Dec 9, 2013
Michael Clinton - Digital Producer
Jacksonville Business Journal
With American Airlines and US Airways finalizing their merger Monday, one has to wonder what it means for Jacksonville International Airport.
The combined airline, which will operate as American Airlines, will be the third busiest at JIA in terms of arriving and departing passengers.
And while airport spokesman Michael Stewart said he isn’t sure what will happen to the airline’s operations in Jacksonville, there is one thing the airport is worried about: the impact to one route to Washington, D.C.
Washington’s Reagan National Airport (DCA) is a slot-controlled airport, which allocates rights to airlines to takeoff or land during specific time periods. As part of the merger, the airlines will have to give up 52 take-off and landing slots there.
Stewart said if the new American Airlines picks its 50 most profitable slots at Reagan and Jacksonville isn’t one of them, JIA could lose its only nonstop route to Reagan — which is currently operated by US Airways.
US Airways offers five nonstop flights from JIA to DCA per weekday. On Sunday, that number is sometimes four depending on load level. Saturday has two or three flights, which might be seasonal.
Stewart said JIA expressed concern over impact to the route to the Federal Aviation Administration and its local Congressional delegates.
He isn’t sure when a decision will be made, as a merger of this size could take years to hammer out all of the fine details.
JIA also offers nonstop flights to Washington D.C.’s Dulles International Airport and Baltimore-Washington International Airport.