Better for Augusta?

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It remains to be seen whether the proposed Delta-Northwest merger makes financial or regulatory sense. Wall Street and Washington will have to figure that out.

But if investors and regulators think it makes sense for the companies and consumers, it would seem to be a great deal for Georgia.

When Delta was the subject of a hostile takeover bid by US Airways in late 2006, it could've been horrible for Georgia and Augusta. Delta's headquarters, and its jobs, could've been moved from Atlanta -- and there would have been no competition for flights to Augusta, since those are precisely the two airlines servicing Bush Field.

This proposal is much, much different.

For one thing, the combined airline would still be called Delta, would still be headquartered in Atlanta, and would be headed up by Delta executives.

For another thing, there would still be two airlines flying in and out of Augusta, keeping the kind of competition intact that leads to lower fares and greater choices.

In general, we are against mega-mergers. They do tend to stifle competition, and -- despite promises of efficiencies and consolidation and blah, blah, blah -- they often don't lead to lower prices for consumers.

So, in a perfect world, we'd likely be against this merger.

But in an imperfect world such as this, the fish either eat or get eaten. Last time, Delta was going to be eaten. This time around, Delta is the big fish.

Moreover, if Delta and Northwest merge, not only would Augusta service likely not be cut back, it might be enhanced -- if, for instance, they add flights to Northwest service areas such as Minneapolis or Detroit.

With fuel costs skyrocketing and U.S. airlines facing government-supported competition overseas, consolidation and elimination of duplicate flights is probably a given. It may just be a matter of whose terms the consolidations are on.

Federal regulators will ultimately decide if this merger is good for consumers. Wall Street will have its say -- as will the pilots of both companies. A lot can happen. As far as variables go, the sky's the limit.

But as it stands today, it looks as if Augusta and Georgia could actually come out ahead.

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ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
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ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 04/16/08 - 06:37 am
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What, come out ahead with

What, come out ahead with increased bus service?

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 04/16/08 - 06:49 am
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With fuel prices increasing,

With fuel prices increasing, I'd be surprised if Augusta keeps any air service.

shivas
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shivas 04/16/08 - 06:55 am
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Dear AC, thank you for

Dear AC, thank you for admitting your hypocrisy. Now, if you would just do the same with your political coverage.

critter
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critter 04/16/08 - 07:05 am
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Regardless, it's not going to

Regardless, it's not going to be a positive things for our local airflight situation. For the AC to make the claims about how mega-mergers stifle competition, it sure would be nice to see them push harder for competition at our local airport, which would almost definitely make our local airfares drop.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 04/16/08 - 07:15 am
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look up the meaning of

look up the meaning of hypocrisy.

Captain Awesome
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Captain Awesome 04/16/08 - 08:23 am
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I'd be all about having

I'd be all about having flights to Detroit or Minneapolis. Northwest could be a benefit.

But I'd much rather see Air Tran or Ryan Air start flying to Augusta and maybe using it as a low cost hub.

142
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Dan White 04/16/08 - 01:56 pm
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Anyone who is brave enough to

Anyone who is brave enough to use Bush Field with all of the canceled flights into and out of Augusta - my hat's off to them. Enjoy the bus ride.

JimCox
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JimCox 04/16/08 - 04:33 pm
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As long as ASA goes away and

As long as ASA goes away and Delta or Northwest begins to service Augusta, I'm good with the merger.

Columbus2@charter.net
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Columbus2@charter.net 04/16/08 - 08:50 pm
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With all the fancy salary

With all the fancy salary increases and a new addition it seems the airport is in excellent shape. You need someone to rally around and DO somthing rather than this talk about merger helping Augusta. AUGUSTA where are your leaders? Rally those who fly to unite in a common cause and goal. You are too laid back! Those who promort and ask receive others do not. No airline is even going to consider Augusta a new stop without being sold. Make your officals accountable. AirTran would be a very good fit. Call them, write them visit them there must a reason why not? find out AGA

142
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Dan White 04/16/08 - 10:13 pm
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I'll tell you where the

I'll tell you where the Augusta leaders are. They are riding in the back of the bus to catch the way back machine in Atlanta to relive the glory of the 60's and 70's Civil Rights era.

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