Feds clear American, US Airways to operate as one airline

Feds clear American, US Airways to operate as one airline

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given American Airlines and US Airways permission to operate as one airline, which will bring the companies' merger one step closer to completion. 

American officials said this week that they have received a "single operating certificate" from the FAA, which will allow the companies to begin their transition to being known solely as American Airlines. 

Previously, American and U.S. had to operate as separate airlines that were owned by the same company. 

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American's chief operating officer, Robert Isom, said the FAA's certification of the airlines operating at one company would clear the way for the elimination of the US Airways brand, which has been scheduled to be eliminated since the merger was first announced in 2013. 

"Achieving a single operating certificate is an important step toward becoming a fully integrated airline and the effort to reach today's milestone touched nearly every area of our company," Isom said in a statement. 

With the new certification, air traffic controllers will refer to all of the merged company's flights as "American," but Isom said the US Airways name is not completely going away yet.  

"While today marks a significant milestone for our integration, there is still much that remains ahead and we will intensify our focus on moving to a single reservations system and website and combining our frontline employee workgroups," he said. 

Achieving the clearance to operate as a single airline is a milestone for a merger that was once so controversial that the Department of Justice got involved in it.

The Justice Department sought for the better part of a year to block the merger, arguing that it would violate federal antitrust rules because the airlines had too many similar flights.

The department dropped its opposition to the merger after the companies agreed to give up some of their flights at New York's LaGuardia and Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport.