As expected, American Airlines and US Airways have officially legally merged and dethroned United Airlines as the largest commercial airline in the world, as FlyerTalk members started to receive an e-mail message from Scott Kirby — now president of American Airlines — about the official announcement this morning.
What does this news mean for you?
For now, nothing. American Airlines and US Airways will continue with business as usual — for now, anyway. They will still operate as separate airlines for the time being; and their respective frequent flier loyalty programs will still be separate as well.
Although the merger between the two airlines has officially closed as of this morning, the integration of both airlines is expected to be completed sometime in 2015 at the latest.
However — if this merger is anything like those of Delta Air Lines with Northwest Airlines and United Airlines with Continental Airlines — as I first wrote here back in February earlier this year, the implications for you should eventually include but not be limited to the following:
- The seamless combination of both frequent flier loyalty programs as one — or, at least, reciprocity between the two frequent flier loyalty programs before that happens — to be announced as soon as next month
- A reduction of the combined workforce — most likely to be reduced by thousands of employees worldwide — primarily those employees who have redundant responsibilities will lose their jobs
- The departure of US Airways from Star Alliance is expected, as American Airlines is a member airline of the oneworld alliance — and US Airways is expected to join the oneworld alliance on March 31, 2014
- A decision will eventually be made as to which of the computer systems of the two airlines the combined entity will use for the future
- Competition in the commercial aviation industry in the United States will be further reduced — for now, anyway
- The American AAdvantage and US Airways Dividend Miles forums on FlyerTalk will eventually merge into one forum — and I will alert you as to when that happens
Hopefully, Doug Parker — the chief executive officer of the merged entity, headquartered in the Dallas-Fort Worth area — learned his lesson from the merger of US Airways with America West Airlines, which was not exactly implemented smoothly.
The final hurdle for this merger was cleared when Sean H. Lane — the judge of the United States Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of New York who approved the merger of US Airways and American Airlines back on March 27, 2013 — granted American Airlines approval to exit bankruptcy exactly eight months later.