Despite failed attempts by antitrust plaintiffs and their cries for more airline competition, the American and US Airways merger is finally complete. American will now trade under the “AAL” symbol and William Douglas “Doug” Parker is now CEO of the American Airlines Group Inc.
Although the merger is at long last complete, do not expect to see any changes during holiday travel. The two companies will need to take time to adapt to one another when it comes to corporate style, business endeavors and decision-making. The frequent flier program and ticketing for the two airlines will not be combined until early 2014.
American Airlines Group Inc. CEO Doug Parker told the Associated Press, ““It’s two complex organizations that need to be melded into one over time. That’s the biggest challenge by far. It’s not easy, but we have people that have done it before — both airlines have been through a merger in the semi-recent past. We have consultants on board who’ve done this with other carriers, so we’ll learn from what we’ve seen at others as well as what we’ve seen ourselves.”
Journalists have varying opinions on the merger, with some saying the merger will reduce competition and some saying it will improve the competition between Delta, United and American Airlines.
The Chicago Tribune established their pro-merger standpoint in an editorial published this week: “The two airlines might have limped along for some time as weak competitors to United-Continental and Delta-Northwest. With the merger, the industry has a third strong competitor with the network and scale to give it staying power.”
David Koenig from the Associated Press is more hesitant to welcome the merger, saying to the Miami Herald: “The merger survived a challenge from the government and criticism from consumer groups who fear it will lead to higher prices. It’s the latest in a series of mergers that will leave four airlines controlling more than 80% of the U.S. air travel market and with more power than ever to limit seats and boost profits.”
What do you think? Do you feel the merger will benefit or harm the aviation industry?