Robert Isom, US Airways’ chief operations officer and Bev Goulet, American’s senior vice president and chief integration officer, were both in attendance earlier this week during the US Airways Unplugged Media Day event and discussed their integration plans with the WSJ in a joint interview. The two executives revealed that they are only in the early planning stages of their joint integration efforts and that nothing can officially begin until the merger closes. However, here are their current timeline goals as reported by The Middle Seat:
Mr. Isom said the new American wants to have a few things ready to go the day after the deal closes. That includes putting signage in airports to direct customers if they try to check in at the other carrier’s counters, to train workers on the other airlines’ policies, gates and lounges, and have a single crisis plan in place in case of an accident or incident.
Soon after the merger closes, he said, the goal is to allow passengers to book flights on both carriers on a single itinerary and combine some operations in Fort Worth, which means bringing some employees from US Airways’ current headquarters in Tempe, Ariz. Within six months, the two hope to start moving their planes around, matching the size of the plane with the demand on a route. They also want to let passengers earn and redeem miles on the other carrier’s frequent-flier plan, and harmonize some product offerings such as food and beverages on board and align some passenger processing procedures, Mr. Isom said.
By a year after the merger’s closing, the two plan to move to one computer system and a single website, combine their operations centers and align employee procedures and manuals. The latter is required to win a single operating certificate from the FAA. Only then can the two join their workforces, mix and match aircraft and crews and offer a single passenger experience.
Speaking of their desire to avoid the system integration troubles experienced during the UA/CO and US/HP moves to a single passenger reservation system…
Mr. Isom said. US Airways and American have said they intend to move US Airways to American’s system because American is the larger airline and that will minimize the amount of training required to familiarize US Airways’ fewer employees with a new system.
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