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American Airlines airplane

Courtesy of AMR Corp.

The combined airline is expected to keep the American name, but all planes will be repainted with a new logo. 


Aubrey Pringle/MEDILL

AUDIO: Hear what experts and consumers think about the proposed American-US Airways merger.

American-US Airways merger shouldn't worry Chicago flyers, experts say

by Aubrey Pringle
Feb 12, 2013

Recent mergers create four airline giants

If the American-US Airways merger goes through, four major companies – Delta, United, Southwest and American – will dominate nearly 75 percent of the U.S. airline industry.

2008: Delta acquires Northwest

2010: United and Continental combine, becoming the world's largest airline

2011: Southwest takes over AirTran

2013: American and US Airways plan to merge, which would surpass United-Continental

The proposed merger between American Airlines parent AMR Corp. and US Airways Group Inc. has consumers concerned that airfares could go up as a result of reduced industry competition. But airline experts say if the merger goes through, Chicago flyers won't experience much of an impact.

“I think Chicago will be one of those places that is pretty protected,” said Andrew Thomas, author of Soft Landing: Airline Industry Strategy, Service, and Safety.

He said major American Airlines hubs like Chicago are profitable enough to avoid fare increases related to the merger. And since Chicago is a hub for other airlines as well, competition should keep ticket prices relatively stable.

Thomas added that any likely fare increases in the coming year would be the result of rising fuel prices.

The $11 billion deal would help American Airlines emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The combined company would surpass United-Continental Holdings Inc. as the world’s largest airline in terms of traffic.

US Airways CEO Doug Parker is poised to take over as head of the company, although the combined airline would retain the American name. All planes would be repainted with a new logo.

Executives from the two companies are set to meet Wednesday to finalize the deal.