In 2005, after US Airways merged with America West, Tempe provided incentives and tax breaks to land its corporate headquarters, but this latest merger means Tempe will lose the corporate building.
US Airways will take on American's name and its headquarters in Dallas-Fort Worth.
"It's important for the new American to be in Dallas because it's been rooted there for a long time," US Airways Chief Operating Officer Robert Isom tells ABC15. "American is a much larger company. It makes sense to make Dallas the headquarters."
Isom says it's too early to know how many jobs Tempe might lose. Right now, about 900 people work at the airlines' headquarters and about 9,000 work on the operations side, including pilots, ticket agents and mechanics. Isom says, "Arizona has a bright future in the new American. The Phoenix hub will be stronger than it ever has been.
Promising to maintain a strong presence is something other airlines have said as they closed corporate headquarters, but when United left Houston and Delta ditched Minneapolis those cities saw a drop in domestic flights. It could happen at Sky Harbor as US Air and American avoid duplicating flights, but Phoenix could also see new routes like a non-stop to London and more flights to Latin America.
Phoenix Deputy Aviation Manager Deborah Ostreicher tells ABC15 that Sky Harbor is attractive because half of passengers are considered origin and destination travelers, meaning they live, work and visit the Valley and aren't just here to catch a connecting flight to another city. Having room to grow at Terminal Four is also considered a plus.
The U.S. Department of Justice is expected to approve the $11 billion merger by September, but it will likely be two years before both airlines are fully integrated.