The last of the mega-mergers

With the government’s final consent a couple of weeks ago, the merger of American Airlines and US Airways created the world’s largest airline.

Since both carriers serve Maui, an obvious question is: Will the merger mean fewer flights to our island?

The last mega-merger – between United and Continental – barely affected us because Continental had basically stopped service to Maui. There were some seasonal flights but no year-round service from Continental.

This is not the case with American and US Airways. Both have year-round operations here. So the question becomes: Will the combined airline opt for fewer, fuller flights? Will there be fewer jobs on the ground on Maui?

The merger also creates challenges for the other unaligned carriers serving Maui – most notably Alaska and Hawaiian. It would seem that both of them should be seeking code-share status with carriers like JetBlue and Southwest, so that the Midwest and Eastern United States are not simply surrendered to the mega-airlines.

There has never been a merger the size of the American-US Airways deal. Continental-United and Delta-Northwest came close, but this is the last – and the largest – of the big deals. It will be interesting to see how seamlessly the merger is carried off.

It will also be interesting to see how the other airlines react and how all of it affects the traveling public.

(Note: A version of this editorial has appeared previously in The Maui News)

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.