My colleague Ken Kaye reports of the local impact of the pending merger.
How will passengers at South Florida’s local airports be affected by the merger?
Initially, they’ll see almost no changes at all, as airline officials anticipate it will take months for the merger to be legally approved and all the details sorted out.
“It’s business as usual,” said Madeleine Grey, a US Airways vice president.
By this fall, however, the U.S. Airways name will start fading away and US Airways ticket counters either convert to American Airlines or some other carrier.
Also, regular US Airways fliers will have to report to different concourses than they’re currently used to at Miami International Airport -- because American Airlines is in the North Terminal and U.S. Airways is in the South Terminal.
Similarly, at Palm Beach International, American is on Concourse C and U.S. Airways is on Concourse B. At Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, American Airlines and US Airways already are located in Terminal 3 and along Concourse E.
“So when this merger does take place, there’s no change for passengers, they’ll still go to same area,” said Greg Meyer, spokesman for the Fort Lauderdale airport.
Otherwise, American and US Airways officials said they see no immediate fare hikes.
“Because we are two unique carriers with very individualized routes, that’s not something we see at last in the short term,” said Marilyn DeVoe, vice president of American’s Miami hub. She added that after the merger, American wants to remain competitive with United and Delta.
Neither do the airlines anticipate immediate changes to flight schedules, although American plans to add to more flights to the Caribbean this summer and two more flights to Brazil in November.
In the long term, customers of both airlines will be able to take advantage of an expanded route structure, DeVoe said. Currently, of 6,700 daily flights conducted by the two airlines, only 12 routes overlap.
In terms of workforce changes, American said it plans to add 150 reservations agents to staff a newly create reservations complex on top of about 8,000 existing workers in Miami.
“This is kind of a landmark day for us,” DeVoe said. “We’re celebrating the opportunities because we’ll be the largest airline in the world.”
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AMR Corp. -- the parent company of American Airlines and US Airways Group announced Thursday that boards of directors of both companies have unanimously approved a definitive merger agreement.
The combination of the companies will create a global carrier with an approximate value of $11 billion, AMR Corp. said in a statement.
The merged airline will operate under the American Airlines name and retain its headquarters in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, AMR said. And AMR shareholders will own 72 percent and US Airways' 28 percent of the new airline's stock.
The new American will offer more than 6,700 daily flights to 336 destinations in 56 countries. The carrier is also expected to maintain all hubs now served by American and US Airways.
In South Florida both airlines operate flights to and from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International, Palm Beach International and Miami International airports.
At Fort Lauderdale's airport, American had 5.2 percent of the airport's passenger traffic in 2012 while US Airways had 7 percent, according to the latest airport data available. Combined, the airlines have about 12.2 percent passenger share, which would put them in the top five carriers behind Delta Air Lines.
At the West Palm Beach airport, US Airways had 14 percent of passenger boardings in 2012, while American had 6. 4 percent, airport data shows.
The airlines fly different routes from Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, as such it’s been difficult to predict if there would be any flight reductions as a result of a merger, airport officials have said.
American has a hub at MIA and is its largest carrier. The airline has previously said it plans to grow its network at the Miami airport, where it has about 64 percent market share.
US Airways had 2 percent of traffic for the budget year ended Sept. 30, 2012. Both carriers however fly from Miami to Charlotte and Philadelphia, according to airport officials.
Tom Horton, American's current president, CEO and chairman will serve as chairman of the combined carrier's board of directors through the first annual meeting of shareholders, the statement said. US Airways' Chairman and CEO Doug Parker will serve as CEO of the merged airline.
"The combination of American and US Airways brings together two highly complementary networks with access to the best destinations around the globe and gives us a strong platform to provide our customers the most connected, comfortable travel experience available," said Horton. " Together we will be even better positioned to deliver for all of stakeholders, including customers, people, investors, paertnets and the many communities we serve."
"Today marks an exciting new chapter..." noted Parker. "Our combined network will provide a significantly more attractive offering to our customers, ensuring that we are always able to take them where they want to travel, when they want to go."
Customers should continue to book travel and track or manage flights on AA.com or USAirways.com and will continue to enjoy the benefits and rewards of each airlines frequent flier program (AAdvantage and Dividvind Miles), AMR said in the statement.Copyright © 2015, CT Now