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Published on Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Airlines get nod to merge into world's largest carrier



The US Department of Justice has agreed to allow American Airlines and US Airways to merge into the world's biggest airline, though they must scale back their operations in some big cities.


The settlement requires approval by a federal judge, but eliminates the need for a trial, which was scheduled to begin on November 25.


American and US Airways must give up 57 slots to low-cost airlines at Reagan National Airport in Washington and 34 slots at LaGuardia in New York and cede gates in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Miami to low-cost carriers.


This will result in the airlines operating 44 fewer daily departures at Reagan and 12 fewer at LaGuardia, but this is only a fraction of the nearly 400 daily flights they operate from the two airports.


They will maintain the US Airways hubs in Charlotte, Philadelphia and Phoenix, and the American hubs in Chicago O'Hare, Los Angeles, Miami and JFK  for three years.


The companies expect to complete the merger in December.


Passengers will not see any immediate changes.


The two airlines are expected to combine their frequent-flyer programs and honour each other's elite status.


The combined company will offer flights to 336 destinations in 56 countries, which is expected to make it attractive to business travellers.


 


By TravelMole US editor Cheryl Rosen and Linsey McNeill

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