If the merger of American Airlines and US Airways flies through as planned, the combined airline will control more than 10 percent of traffic at San Francisco International Airport based on current flight activity.
On Thursday, American and US Airways announced an $11 billion deal to become perhaps the world’s largest airline, under the American Airlines name. The proposed marriage still must be approved by federal regulators and a federal bankruptcy judge; American filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2011.
Without any schedule changes at SFO, the combined airline would surpass Virgin America as the airport’s second biggest carrier based on flight activity. As it stands now, American has about 30 daily departures from SFO and US Airways has 14.
In 2012, American’s share of the market at SFO was 6.9 percent, which put it at fifth place among the airport’s carriers. US Airways was in sixth place, with 3.5 percent. Meanwhile, Virgin American held the No. 2 spot, with an 8.9 percent market share at SFO.
United Airlines dominates at SFO, with a 46.1 percent market share in 2012.
Responding to the proposed American-US Airways combination, SFO spokesman Doug Yakel said: “It’s difficult to speculate on the impact of the merger on our airport right now. If previous mergers are a guide, the two carriers may operate as separate entities for a year or more while computer systems, labor contracts and flight operations are combined. During that time, we will be working with both airlines to support their efforts and provide the best experience possible for their customers.”
American currently operates out of SFO’s Terminal 2, while US Airways flies in and out of Terminal 1.
In a statement, US Airways Chairman and CEO Doug Parker said: “The combined airline will have the scale, breadth and capabilities to compete more effectively and profitably in the global marketplace. Our combined network will provide a significantly more attractive offering to customers, ensuring that we are always able to take them where they want to travel, when they want to go.”
As American and US Airways gear up for their merger, two rivals are beefing up their presence at SFO. Virgin America, based in Burlingame, has announced it will launch nonstop service from SFO to Austin, Texas, and Anchorage, Alaska. Meanwhile, JetBlue Airways has unveiled plans for a second daily nonstop flight between SFO and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
In 2012, a record 44.5 million passengers traveled through SFO.