Browsing Tag: Merger

The special More to Love livery at SFO - Photo: Alaska Airlines

The special More to Love livery celebrating Virgin and Alaska becoming one – Photo: Alaska Airlines

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Alaska Airlines. I feel that they provide consistent, friendly service while having a nice product. They are like your really great friend that you always look forward to hanging out with.

Even though Alaska and I have a friendly relationship, they know I see other airlines from time-to-time. Often it is just for price or timing, but I end up back to Alaska. Mostly.

When Virgin America came to the Seattle market, things changed. Here you had a hip, friendly, cheap airline with more bells and whistles than any other domestic airline at the time. WiFi? Yup. In-seat entertainment? Of course. Fancy cabins? The fanciest. Great food? Yummy! Fun toys? Yes to all that and more. Virgin America spiced up my airline life.

The special More to Love livery at SFO - Photo: Alaska Airlines

The special More to Love livery at SFO – Photo: Alaska Airlines

We are a go! The merger between Alaska Airlines and Virgin America is official. To help celebrate, and welcome new members to the family, Alaska created a special “More to Love” livery on one of their Boeing 737-900ERs. What better way to bring two airlines together?

The painted engine on the special liveried 737 - Photo: Alaska Airlines

The painted engine on the special liveried 737 – Photo: Alaska Airlines

It is not a big surprise that the merger finalized, but the journey wasn’t exactly easy. Although many questions still remain, when things are said and done, the new combined airline will have about 1,200 daily departures to 118 destinations, with hubs in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Anchorage, Alaska, and Portland, Oregon. They will also have a fleet of about 286 aircraft — the future of the Airbus fleet has not yet been finalized.

An Emirates A380 landing at Los Angeles Airport. Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Emirates buying part of Qatar Airways? Yeah, no. – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

I spend a lot of time on this place called the Internet. You’ve probably heard of it. I will admit that I dwell within the fringes and depths of it to find interesting aviation rumors and innuendo. Sometimes, however, they are so comical it just takes a look at Twitter to find some comedy gold. My friend Ben over at One Mile at a Time (you’ve heard of him)… well, he posted a summary of an article that he found on a paragon of virtue called Zerohedge saying that rumors were flying that Emirates sought a majority or, at least, a large stake in their rival down the track in Doha.

One of Qatar's two Oneworld 777s taken through the window of a QR A320 photo by Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter.com

Qatar Airways has friends outside the gulf. What would they stand to gain? – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Now that you’ve stopped laughing the first time, let me just say that again. There are rumors that Emirates wants to purchase a large stake in Qatar Airways.

Let me put this in big bold letters so that I can give you a summary: EMIRATES WILL NEVER PURCHASE A LARGE STAKE IN QATAR AIRWAYS!!!!

Well, why not? I’m so glad you asked.

US Airways Airbus A330 and American Airlines Boeing 777. Image from American.

US Airways Airbus A330 and American Airlines Boeing 777. Image from American.

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.”

The New Merging Couple, US Airways and the New American Airlines Liver - Image: American Airlines

The New Merging Couple, US Airways and the New American Airlines Liver – Image: American Airlines

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 77W looks ready to fly. Check out the Wi-Fi antenna up top. Image from American.

How will this livery look on an Airbus A330?  Image from American.

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:

Story written by Malcolm Muir and David Parker Brown