AMA to stay in the game with new airline

American Airlines and US Airways want to merge. Texas officials had protested their merger … until Tuesday.

The state has reached an agreement with the potential new airline giant that seeks a guarantee that the airline will serve 22 Texas cities for at least the next three years. The announcement came from Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott — who also is running to become the state’s next governor.

http://www.texastribune.org/2013/10/01/abbott-appear-american-airlines-ceo/

What does this mean for Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport? It means AMA stays in the American Airlines network of terminals now being served.

AMA has some additional skin in this game, given Amarillo’s unique relationship with American Airlines. The city once poured several millions of public dollars into keeping jet service at AMA. It came in the form of sales tax money collected by the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation. Some communities, even some media, scoffed at Amarillo for paying more than $1 million annually to American Airlines to keep the jets flying between AMA and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. The strategy served to boost the city’s business climate.

That was then. American flies jets exclusively now in and out of AMA.

The merger likely now will go through, even though the federal government is protesting it. The feds contend the merger likely would be bad for competition and would drive the already-expensive cost of air travel even farther upward.

American Airlines and its parent company AMR have been huge corporate partners in Texas. The deal also means the airline will keep its headquarters in the Metroplex and that D-FW Airport will serve as the airline’s major hub.

Communities such as Amarillo, though, need the service to D-FW. Let’s hope the deal struck between the state and the company will lead to a longer-term commitment to this growing community.

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