Ever since American Airlines declared bankruptcy in November 2011, Doug Parker from US Airways has been on the prowl to snap up the airline and merge. Talk of a possible merger has remained around the aviation world since then, and in some cases it has been discussed to the ends of the earth. It really shouldn’t have been much of a surprise when news that the two airlines would merge started to leak last night.
The two airlines will combine and create one of the world’s largest airlines. The combined entity will lose the US Airways name and will become a member of oneworld. The “New American Airlines” will strengthen oneworld with a combined network of 336 locations in 56 countries offering 6700 daily flights.
“Today, we are proud to launch the new American Airlines – a premier global carrier well equipped to compete and win against the best in the world,” said Tom Horton, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of American Airlines. “Together, we will be even better positioned to deliver for all of our stakeholders, including our customers, people, investors, partners, and the many communities we serve.”
What does this mean for the traveling public? The two airlines will continue to operate separately for quite sometime and it might be a while before most passengers see any real changes. But here is the basic run down:
- The US Airways brand will be transitioned to the new unveiled American Airlines brand and look.
- The head quarters of the new American will be located in Dallas Fort-Worth.
- All hubs will remain in the combined operation: Dallas, Miami, JFK, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Chicago, Charlotte, Washington D.C. (National) & Los Angeles.
- US Airways will leave Star Alliance and the new combined airline will continue with oneworld
- American CEO Tom Horton will continue to be to the chairman — for now.
- US Airways Dividend Miles will no longer exist and will be merged into AAdvantage (but as to when this still has not been announced).
- They will continue to grow the combined airline taking delivery of over 600 new aircraft (including Boeing 777-300ERs & 737-800, Airbus A350s, A320 & A321 NEOs) and retiring the older aircraft (ie MD-80’s).
The new airline does not expect many jobs will be lost due to the two airlines not having much overlap. “We’re not anticipating any major layoffs,” said US Airways CEO Doug Parker according to the Airline Biz Blog. “The airline will be based in Dallas-Fort Worth and some people won’t want to move from Phoenix [US Airways is based there]. Most of this well take care of itself.”
When the Airline Biz Blog asked the airline CEOs about their regional counterparts (American Eagle and US Airways Express), they explained that they want to concentrate on the mainline before looking at the regional carriers. “We’ll keep them as part of the larger airline,” Parker explained. “It’s one of those things we’ll have to work on over time, but certainly there’s nothing to announce.” Horton was asked about the possibility of the regional carriers being spun off and responded, “We’ll keep them as part of the larger airline. It’s one of those things we’ll have to work on over time, but certainly there’s nothing to announce.”
With an on-board premium product that is already similar (US Airways Envoy class uses the same seats that the New American airlines does on their 777-300ER) and with a modern fleet, we can hope that this will be a positive match. It is likely that AA/US do not plan to experience some of the same issues that plagued the United/Continental merger and as long as everything goes smoothly, the new American will be official once it clears bankruptcy court in the 3rd Quarter of 2013.
MORE AMERICAN AIRLINES / US AIRWAYS MERGER STUFF:
- Photo gallery of the AA/US press conference today from the Airline Biz Blog
- American Airlines new livery on a Boeing 777-300ER
- Taking the inaugural American 777-300ER flight to Sao Paulo
- Current, recent past and Astojet American liveries on three Boeing 737s parked side-by-side