"We've got a real exciting time, you know," said Dean Headley, Wichita State's Aviation Expert. "Come June, and the last half of 2013 is going to look pretty cool in Wichita, I think."
News of a major airline merger could be good news for Wichitans. American Airlines and U.S. Airways announced Thursday they want to join together to form the world's largest airline.
While nationally experts are predicting a rise in ticket prices, Wichita could avoid that.
"We're flying to Albuquerque," said Cheryl Martin Thursday at Mid-Continent Airport. "We're actually headed to the season opener for Oklahoma State baseball."
In an airport full of travelers, fliers were just starting to learn about the merger. Martin, a former American Airlines employee, thought first about the workers.
"It'll be hard for the employees, because they're going to have to figure out their seniority," she said.
Then, she thought about the advantages of American getting bigger.
"But, I think it'll offer more options for the passengers, to be able to fly to some of the more hubs," she said.
Wichita State's aviation expert Dean Headley agrees. But he says don't expect to see new flights popping up this week.
"I don't think we'll see much of anything change for at least a year," said Headley.
The biggest change could cost us extra change. Already national experts are predicting price hikes across the board. But Headley says the Wichita market has something special that could prevent it, Southwest Airlines, coming in June to take over for Air Tran.
"That's good for us. Because American is a strong, 'We go to Dallas!' said Headley. "Well, Southwest will be going to Dallas."
Even though the two airlines will be flying to different airports in Dallas that sort of direct competition is usually good for the buyer.
"Big price jumps? Probably not," said Headley. "Possibly, with Southwest and their kind of predatory approach, we might see stable, or lower prices for at least awhile."
But, to keep the prices down, he says Wichitans will have to buy.
"If you want a viable system to work here in Wichita, fly American or fly Southwest," he said. "Out of Wichita. Don't go elsewhere."
Headley says the current economy means carriers have to be bigger in order to be able to survive. The merger between American Airlines and U.S. Airways probably won't be completed for several months. It could be a year or more before any changes come to Wichita.