American Airlines and US Airways are set to officially announce their merger plans today, after months of speculation and planning. The joint operation between American, the currently bankrupt carrier based out of Dallas, Texas, and US Airways, the twice-bankrupt carrier based out of Tempe, Arizona, would form the largest airline in the world.
According to multiple sources, the airline would keep the American Airlines name while Doug Parker, the current CEO of US Airways would take the top management seat.
Full intentions of the merger are scheduled to be announced today in a 10 a.m. CST conference call in Dallas. Once the formal announcement has been made there are dozens of extra regulatory steps to be made prior to an official merger, including approval from the Federal Trade Commission, but most believe that the process will encounter little resistance. Complete joint operation is expected later this year or early next year.
As to how this will affect consumers, there is plenty of analysis in the airline community to read before going to bed, but the basics are pretty straightforward. With slightly less competition between carriers, consumers may expect to pay more out of pocket moving forward, but can expect a stronger airline better capable of handling economic downturns and volatile oil prices.
Based on previous mergers (among them, Delta and Northwest to form the then-largest airline) neither frequent flier program nor the miles therein will be gutted, but consumers can expect either AAdvantage or Dividend Miles to adopt the most cost-effective facets of the other program.
Until the airlines agree on all of the details further down the road, however, the community is only left to speculate on the full effects of the merger. Expect numerous updates as the year goes on.
[Flickr image via Fly For Fun]