National Airport Is Always an Issue When US Airways Wants to Merge
CHARLOTTE ( TheStreet) -- Once again, the potential for concentration at Washington Reagan National Airport is a chief concern in a US Airways'
In its 2000 effort to merge with United
This year's effort to merge with American
US Airways operates a hub at National, enabling it to serve small cities because it offers connections. Divested slots would go to carriers likely to serve bigger cities already served from National. The case seems compelling and has backing from more than 100 members of Congress who opposed divestiture in a letter.
Thirteen years ago, the case for anti-competitive dominance was far more realistic because the proposed merger would have brought together US Airways, which dominates National, with United, which dominates a second area airport, Dulles International.
Larry Nagin, who in 2000 was US Airways corporate attorney as well as the right-hand-man to CEO Stephen Wolf, had a penchant for politics. Nagin thought it would be difficult for regulators to reject spinning off the principal carrier at Washington's close-in airport to a successful minority businessman. He hoped for approval in 2000, before the Clinton administration left office.
At the time, Johnson was a US Airways director as well as the owner of entertainment company BET Holdings. In an August 2000 interview with The Charlotte Observer , Johnson recounted what happened as he first learned he might enter the airline business. "When Steve Wolf first approached me, I said, `Steve, does it make money?' and he said, `It makes money,' and I said, `OK, I'll do it,'" Johnson said.
Johnson quickly called Hugh McColl, chairman of Charlotte-based Bank of America
The planned airline was first called Potomac Air, later changed to DC Air. Johnson said it would be built along the Southwest