by Michael Lowrey
US Airways has now loaded the reductions in their Washington Reagan National (DCA) flying as part of the antitrust agreement to merge with American Airlines. All told, the two airlines must give up a combined total of 44 slot pairs at the airport. DCA nonstops to 11 destinations are being eliminated at various dates in June and July and flights to other destinations are being reduced. (Charlotte loses a DCA flight, bringing US Airways flights on the route down to nine a day.) It’s been speculated that Charlotte would see additional flights from this, as the capacity is reallocated to other markets.
Well, I’ve checked US Airways schedules for June and July, and as of now there are no obvious corresponding flight increases from CLT beyond the addition of two a day service to both Oklahoma City and Tulsa in July. Fayetteville, NC and Jacksonville, NC, both of which are losing their daily flights to DCA, do gain a extra Charlotte flight in June, but that only gets them back to their summer CLT 2013 service levels.
US Airways though is additng three new destinations from Philadelphia (PHL): Lexington, KY, Memphis, TN, and Charleston, WV.
It’s entirely possible that US Airways hasn’t yet loaded their full summer 2014 schedule and that we’ll see some additional flights from CLT and/or PHL added soon, likely on existing routes. But if what we see now is all that’s in it for CLT from the DCA divestiture, then it’s another sign that there’s a rather limited upside for the Queen City from the merger.