New merger could impact Bishop International Airport - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

New merger could impact Bishop International Airport

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(02/18/13) - Bishop International Airport is no stranger to airline mergers.

The recent one between Southwest and Air Tran has kept the staff busy and travelers looking forward to more flights.

"The Air Tran/Southwest merger isn't going to be complete for us until April 14, so everything still flies under the Air Tran banner," said Pat Corfman, of Bishop International Airport.

As Bishop's staff works on the finalization of that deal, they are already looking ahead to another merger that could also impact the airport. U.S. Airways and American Airlines are combining to create the world's largest airline.
"We're assuming they're going to go really well with the U.S. Airways/American merger, but we're going to get right in there and start meeting with these guys, make sure they know who we are and what we do," Corfman said.

There have been several recent mergers that has directly impacted Bishop. Four carriers are listed, but that wasn't the case a short time ago.

"Every single one of our airlines has gone or will have gone through a merger or acquisition - every single one you see here today. If that hadn't happened, we'd have eight airlines here today," Corfman said.

While the mergers have brought more flights in and out of Flint, ticket prices nationwide have been going up. Last week's announcement will likely push them even higher, and push passengers to make tough decisions.

"To some extent, it will especially pleasure travel. When it's family, it's one thing ,but when it's just for fun, you kind of have to budget it out better," said Carol Harris, airline passenger.

"I'm not happy about it, but what can you do if [you] want to go somewhere and you don't want to drive? Do what you have to do," said airline passenger Audrey Henderson.

"The fewer airlines you have, in general, the more the airlines can charge for pricing because there's less competition on the routes. We still have the lowest average airfare in Michigan, so that's fantastic, but just with fuel and the way gas has gone up, that impacts the airlines in a severe way," Corfman said.

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