American Merger News: The Headlines You Might Have Missed

I was on an American Airlines flight Monday morning when the merger between American and US Airways became final.

Sort of like the merger, my flight was delayed (just not by the Justice Department). We had to wait for mechanics to inspect the engines to make sure that the fan blades weren’t damaged by ice chunks ingested from the runway. Other than the delay, it was a smooth flight, and we arrived at our destination safely and a little ahead of schedule, let’s hope the merger goes as well!

Anyway, I’m sure you’ve already read plenty of coverage related to the merger, but I thought I might share a few of the headlines that you might have missed.

From NASDAQ: American Airlines Group Inc. [AAL] Rings the NASDAQ Stock Market Opening Bell Remotely From Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

Here’s a video of Doug Parker and the employees of the new American ringing the NASDAQ opening bell to celebrate the merger and their debut on NASDAQ

American Airlines Group listed on NASDAQ AND Wikipedia

The merger must be official – an entry for the new American Airlines Group has been added to Wikipedia. Read more.

Behind the scenes with The Airchive: American Airlines and US Airways Officially Merge in Dallas

The Airchive has the best behind the scenes coverage of the NASDAQ bell ringing ceremony and the employee celebration at American’s headquarter in Ft. Worth. Read more.

Employees celebrate as American, US Airways form No. 1 airline

They partied in Ft. Worth.

From Andrea Ahles at the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram “Ringing silver bells emblazoned with the American Airlines name and logo, hundreds of employees joined top executives at the airline’s Fort Worth headquarters on Monday to cheer the closing of its merger with US Airways.” Read more.

US Airways, Valley’s own airline, begins to fade into history

They’re a little wistful in Arizona.

From Dawn Gilbertson and Ryan Randazzo of The Arizona Republic in TEMPE, Ariz. “The sign atop the nine-story office building downtown still will say US Airways, and so will the white planes with the blue tail that take off every few minutes from Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport.

But after Doug Parker rang the Nasdaq bell Monday from Fort Worth, Texas, signaling the completion of the $17 billion US Airways-American Airlines merger, US Airways started its gradual fade into the history books.” Read more.

Charlotte to Become the New American’s Second Busiest Hub After Merger

Optimistic in Charlotte.

Skift reports “As part of the settlement US Airways and American reached with the U.S. Justice Department to get approval for the merger, they agreed to maintain service at their hubs for three years at current levels.

At Charlotte Douglas, the combined airline will operate about 650 flights a day — more than 90 percent of the airport’s total. That makes Charlotte Douglas one of the most concentrated hub airports in the country, uniquely tied to the fortunes of one airline.” Read more.

Born in Pittsburgh, US Airways Departure is a Bittersweet One

Perhaps a little more bitter than sweet in Pittsburgh.

The carriers’ daily departures in Pittsburgh peaked at 510 in 2000 when local employment also peaked, at about 11,800. Yet today, the airline operates just 40 daily departures here and employs about 1,800. Read more.

Doug Parker issues his first official message to American Airlines employees

From the Dallas Morning News “With the closing delay behind us, and the busy travel season right around the corner, we have made the decision to focus our attention on ensuring both airlines run a superior operation during the holiday travel season. But changes to the customer experience will start to accelerate in early January when we begin to put the AA code on all US Airways flights, and vice versa, and align the combined network schedule. On March 31, US Airways will officially join the oneworld alliance. Our customers will soon earn and redeem miles on both airlines. And in the coming months you’ll see our airlines begin to co-locate in airports around the world, starting with our hubs. Expect plenty of communication about our progress.” Read more.

Sky Talk: Parker’s thoughts on Eagle, the livery and former American CEO Horton

The question that won’t go away…Will American keep the new livery? Read more.

American Air to seek more corporate customers after merger

Reuters reports “”We will now have a network that can get customers everywhere they want to go. Because of that, we have more ability to compete for corporate customers,” said Scott Kirby, the former president of US Airways who has that role at the new American.

Kirby said New York was a prime example of an area where American could make corporate customer inroads and compete better with rivals such as Delta Air Lines (DAL.N), which offers an international network as well as domestic shuttle service for business passengers.

The combination will enable the new American Airlines to combine the former American’s international route map with US Airways’ shuttle service, Kirby said. “We’ll now eliminate that competitive advantage and be on a level playing field with both Delta and United competing for corporate customers,” Kirby added. Read more.

Why Tom Horton deserves to be Texan of the Year

Cheryl Hall of the Dallas Morning News writes, “If you had asked me on Aug. 12 whether I’d be nominating Tom Horton for this year’s Texan of the Year, I would have said you were nuts.

This was a CEO being shown the door at American Airlines who was getting about as much sympathy as Jimmy Carter after Ronald Reagan’s election.

The easiest route for Horton would have been to lie low. Instead, he took the high road and acted, well, CEO-like. Read more.

Former American Airlines boss Bob Crandall shows up to support merger

Speaking of CEOs, Bob Crandall talks to Terry Maxon of the Dallas Morning News.

“American Airlines Group employees at a Monday morning town hall meeting were probably surprised to see former chairman and CEO Robert L. Crandall sitting on the podium between outgoing CEO Tom Horton and incoming CEO Doug Parker.

But the long queue of employees who lined up to shake his hand or talk briefly to him afterward testifies to his continuing popularity with many American employees, even though it’s now been 15½ years since he stepped down.” Read more.

Bob Crandall wants to “clean Delta’s clock”…

And he offers up some great quotes to the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram

ST: “You still follow the airline industry. Delta has been very aggressive. Can American compete with them?”

Crandall: “Yes they have and have been very successful in performing and now what American has to do is clean Delta’s clock…” Read more.

Unions react to closing of American, US Airways merger

Andrea Ahles reports for the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram:

Several union leaders were at the NASDAQ bell ringing event, cheering on American’s executives on the first day of trading

Allied Pilots Association and US Airlines Pilots Association: Today, we find ourselves in a remarkably strong position, with an even more promising future.

Association of Professional Flight Attendants: “Christmas has come early for the APFA,” said union president Laura Glading. “It’s been a long, tough slog, but today our hard work has paid off. The Flight Attendants of the new American are looking forward to building the world’s greatest airline.” Read more.

International Association of Machinists Skips ‘New’ American Airlines’ Debut

While the mechanics are in no mood to celebrate…

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) today announced it declined management’s invitation to participate in the “new” American Airlines’ opening bell ceremony in New York City celebrating the carrier’s first day of stock trading on theNASDAQ.

“To stand there with American’s management and pretend there are no labor problems and celebrate ‘one airline’ would be an outright lie.” Read more.

Big question after airline merger: Will ticket prices rise?

For passengers, the merger won’t mean many immediate changes. Whether the deal leads to higher ticket prices — the issue at the heart of legal challenges from the government and consumer groups — remains to be seen. Read more.

US Air-American Exec: Prices Will Remain Stable

No, prices won’t rise. Read more.

Perspective: No Myth – Merger Means Higher Fares

Yes, prices will go up. Read more.

American Airlines CEO: Fares Won’t Rise if Demand Holds Steady

Maybe… Read more.

US Airways to join oneworld on 31-Mar-2014

I’m sure you know this by now, but just in case…

From CAPA Centre for Aviation News “US Airways announced plans to join oneworld on 31-Mar-2014 following the completion of its merger with American Airlines, departing from the Star Alliance on 30-Mar-2014. US Airways’ regional affiliates operating under the US Airways Express brand will also transition to oneworld. During the transition period working towards their full integration, American and US Airways will maintain their current loyalty programmes.” Read more.

Oneworld’s 2014 triple play: US Airways, TAM, SriLankan signing up

2014 will be a very good year for oneoworld!

From Australian Business Traveller “The oneworld alliance will gain three valuable new members early next year – and Qantas an additional three partners for codeshare flights – as US Airways, Brazil’s TAM and SriLankan Airlines all sign up in the first six months of 2014.” Read more.

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