AMR Corporation (Dallas/Fort Worth) and US Airways Group, Inc. (Phoenix) today announced the completion of their merger to officially form American Airlines Group Inc. (NASDAQ: AAL) and begin building the new American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth).
According to the new airline group, “The new American has a robust global network with nearly 6,700 daily flights to more than 330 destinations in more than 50 countries and more than 100,000 employees worldwide. The combined airline has the scale, breadth and capabilities to compete more effectively and profitably in the global marketplace. Customers will soon enjoy access to more benefits and increased service across the combined company’s larger worldwide network and through an enhanced oneworld® Alliance. US Airways will exit Star Alliance on March 30, 2014 and will immediately enteroneworld on March 31, 2014. With an expanded global network and a strong financial foundation, American will deliver significant benefits to consumers, communities, employees and stakeholders.”
Although American and US Airways have come together as one company, the process to achieve a Single Operating Certificate is expected to take approximately 18 to 24 months. In the meantime, customers should continue to do business with the airline from which travel was purchased just as they did before the merger. In short, it is “business as usual.” The airlines’ separate websites, aa.com and usairways.com, as well as the two airlines’ reservations systems and loyalty programs, will continue to operate separately until further in the integration process.
Customer benefits of the transaction to be rolled out over time include:
- A codeshare agreement between American and US Airways, creating more convenient access to the combined company’s global network
- More choices and connectivity, with nine hub airports across the U.S.
- Global access to a stronger oneworld alliance – including joint businesses with British Airways, Iberia and Finnair across the Atlantic and with Japan Airlines and Qantas across the Pacific – creating more options for travel and benefits both domestically and internationally
- Reciprocal American Admirals Club and US Airways Club benefits and reciprocal elite recognition
- Upgrade reciprocity
- Consolidation of loyalty programs and expanded opportunities to earn and redeem miles across the combined network
- Full integration of policies, websites, kiosks and customer-facing technology to ensure a consistent worldwide travel experience
- Co-location of ticket counters and gates in key markets
- With firm orders for more than 600 new mainline aircraft, American will have one of the most modern and efficient fleets in the industry, and a solid foundation for continued investment in technology, products, and services
Customers will begin to see enhancements to their experience in early January, including the ability to earn and redeem miles when traveling on either American Airlines or US Airways, reciprocal American Admirals Club and US Airways Club benefits, and reciprocal elite recognition. The combined airline expects to share more details around these key customer benefits early next year.
As the integration process is underway, American’s new Find Your Way site, aa.com/findyourway, will connect customers to key information throughout the merger integration process. Additionally, customers should visit aa.com and usairways.com, which will continue to be regularly updated with news on any fee, policy and procedure changes.
Employees of the new American will benefit from being part of a company with a more competitive and stronger financial foundation, which will create greater career opportunities over the long term. The completed merger also provides the path to improved compensation and benefits for employees.
Alignment of pay, benefits, work rules and other guidelines for employees of both airlines will be phased in over time so that all changes can be carefully considered. Represented employees will continue to work under their respective Collective Bargaining Agreements, with the modifications provided under the negotiated Memoranda of Understanding for certain groups. American’s non-represented Agents, Representatives and Planners will operate under their current terms and conditions of employment with merger-related adjustments.
The combination is expected to deliver enhanced value to American Airlines’ stakeholders and US Airways’ investors. The transaction is expected to generate more than $1 billion in annual net synergies by 2015.
The common and preferred stock of American Airlines Group will trade on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbols “AAL” and “AALCP,” respectively.
Rothschild is serving as financial advisor to American Airlines, and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, Jones Day, Paul Hastings, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and K&L Gates LLP are serving as legal counsel. Barclays and Millstein & Co. are serving as financial advisors to US Airways, and Latham & Watkins LLP, O’Melveny & Myers LLP, Dechert LLP and Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP are serving as legal counsel to US Airways. Moelis & Company and Mesirow Financial are serving as financial advisors to the Unsecured Creditors Committee. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Togut, Segal & Segal LLP are serving as the Unsecured Creditors Committee’s legal counsel.
Copyright Photo: Brian Peters/AirlinersGallery.com. Repainted with the new tail markings, Boeing 777-223 ER N791AN (msn 30254) departs from the DFW Hub in the “new look” AA Oneworld livery. N791AN is the first American aircraft to appear in the updated Oneworld color scheme.
Video: A “Thank You” from outgoing CEO Tom Horton of the American Airlines: