Lynchburg Flyers Welcome Possible Airline Merger

Lynchburg, VA - If American Airlines and U.S. Airways merge, it could mean clearer skies ahead for Lynchburg passengers.

The merger talks are in the advanced stage now. If it goes through, it would create the biggest airline in the world.

Most passengers at Lynchburg Regional Airport love the idea of having more options. Right now, the airport only has U.S. Airways connecting to Charlotte, so a merger could mean more hubs for Lynchburg passengers.

Twila Young is a nurse consultant. Once a month, she flies in from Florida to do business in our area. She knows Lynchburg Regional well - the good and the bad.

"I like the small airport, but I don't like that we have a lack of options."

If American and U.S. Airlines merge, passengers like Young could see more options like connections in regional hubs other than Charlotte.

"It will offer more destinations for a Lynchburg traveler than just either airline by itself," said Rick Stein.

Deputy Director Stein saw Lynchburg lose Delta. For airlines these days, it's survival of the fittest, and the price of fuel thrown on top of a slowly recovering economy has made for a fierce business climate.

Delta and Northwest merged in 2008 followed by United and Continental.

"You're still seeing the results from the deregulation of airlines way back in the 70s,' said Stein.

Mergers have become routine news for travelers.

"I think business in general is getting very difficult. And, I think that businesses are struggling and I think sometimes they have to merge in order to stay afloat," said Young.

Susan Rossiter just moved back to Lynchburg after 19 years in Northern Virginia. She welcomes more options at Lynchburg Regional, too.

"As big as the city's gotten since I left, I think it will be good to have more than one airline, said Susan Rossiter.

Frequent flyer members of both airlines will be able to also use their miles on more routes. If the merger gets regulatory approval, insiders say it will keep the American Airlines name, but U.S. Airways' management may get the top jobs.