American Airlines and US Airways have had to give up slots and aircraft gate positions at key airports to gain approval for their merger to create the world’s biggest airline.
The pair will lose 52 slot pairs at Washington Reagan National Airport (DCA) and 17 slot pairs at New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA), as well as certain gates and related facilities.
The airlines also will forgo two gates and related facilities at Boston Logan International Airport, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas Love Field, Los Angeles International and Miami.
The combined carrier is still expected to generate more than $1 billion in annual net savings from 2015, as was estimated when the merger was announced in February.
The new carrier expects to operate 44 fewer daily departures at DCA and 12 fewer daily departures at LGA than the approximately 290 daily DCA departures and 175 daily LGA departures that American and US Airways operate today.
The divestitures required by the settlement with the US Department of Justice are not expected to impact total employment levels at the new American.
The action on slots and gates allowed the two carriers to settle litigation brought by the US Department of Justice and various other authorities which challenged the deal and came despite a last minute protest from Virgin America.
Completion of the merger remains subject to the approval of settlements by the US Bankruptcy Court and certain other conditions. The companies now expect to complete the merger next month.
Incoming chairman of the combined company, Tim Horton, head of American’s parent company AMR, said:
“This is an important day for our customers, our people and our financial stakeholders. This agreement allows us to take the final steps in creating the new American Airlines.
“With a renewed spirit, we are about to create the world’s leading airline that will offer, along with our Oneworld partners, a comprehensive global network and service by the best people in the business.
“There is much more work ahead of us but we’re energized by the challenge and look forward to competing vigorously in the ever-changing global marketplace.”
US Airways chairman and chief executive and incoming chief executve of the combined airline Doug Parker said: “This is very good news and we are grateful to all who have made it happen.
“In particular, we are thankful to our employees, who throughout this process continued to believe in a better future as one airline and who voiced their support passionately and consistently.
“We also want to thank the elected officials in the states and communities we serve, the business leaders in our hub cities, and the thousands of customers who endorsed and supported this effort.
“We are pleased to have this lawsuit behind us and look forward to building the new American Airlines together.”
Under the terms of the settlement, the new American has agreed to maintain its hubs in Charlotte, New York (Kennedy), Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago (O’Hare), Philadelphia and Phoenix.
The carrier will continue to provide daily scheduled service from one or more of its hubs to airports in states which voiced concern over losing connections.
All of its DCA commuter slot pairs will be used to serve small and medium-sized communities.
“The new American intends to announce the service changes that will result from the divestitures in advance of the sale of the DCA and LGA slots, so that the airlines acquiring those slots have the opportunity to maintain service to those impacted communities,” a statement said.
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