FAA: American Airlines to Obtain Single Operating Certificate on April 8

By Paul Riegler on 23 March 2015
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A US Airways jet landing at LaGuardia

A US Airways jet landing at LaGuardia

American Airlines, which merged with US Airways in February 2013, is continuing to make progress as it attempts to combine the two carriers into the world’s largest airline.

On Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration announced that it will grant the airline a single operating certificate on April 8 at 7:00 a.m. GMT and that all flights previously scheduled under the AWE (Cactus) call sign will operate using AAL (American).

The Fort Worth-based airline originally said it expected to have a single operating certificate late in the second quarter of 2015 or shortly thereafter.

To accomplish the task, the carrier broke the process down into nine “chunks,” according to the airline’s chief operating officer, Robert Isom.  Since the merger, the two airlines have been working with the FAA’s Certificate Management Offices as well as the assigned Joint Transition Team and, in January, the FAA’s chief counsel told the airline that the two airlines’ operations “will have been sufficiently merged to permit an SOC during the second quarter of 2015, at which point the US certificate would be surrendered to the FAA.”

Earlier in the month, Scott Kirby, the airline’s president, told a group of bankers that it has “completed eight of our nine phases, and we hope to get a single operating certificate in April.”

When issued, the airline will temporarily have both “American Airlines” and “US Airways” on American Air Carrier Certificate AALA025A.  This indicates that, even after April 8, American will continue to operate flights for the time being under the US Airways brand until other aspects of the operation, including reservation systems, have been merged.

The certificate will be issued with the proviso that the single operating certificate be “appropriately amended” once the two airlines are fully merged and only one corporate entity remains.

The airline will still have a lot of work ahead of it to complete the merger, given that its reservations systems won’t merge until later in the year.  It will still have to merge its fleet and many other operational aspects of the company and these last steps will be completed by late 2015 at the earliest based on the airline’s current timetable.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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