US Airways CEO faces media questions over American merger - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

US Airways CEO faces media questions over American merger

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Poised to become CEO of the world's largest airline, Doug Parker strolled off alone down the terminal four concourse of Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport after meeting with the Phoenix media Thursday.

Wardrobe bag in hand, he was headed to Tempe to inform his employees what this merger will mean for them.

At this point, the only practical job effects of the merger being discussed is the elimination of management jobs that would be duplicated as American Airlines and US Airways become one airline.

"We will work over time to make sure the airline is as efficient as it possibly can," says Parker. "But it seems to me at this point we're going to need all the facilities we have here (in Phoenix and Tempe) for everything we're doing, absent some management jobs."

Parker pointed to pilots, flight attendants, maintenance workers and others whose jobs will likely be unaffected because the number of flights and planes is not expected to decrease.

In fact, salaries for those US Airways employees could be going up. Phoenix-based pilots, for instance, could see a 13- to 35-percent jump in pay, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Just how consumers will be affected is yet to be determined. Fewer airlines servicing the population would seem to result in increased prices. However, Parker says with so few overlapping routes between American and US Airways, the marketplace is not changing significantly.

"We put them together. We're not reducing the supply of flying, so on the same level of demand, you wouldn't expect to see any change in price," says Parker.

Fears that the impending merger could damage the economy in Tempe and Phoenix appear to be unwarranted. Parker stresses that Phoenix will remain as the western hub for the new American Airlines.

"The potential for (the company footprint in Phoenix and Tempe) to be larger is better now than with us standing alone because there are simply more places for us to fly, particularly international," says Parker.

The company's philanthropic efforts are not overlooked. US Airways contributed nearly $4.5 million in 2012 towards Valley-based nonprofit groups.

"We're proud of our community efforts here in Phoenix, and they'll continue. This is going to be an enormous part of the combined airline," says Parker.

Parker indicated the company just re-signed a lease on its nine-story corporate headquarters in Tempe and intends on fulfilling the agreement.

What is unclear, however, is when the name adorning the US Airways Center would change and what the new name might be.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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