BLOUNTVILLE — A planned American Airlines-U.S. Airways merger — which is being fought in federal court by the U.S. Justice Department — could be good for air service at Tri-Cities Regional Airport, an air service strategist told Airport Authority commissioners Thursday.
Michael Lum, a strategist with the Sixel Consulting Group, said the merger might help TCRA reinstate flights to Chicago and begin new service to American’s Dallas/Fort Worth hub.
After filing for bankruptcy, American ended its regional jet service from TCRA to Chicago in February 2012, leaving the airport with Delta Connection service to Atlanta, U.S. Airways flights to Charlotte and low-cost Allegiant Air flights to two Florida markets.
Lum told Airport Authority commissioners the Justice Department lawsuit could be decided by the end of the year.
“The Justice Department has a great case (against the merger),” Lum said. “They believe the airline industry is consolidated enough.”
While a merger might open the possibility of Chicago and Dallas/Fort Worth flights, Lum also said the merged airline is not expected to close or significantly reduce flights at any of its hubs.
Read more in Friday's print edition of the Times-News or in the expanded electronic edition.