Directors of American Airlines and Tempe-based US Airways are scheduled to meet Wednesday to consider an $11 billion merger. Industry analysts expect the proposal will be finalized by the end of the week.
“For Arizona, the big issue from a job standpoint is how many planes of American, the new merged American Airlines, keeps flying through Arizona," says Robert Mittlestaedt, dean of the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.
"I don’t think that’s going to change an awful lot because the Phoenix hub serves a lot of cities around the West with people that would still need to come through here," says Mittlestaedt, who studies the airline industry.
He says if the merger becomes official, US Airways could move its headquarters to Texas where American is based. But, he says, US Airways would continue to maintain a major hub in Phoenix.
The mayor of Tempe has been working with local business groups to launch a campaign to encourage US Airways to keep its corporate headquarters in the state. US Airways employs more than 9,000 people in Arizona.
Meanwhile, Gov. Jan Brewer told The Associated Press that the state's economy won't be badly hurt if US Airways merges with American Airlines and the company headquarters moves to Texas.
Brewer said Monday she's met with US Airways CEO Doug Parker and he's assured her the majority of jobs in Phoenix will stay even with the move. She says Parker and headquarters staff would move but Phoenix would remain a hub and thousands of operations jobs would remain here.
The governor says news reports that the Phoenix hub may be cut doesn't square with what Parker said. She says she got "all sorts of assurances" from Parker and she believes him.
Tempe-based US Airways is reportedly close to a merger with American parent AMR Corp. to create the world's biggest airline by passenger traffic.