By Keith Laing
US Airways and American Airlines have finalized their merger, creating what they say will be the world’s largest airline.
The consummation of the deal follows a nearly yearlong quest that involved a court battle with the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The new company, which will fly under the American Airlines banner, said Monday was a landmark day, even though it will take up to two years before the airlines are cleared to operate as a single company by the Federal Aviation Administration.
"We are taking the best of both US Airways and American Airlines to create a formidable competitor, better positioned to deliver for all of our stakeholders,” Parker continued. “We look forward to integrating our companies quickly and efficiently so the significant benefits of the merger can be realized."
The airlines said they would offer 6,700 flights to 330 destinations across the word and employ 100,000 people when their combination is complete.
The companies placed the value of their merger at $17 billion last month, up from an $11 billion estimate when the deal was first announced in February.
US Airways and American overcame objections from the Justice Department that their merger would violate federal antitrust laws and increase ticket prices for passengers.
The airlines countered the DOJ’s lawsuit by arguing that they needed to be able to combine forces to compete with other airlines that have been allowed to merge in recent years, such as Delta and Northwest, United and Continental and Southwest and AirTran Airways.
The latter two companies combined forces in 2011, but they are still operating as separate entities two years later, illustrating the long road that could still potentially lie ahead for US Airways and American Airlines.
Parker predicted in an interview with CNBC on Monday that the US Airways-American would benefit airline passengers when it was fully completed, though he did not set a timeframe for when that might be.
"The three of us have now the ability to take people pretty much anywhere in the world,” Parker said in reference to the three major “legacy” airlines that have merged in recent years, counting Delta, United and his new combined airline.
“What used to be a business where it was purely on schedule, if you have the ability to take people everywhere, you compete on product. And we're prepared to do that,” Parker said.