The executives maintain that the Phoenix hub will remain the same size after a merger, as it will be the combined airlines' domestic hub in the West. American Airlines has a sizable operation at Los Angeles International Airport but it's significantly smaller than Phoenix and is an international gateway, not a connecting hub, they say. That operation will remain the same, too, they say.
"There's some concern in the community that they'll ... downsize Phoenix and make Phoenix less important," Parker said. "That's not the case."
If anything, Kirby said, Phoenix could gain international flights. The combined airline would like to immediately fly between Phoenix and London, a route currently served only by British Airways. US Airways does not have the right planes or London airport slots for the service, but American brings both to the table, he said.
The executives said US Airways' Phoenix maintenance base and flight center also would still be needed after a merger. The headquarters staff would take the big hit, though it is unclear how many workers might transfer to the Dallas area after a merger.
Parker said the airline plans to keep the downtown Tempe headquarters building and noted that the airline is in the process of renewing its lease there for "several years."
"We know we're going to need it, either because we didn't get the merger done or we did get it done and we want to have a signfiicant presence there."
The Arizona Republic is owned by Gannett, parent company of USA TODAY.