I have, with few exceptions, kept to my self-induced restrictions on comments about the merger between American Airlines and US Airways. As you know, I spent my formative working years with American Eagle and American Airlines, and continue to maintain personal relationships with a number of my former colleagues. My practice of avoiding extensive comments on the merger will continue, but I can’t let the sun set on today without saying a few words on the announcement that the airlines have reached a settlement agreement with DOJ which will allow the merger to proceed. The gist of the agreement has been widely reported, but to review the basics, they are:
- Giving up 52 slots at Washington’s Reagan National Airport (DCA)
- Giving up 17 slots at New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
- Giving up a pair of gates at several airports including Boston, Chicago, Dallas Love, Los Angeles, and Miami
Now that the airlines can begin capitalizing on work that has likely been going on while preparing for an anti-trust trial, I think it is more likely than not that things could move fast when it comes to announcing the new AAdvantage program. The next few months are going to be very interesting as more details about the new American emerge. Buckle up. It could get cute. Just my gut feeling, but I wouldn’t bet on a lack of change just so the new airline can appease flyers who’ve been tweaked by recent changes with Delta and United. If I’m wrong, I’ll admit it here.
-MJ, November 12, 2013.