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Economist: Sky Harbor could be left out in US Airways-American merger

PHOENIX — A Valley economist is concerned that Phoenix Sky Harbor could be left in the cold after US Airways and American Airlines complete a merger.

American and US Air have agreed to keep Sky Harbor as a hub for the new giant airline for three years as part of the potential merger. But economist Elliott Pollack questioned whether Phoenix will remain a hub beyond the guaranteed three years.

“American has hubs in Dallas and Los Angeles and you wouldn’t need three hubs this close together so it will be interesting to see what happens,” he said. “We’re going to be here more than three years so to guarantee a three-year hub status for Sky Harbor doesn’t really help.”

If Sky Harbor loses hub status, Pollack said that would mean fewer flights in and out of Phoenix, fewer non-stop flights and not as much competition.

Pollack said the airline merger is great for US Airways and bad for the greater Phoenix economy, especially Tempe because the airline headquarters will move to Dallas and take hundreds of jobs to Texas.

“The local economy should be strong enough to absorb it.”