Power in numbers: The combined American Airlines-US Airways should give residents better connection times says Kim Darrell, general manager at Meyer-Franklin travel. *AFP photo
Power in numbers: The combined American Airlines-US Airways should give residents better connection times says Kim Darrell, general manager at Meyer-Franklin travel. *AFP photo
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Merger could lead to more choice

Bermuda residents could see some benefits of a US Airways and American Airlines merger.

The two airlines made the long-rumoured announcement yesterday.

American Airlines had been in financial trouble and the $11 billion deal helps bail them out.

It is the seventh US airline merger since 2005. It will use the American Airlines name but US Airways CEO Doug Parker will run it.

The transaction to be completed in the third quarter of 2013. Until the merger is complete, American Airlines and US Airways will remain separate companies.

It will make the new American the largest airline in the US with 21 per cent market share.

Kim Darrell, general manager at Meyer-Franklin Travel, said: “We don’t know if this will be an advantage or whether they will introduce new flights in and out of Bermuda.

“But within the States and internationally, the merger is an advantage to customers. They will have more choices of destinations to choose from and, maybe, better connections.”

Shorter

She said the connection times could end up being shorter.

The combined airline will have 6,700 daily flights to 336 destinations in 56 countries.

Carl Paiva, CEO of C Travel, said hopefully the combined airline would continue to be travel agent friendly.

“As a travel agent we’re going to see a shift where other carriers are going to want to speak to us again, which is great for us and great for the consumer.

“It’s going to be good because of routings and availability from Bermuda as long as they keep the Miami and New York flights on and don’t drop them.

“Where it may not be good is if the competition drops out.

“American has been in trouble but American has some strong routes.

“This is the name of the game today. With United and Continental joining hands and now American and US Airways, it’s just going to end up being a few megas, particularly in the American market.”

He said consumers will want to know what the next step is? Mr Paiva said there will be questions about whether they will still continue to get points through their AA credit cards.


 

AC’s three flights a week a setback

Air Canada’s move to a three-day a week flight schedule to Bermuda is being viewed as terrible news for Bermuda residents.

AC will start flying just Thursday, Saturday and Sundays in May from Toronto. That coupled with rival WestJet’s Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday schedule from Toronto. will cause residents to seek other alternatives to get to Canada.

Carl Paiva, owner of C Travel, said the limited availability on the new Air Canada schedule as seen an increase in price.

“I’ve already noticed the airfares are quite high. Space and seat assignments are difficult already because they are only allowing us to book a certain amount of seats in economy. That’s a problem.”

He said trying to get to other Canadian destinations like Vancouver has become inconvenient.

“We’re going to see a problem with the Air Canada situation with both availability and cost.”

Kim Darrell, general manager at Meyer-Franklin Travel, said this will cause problems for those people who are looking to get out to Canada early in the week.

“Going through the States is not always convenient, especially if you’re trying to get to further destinations in Canada. It might take three flights to get to your destination. That might be your only choice.

“This is a very big disadvantage for customers.

“We didn’t get any warning on this.”

She said another issue is with the absence of the Halifax flight, is it makes it even more difficult for Bermuda’s college students to get to the universities in the Maritime provinces.

She added: “If you just went through Canada, you just went through Canadian customs on the outbound and you were able to come all the way through to Bermuda without the hassle of the customs.”

She said flying through the east coast of the US generally has more travel disruptions than Toronto.

“Even though they have bad weather in Canada, they are used to it. Most of the time they still fly.”

She said travellers might end up having to overnight in an east coast city until the weather clears.


“I’ve already noticed the airfares are quite high. Space and seat assignments are difficult already because they are only allowing us to book a certain amount of seats in economy. That’s a problem.”
Carl Paiva, CEO of C Travel