Tempe-based US Airways is planning to merge with American Airlines, company representatives are expected to announce Thursday.
The company employs 750 people inside the corporate headquarters, but the airline has nearly 9,000 workers who are based in Phoenix.
Depending on who you talk to, what will happen with those positions is unclear at this point.
"I don't think we will be terribly hurt by them leaving and taking the headquarters," said Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on Wednesday evening. "It's my understanding the hub will stay here and employees will still have their jobs here."
A source who works inside the company tells CBS 5 News he expects 80 percent to 90 percent of positions at the Tempe corporate headquarters to shift to American Airlines' headquarters in Fort Worth, TX.
"All those folks who have really good blue-collar and white-collar jobs here in Phoenix, all of them have to be feeling nervous if their jobs are going to be absorbed out to Dallas," said aviation industry expert Tim McCollough, who is an attorney with the law firm Gordon & Rees.
McCollough is not convinced the merger is a good move for US Airways, American Airlines or their customers.
He thinks fares could actually go up as routes between the two airlines are consolidated. He cites the recent merger between United and Continental Airlines that has not brought prices down.
"If you look at airlines, the most profitable ones are never the biggest ones," McCollough said.
Business owners along Mill Avenue and Rio Salado in Tempe are ready to take a hit when employees start moving out.
"There's at least several hundred people in here who eat lunch every day, and we will miss them on a short-term basis," said Monti's La Casa Vieja restaurant owner Michael Monti. "As a citizen of Tempe, I'm sad about it. But the writing was on the wall."
US Airways also has a sizeable philanthropic footprint in the Valley. A company spokesman tells CBS 5 News the company donated almost $4.5 million in money and manpower to area nonprofit companies in 2012.
Federal regulators will have to approve the merger for it to proceed.
Stay with cbs5az.com and CBS 5 News as this story develops.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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Wednesday, February 13 2013 4:01 PM EST2013-02-13 21:01:01 GMT
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