Washington DC - Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released a letter to U.S. Airways and American Airlines urging the two companies to protect important priorities for Pennsylvanians as the recently proposed merger moves forward. In Southwestern Pennsylvania, Senator Casey urged the two airlines to maintain 1,900 jobs and consider extending a maintenance facility’s lease to give workers’ more certainty. In Philadelphia, Senator Casey asked the two airlines to maintain a commitment to the investment in airport upgrades. Lastly, Senator Casey urged the two merging airlines to consider the possibility of adding more routes to Pennsylvania cities to support the growing natural gas industry.
“Southwestern Pennsylvania’s skilled workforce has been a huge asset to US Airways and I’m hopeful that if this goes through THE company will maintain these good paying jobs, said Senator Casey. “US Airways’ decision to invest in Philadelphia was a major win for jobs last year. Keeping this investment on track is essential. A new merged airline also has the opportunity to add more direct flights from both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia which would boost the economy in each region.”
The full text of Senator Casey’s letter can be seen below:
W. Douglas Parker Thomas W. Horton
President & Chief Executive Officer President & Chief Executive Officer
US Airways American Airlines
Dear Mr. Parker and Mr. Horton:
As the merger of your two airlines moves forward, I want to take the opportunity to express the vital role that Pennsylvania employees and routes play in the success of your new company.
As you know, US Airways has had a long standing presence in southwestern Pennsylvania. Despite the relocation of its Pittsburgh hub several years ago, US Airways still maintains approximately 1,900 jobs in region, the bulk of whom work at the at the aircraft maintenance facility and the operations center. It is my understanding that the current maintenance facility is under lease with US Airways through 2015. I encourage you to extend that lease and to provide long term stability for its employees and indicate your commitment to preserving a strong presence in southwestern Pennsylvania. Preserving jobs at the maintenance facility, operations control center and the Pittsburgh International Airport is of the utmost importance for the regional economy.
Last month, US Airways announced their two year lease agreement at the Philadelphia International Airport. This allows for over $700 million in capital investment at the airport aimed at expanding capacity, security improvements and improving the overall passenger experience. These upgrades are essential to the long term success of the airport. I strongly urge you to maintain the US Airways hub in Philadelphia. This will provide increased access to international destinations and make the Philadelphia region more competitive. Additionally, it is my understanding that over half of Philadelphia’s annual traffic is origin and destination, meaning that the bulk of travelers originate or end their trips there. This presents a unique opportunity for growth in the Philadelphia market.
I have been informed that US Airways and Americans networks are mostly complementary and that of the 900 routes only a fraction overlap. As you move forward, I ask that you consider preserving overlapping routes that are currently served by both carriers to avoid a reduction in air service levels, particularly into the New York market. Preservation of routes to JFK and LaGuardia is critical to providing international connections to Pennsylvania. In addition to Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, American and US Airways provide a significant level of service at smaller airports around the state. Maintaining service to these cities is essential to economic development, particularly with the increased traffic due Marcellus Shale drilling. I urge you to not only continue service to smaller airports in the Commonwealth, but also consider expanding service in order to meet the rising demands of the natural gas industry.
Maintaining and expanding your presence in Pennsylvania presents a clear opportunity to access growing markets and skilled and educated workers. Thank you for your attention to my views. I look forward to working closely with you both as the merger progresses.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator