United Continental Holdings, Inc. (Chicago) announced today (November 30) that it received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval for a single operating certificate (SOC), marking another significant achievement in the integration of United Airlines (Chicago) and Continental Airlines (Houston).
This regulatory milestone, while significant from an operational policies and procedures perspective, does not change how customers interact with the airline. Customers of United and Continental will continue to shop for flights, obtain seat assignments and check flight status on each carrier’s respective website until the company migrates to a single passenger service system in the first quarter of 2012. At that point, from a customer’s perspective, the two carriers will function as one airline.
The Continental Airlines website is still being maintained although all flights are now operated as United Airlines.
The two carriers went through a rigorous 18-month process of aligning operating policies and procedures to obtain a single operating certificate from the FAA. A team of more than 500 employees from both carriers worked together to evaluate closely each pre-integration program, process and operating specification from both airlines to determine the best choice for the new United. The team streamlined more than 440 operational manuals, programs and procedures down to approximately 260 manuals for the new United – a process that involved roughly 2,000 changes.
Effective today, air traffic control communications will refer to all United and Continental flights as “United.” United and Continental announced their merger in May 2010 and closed the transaction on October 1, 2010.
From this point onwards, technically “Continental Airlines” is no longer an airline. Ironically, as mentioned previously, the Continental Part 121 Air Operating Certificate (AOC) is the surviving AOC for the new United Airlines. The old United AOC was officially retired today. The CO AOC will live on (as well as the 1991 color scheme) as the operating AOC of the new United Airlines.
Copyright Photo: Brandon Farris. Please click on the photo for additional information on this special color scheme.
Continental Slide Show: CLICK HERE
United Slide Show: CLICK HERE