African American Chamber Announces "Protect Our Hub" Project Potential US Airways/American Merger Threatens Hub Status at Philadelphia International

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Leadership of the African-American Chamber of Commerce of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware today announced the creation of "Protect Our Hub," a new region-wide public awareness effort to educate the community about a potential merger between US Airways and American Airlines which threatens the viability of Philadelphia International Airport in the midst of an expansion plan.

"We find ourselves in the awkward position of questioning the economic and financial decisions of the management of these two carriers. But question we must, because such a merger could threaten the economy of greater Philadelphia and undo all other efforts at the airport," said Steven Bradley, chair of the chamber. "From our perspective, if US Airways merges with American Airlines, our fear is that the new airline could downgrade its Philadelphia International Operations which would mean fewer opportunities for minority and women owned businesses and their employees."

Bradley's remarks came at a press conference this morning organized by City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson in whose district the airport is located. The Councilman intends to convene hearings seeking a better explanation as to the effect such a merger might have on Philadelphia. Others participating in the press conference included business, labor and elected leaders, all of whom expressed concerns that US Airways' history elsewhere – particularly in Pittsburgh – is a blueprint for actions it might take in Philadelphia if a merger takes place.

Despite assurances to the contrary, US Airways cut flights and shed gates at Pittsburgh International following its merger with America West Airlines seven years ago. More than 10,000 people lost jobs and taxpayers were left paying for the airport built specifically for US Airways.

As part of the "Protect Our Hub" project, a new website www.cityofbrotherlyhub.com will serve as the central social media site for information. In addition, the Chamber's board and members will be working to educate business owners, community leaders, elected officials and the general public about the potential merger; partner with other interest groups such as labor organizations to examine the impact; and participate in public hearings.

"At this point, we are not convinced a marriage between US Airways and American Airlines will provide job security for employees, increased travel options for consumers or stability for Philadelphia International Airport.  There are simply too many questions to ask and too much history to justify our concerns," Bradley said. "In order to protect employees, business opportunities for small, minority and women owned business enterprises, and the greater Philadelphia economy, now is the time to take action to ensure that Philadelphia International remains a thriving US Airways Hub."

The African-American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ, and DE (AACC) is a membership organization serving businesses, non-profit organizations, individuals, and other agencies committed to supporting the economic empowerment and growth of African-American businesses in southeastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and northern Delaware.

The mission of the AACC is to spur the economic development of African American businesses by increasing business opportunities, providing access to major corporate markets and legislative officials, cultivating potential strategic partners, and advocating on behalf of its membership.

SOURCE African-American Chamber of Commerce



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