Local airport enthused about American-US Airways merger

Williamsport Regional Airport Authority board members approved their long-range plan for 2013 to 2017 Thursday evening.

The plan includes the design and construction of a new $13.6 million airport terminal building and several improvements to runways and lighting, according to Thomas J. Hart, authority executive director.

Another goal of the authority’s plan is to pursue an additional airline service.

Hart said the recently announced proposed merger of American Airlines and US Airways won’t affect efforts to lure another carrier to the airport.

“We feel there is a possibility with this merger that we may have an opportunity to improve the current US Airways schedule at the airport,” he said.

Additional flights and connection cities could be added, he said.

Hart said the move is a positive one for both companies.

“I think it’s necessary for both to compete with all the other airlines that have merged in recent years. Overall, we’re looking forward to it. There’s probably more brand recognition with American Airlines than US Airways” he said, noting US Airways doesn’t have a large presence in other parts of the country.

The merger, which would take effect later this year if approved, would need to be authorized by both airlines’ shareholders, a bankruptcy judge and federal regulators.

Authority members also approved an agreement with Airmen heating and ventilation contractors to increase its leased space by an additional 8,000 square feet.