, the chamber sent a letter of support for the merger to Ray LaHood, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, on June 11, 2013. The letter noted that US Airways offers 13 daily flights from Wilmington International Airport, and emphasized that this service supports local tourism, commerce, and economic activity by making it easier for travelers and vacationers to visit the Cape Fear area.
A post-merger American Airlines would employ more than 9,000 North Carolinians, the letter stated.
In the release, chamber officials stated they expect the nonstop service between ILM and Washington’s Reagan National Airport to continue after the merger. Stressing the importance of this service, officials said they believe that the new American Airlines is the only airline with the network and connections at Reagan National to support service to regional markets like Wilmington.
“The chamber believes the new American Airlines will improve reliability for local travelers and open opportunities for our business community,” the release stated. “It is also important to attracting new companies and creating jobs in the region.”