“Today marks an exciting new chapter for American Airlines and U.S. Airways,” Parker said in a statement. “The combined airline will have the scale, breadth and capabilities to compete more effectively and profitably in the global marketplace. Our combined network will provide a significantly more attractive offering to customers, ensuring that we are always able to take them where they want to travel, when they want to go."
Parker explained the decision to keep the American Airlines name for the new company by calling it “one of the world’s most iconic brands."
American CEO Tom Horton, who will be chairman of the combined airlines’ board of directors for the first year of the merger, cast the agreement with U.S. Airways as the culmination of American’s efforts to remake itself during bankruptcy.
“Today, we are proud to launch the new American Airlines – a premier global carrier well equipped to compete and win against the best in the world,” Horton said in a statement. “Together, we will be even better positioned to deliver for all of our stakeholders, including our customers, people, investors, partners, and the many communities we serve.
“Over the past year, the American team stood tall as we established a rock solid foundation for long-term success through an efficient and effective restructuring,” he continued. “As part of this process, after months of exhaustive analysis and a thorough review of all alternatives, we concluded that this merger is the best outcome for our company, delivering not only the greatest value for our financial stakeholders, but also positioning us well for sustainable success over the long term.”
Horton said the merger “provides enhanced potential for full recovery for our creditors.”
The announcement of the merger between American and U.S. Airways won quick praise from the union that represents American Airlines' flight attendants, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA).
"It’s been a long, tough road but the result is well worth it," APFA President Laura Gladding said in a statement. "The new American will provide job security and fair compensation for all employees and another great option for the flying public. I'm looking forward to working with our new colleagues as our operations and cultures combine. Flight attendants from both companies are eager to help build a strong and competitive airline and restore American's prominence.”
The U.S. Airways-American merger was reportedly agreed to on Wednesday, and it was subsequently approved by the airlines' respective stockholders.
The merger is the fourth major airline combination in recent years. It follows deals between Delta and Northwest Airlines, United and Continental Airlines and Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways.
Like those combinations, a merger between the two airlines would have to be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Justice because of antitrust concerns.
Aviation analysts have said the combination will create world’s largest airline.