Airline Merger Raises Questions About KY Airport

There may soon be fewer options for air travelers after Delta and Northwest announced plans to merge their companies.

The two companies have agreed to create the world's largest airline carrier, servicing 1100 destinations, with more than 1100 planes. They will all be flying under the Delta name.

"It is really a combination of addition not subtraction for good for our employees, customers, the communities we serve and to our share holders," said Delta CEO Richard Anderson.

Before the mega carrier can take off, it needs approval from the government.

The airlines say they won't close any of their hubs and will limit layoffs. That includes Delta's second largest hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, which employs 27 hundred people.

Kentucky's U.S.Senator Mitch McConnell says he certainly hopes layoffs aren't in the future, calling the airport a key economic engine for the state.

"Earlier this year, I contacted Delta's CEO to remind him of the importance of CVG to Kentucky's economy and to the thousands of workers at the hub. While I have been assured that CVG will continue to be an important component of these merged operations, I will carefully assess the proposed merger, and will not support it unless i am convinced that CVG and its workers are protected," McConnell said in a statement released to the press.

High fuel prices and competition from low cost carriers drove the merger of the airlines, but many don't see any reason for the traveling public to celebrate the match up.

"There's no good news for consumers here. We're in an environment where a lot of airline routes will never make money at today's fuel prices, there's going to be less service not more service, fares are going up and not down," said industry consultant Hubert Horan.

And it's not just a Delta/Northwest merger that has analysts worried. Some analysts say it puts an enormous amount of pressure on other airlines, sparking possibly more future mergers among other airlines.

For now, passengers may have little choice but just to go along for the ride.

Investors were less than enthusiastic about the merger. Shares of both Delta and Northwest fell sharply on Wall Street on Tuesday.

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