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Economist: Sky Harbor could be left out in US Airways-American merger

FILE- In this Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, file photo, an American Airlines plane and a US Airways plane are parked at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington. While American Airlines and US Airways have cleared the last major hurdle to merging, but it will be several months , if not years, before passengers see any significant impact.(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

PHOENIX -- A Valley economist is concerned that Phoenix Sky Harbor could be left in the cold after US Airways and American Airlines complete a merger.

American and US Air have agreed to keep Sky Harbor as a hub for the new giant airline for three years as part of the potential merger. But economist Elliott Pollack questioned whether Phoenix will remain a hub beyond the guaranteed three years.

"American has hubs in Dallas and Los Angeles and you wouldn't need three hubs this close together so it will be interesting to see what happens," he said. "We're going to be here more than three years so to guarantee a three-year hub status for Sky Harbor doesn't really help."

If Sky Harbor loses hub status, Pollack said that would mean fewer flights in and out of Phoenix, fewer non-stop flights and not as much competition.

Pollack said the airline merger is great for US Airways and bad for the greater Phoenix economy, especially Tempe because the airline headquarters will move to Dallas and take hundreds of jobs to Texas.

"The local economy should be strong enough to absorb it."

About the Author

Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.


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