United and Continental Airlines have been issued with a single operating certificate, as part of the merger process of the two carriers.
While the news will not present any immediate changes from a customer perspective, it paves the way for the migration of the two carriers into a “single passenger service system” in the first quarter of 2012, at which point the two carriers will function as one airline.
The single operating certificate is a major milestone in the merger process, with the two carriers already having unveiled a single logo and aircraft livery (see online news August 12, 2010) , and plans to merge Continental’s One Pass loyalty scheme into United’s Mileage Plus programme (see online news September 21).
United Continental Holdings said that the two carriers went through “a rigorous 18-month process of aligning operating policies and procedures to obtain a single operating certificate from the FAA”, with over 500 employees working “to evaluate closely each pre-integration programme, process and operating specification from both airlines to determine the best choice for the new United”.
Report by Mark Caswell