What the merging of two major airlines could mean for ILM Airpor - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

What the merging of two major airlines could mean for ILM Airport

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NEW HANOVER, NC (WECT) - Leaders at Wilmington International Airport are hopeful that a merger between two major airlines will be approved without any changes.

American and U.S. Airlines are currently going through the process to become one major air carrier. ILM director Jon Rosborough said this move would be good for the local airport, but he has one concern.

Other airlines can ask Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to approve the merge with stipulations. The one that has Rosborough worried is a decrease in gates for U.S. and American. The two companies hold more than 70 percent of the slots at Regan International Airport in Washington, D.C.

If either company had to give up gates, the connections to smaller communities would be the first to go, according to Rosborough.

U.S. Air currently has two non-stop flights from Wilmington to D.C. Losing a direct flight, or possibly both, would remove the convenience for passengers that frequently fly to Wilmington's number five destination spot, according to Rosborough.

He added that the other carriers are unlikely to fly into Wilmington with the new gates because they don't fly here now.

Rosborough said ILM is one of many smaller airports that could be negatively affected by other airlines requesting U.S. and American to give up some of their gates.

He has reached out to local leaders to contact U.S. Representatives, Senators and Secretary LaHood to keep the merger as it was proposed.

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