The enlarged company will be led by US Airways Chief Executive Officer Doug Parker under the American Airlines name. AMR Chief Executive Officer Tom Horton will make recommendations regarding the new management structure, but the final decisions rest with Parker. Parker is confident that the merger will continue on schedule and doesn’t expect any interference from the Department of Justice in regards to antitrust issues.
The pace of integration will vary in different areas of the company. Code sharing and rationalizing overhead structure will take place quickly. It will take 3 to 6 months for US Air to transfer to AMR’s OneWorld Alliance, combining reservation systems could take up to a year, and it will likely be a year and a half before the two airlines can move to a single air operating certificate, which would allow them to interchange planes and crew members.
When the merger was announced, the companies said they would take at least 400 planes on order, plus associated options. Parker said there’s room to modify that contract, though changes are not currently planned. “If we go and do the work and say maybe we would like to accelerate some airplanes, maybe delay some airplanes, maybe change some aircraft types, those are conversations airlines have all the time. There may be some of that, we don’t know,” Parker said when both CEOs spoke during the annual meeting of the International Air Transport Association.
The merger will close as AMR, which filed for Chapter 11 protection in 2011, emerges from bankruptcy. US Airways rose .03 percent to $17.63 as of 10:02 this morning in New York trading. The shares have climbed 30 percent this year.
The merger is on track to close in the third quarter.
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