An enlarged American Airlines came into being today after the completion of its merger with US Airways.
The deal was finalised in spite of challenges from the US government and consumer groups who are concerned it will lead to higher prices for passengers. Four airlines now control more than 80 per cent of US air traffic.
US Airways will join Oneworld on March 31, immediately following its exit from Star Alliance the day before.
Until the full integration of AA and US Airways – which will see the combined airline retaining the American Airlines name – US Airways and its regional carriers will operate as Oneworld affiliate members, under the American umbrella.
The merger was formally approved by a US federal bankruptcy judge at the end of last month (see news, November 28), before it was finalised this morning.
It followed a deal with the US Department of Justice and six states plus the District of Columbia in which AA and US Airways agreed to relinquish slots and gates to low-cost airlines at seven airports (see news, November 13).
The two carriers will give up 52 slot pairs at Reagan airport in Washington DC and 17 pairs at New York’s LaGuardia. They will also hand over two gates at each of Dallas Love Field, Los Angeles International, Boston Logan, Chicago O’Hare International and Miami International airports.
The DOJ, six states and District of Columbia had filed a lawsuit in August claiming that the merger would restrict competition (see news, August 13).
As part of the settlement, the newly merged American Airlines also agreed to maintain hubs at Charlotte, New York JFK, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago O’Hare, Philadelphia and Phoenix “consistent with historical operations” for three years.
The shares of US Airways are due to be delisted on December 6 with American’s parent company AMR Corporation renamed as American Airlines Group on December 9.