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US Air, American merger will hurt state, says Arizona economist

Elliott Pollack, left, expects job losses from a potential merger between US Airways and American Airlines will hurt the Valley. US Air headquarters are in Tempe. (Photo: Jim Cross/KTAR)

PHOENIX -- Valley economist Elliott Pollack said a merger between US Airways and American Airlines will lead to job reductions in the Valley but the extent of those losses isn't known yet.

US Air employs just over 9,200, making it the ninth-largest private employer in the state. Jobs connected to the airline brings the total employment impact to 24,515.

Pollack said the airline has approximately 2,000 jobs at its Tempe corporate headquarters. If the state loses those jobs the total impact would be 5,300 jobs when including jobs created by businesses that provide goods and services to US Airways, said the economic consultant.

"State revenues would drop by $11.4 million. County and local revenues would drop by a combined $9.5 million," he said.

Pollack made it clear that numbers surrounding a possible reduction in flight operations, i.e. moving the hub out of Sky Harbor, are speculative but he offered one scenario.

"If flight activity is reduced about 4,600 jobs (includes indirect jobs serving the airline) would be lost and state, county and local tax revenues would drop by almost $18.5 million."

Liz Landau, a spokeswoman with US Air, said the company cannot comment on any potential merger, but she said the airline recently signed a five-year lease on corporate headquarters in Tempe. A hub will be maintained in the Valley.

The Tempe headquarters have 750 corporate employees.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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