With silver bells emblazoned with American Airlines and its logo, hundreds of employees at the airline’s headquarters in Fort Worth cheered the closing of its merger with US Airways this morning.
The combination of the nation’s No. 3 and No. 5 carriers forms the world’s largest airline company, with nearly 6,500 daily flights to more than 330 destinations in more than 50 countries and more than 100,000 employees worldwide.
“Our goal here is to go and restore American Airlines to its position as the greatest airline in the world,” said American’s new chief executive Doug Parker.
AMR Corp., the parent company of American, and US Airways Group official closed its merger on this morning. Shares of the new company began trading today on the NASDAQ exchange under the ticker symbol AAL. The stock rose $1.25, or nearly 6 percent, to $23.76 at the open.
Parker rang the opening bell for the NASDAQ market remotely from a hall at American’s headquarters at Amon Carter Boulevard. He was surrounded by outgoing CEO Tom Horton who will remain on the board as chairman and former AMR CEO Robert Crandall. Horton, who led AMR as CEO through its two-year bankruptcy and merger process, will serve as non-executive chairman of the new company until the first shareholders meeting next year.
Executives said they expect it to take 18 to 24 months to fully integrate the two carriers under the American banner. Consumers should not see any impact from the merger through the busy holiday travel period, and flights are expected to continue under the US Airways name for at least a year.
During the celebration, employees were encouraged to ring their bells and cheer as loud as possible with a Nasdaq executive telling them the louder they cheered the higher the stock price would go up. In mid-morning trading, the stock was trading around $24.35.