It's going to take a long time to integrate American Airlines and US Airways, executives at the two airlines told employees in a merger update.
In a letter sent to workers on Friday, US Airways chief operating officer Robert Isom and American treasurer Bev Goulet said it will likely take at least 18 months after the merger closes for the new company to receive its single-operating certificate from government regulators.
They reiterated the merger is expected to close in the third quarter and that a new executive team will be named in late May, early June.
"Consider the numbers: Our integration will include more than 110,000 people serving 187 million customers a year flying to and from 336 destinations on more than 1,500 planes. Boil that down, and we will need to align thousands of systems, applications, procedures and policies as we implement the merger. And we want to get every one of them right," the pair wrote.
Keep reading for the full letter from Goulet and Isom.
May 10, 2013
We’re pleased to report the latest on our progress in planning the integration of American Airlines and US Airways. Ours is a big, complex task guided by a team of committed professionals from both airlines who have joined forces to create not just the biggest, but the best airline in the world.
Consider the numbers: Our integration will include more than 110,000 people serving 187 million customers a year flying to and from 336 destinations on more than 1,500 planes. Boil that down, and we will need to align thousands of systems, applications, procedures and policies as we implement the merger. And we want to get every one of them right.
The Integration Management Office (IMO) – the “nerve center” of our integration effort – has been firing on all cylinders since we last provided an update. As we have previously shared, there are 29 teams planning the integration of our commercial, customer-facing, operations, and corporate and staff functions for our two airlines. We’ve also created several cross-functional taskforces that will work on specific objectives. One, for example, is preparing a joint crisis response plan, while another is already focusing on obtaining a single operating certificate for the combined carrier.
This week several teams – those who have tasks that must be accomplished leading up to legal close or that otherwise will enable us to capture and deliver value to customers and employees – gathered in Dallas/Fort Worth to discuss and align objectives, set milestones, and properly sequence activities. Ultimately, we are working to create an airline that keeps our current customers happy, brings in new customers, provides a great place to work, and achieves the financial value that will make it all possible.
We know this planning process raises many more questions than answers at this time. How long will this take? What changes might affect you and when? As a guideline, we are planning toward a third-quarter transaction close. Between now and then, the leadership team for the new company will be named; this week Tom Horton and Doug Parker shared that they expect to name the senior team around the end of May or early June. And, once the merger closes, you will start to see things change as we begin to implement our integration plans.
Following close, we anticipate it could take at least 18 months before we operate as a single carrier. In the interim, we’ll begin to extend to customers some of the benefits they’ll see from the merger, including the ability to combine flights on a single itinerary and earn and redeem frequent flyer miles across airlines. We are committed to educating our employees on those changes so that you can provide the best service to our customers. Only later in the process will we combine, for example, reservations systems and combine our operations control centers.
Our goal is to make these transitions as smooth as possible at every phase. Please watch for regular updates from us as the work of the IMO continues, and we encourage you to read each weekly edition of our joint merger newsletter Arrivals, which you can find on Jetnet or Wings, to learn more about what’s happening across both airlines.
While our integration planning teams continue their work, the biggest priority for all of our employees is to stay focused on running both airlines safely while maintaining a reliable and convenient experience for our customers.
We have a great deal of work ahead as we plan to put the new American back on top. With the best people in the industry alongside us, we know we will succeed. A big thanks to all of you for your hard work and commitment to our customers as our busy summer travel season approaches.
Robert Isom Bev Goulet