While it’s easy to feel like the merger between American & US Airways has been moving at a snail’s pace (even though I don’t really think it has), the process is finally gaining momentum.
As we speak, the Dividend Miles program is being merged into the AAdvantage program, meaning there will finally be fully reciprocal elite benefits between the two airlines.
The Dallas Morning News is now reporting that American and US Airways are on track to receive their single operating certificate on April 8, 2015.
What are the implications of this?
For those of you not familiar with airline operating certificates, here are the implications of that:
“Since the merger closed, we’ve been working steadily towards a Single Operating Certificate, or SOC. On April 8 we expect to receive our SOC from the Federal Aviation Administration.
“Today, both American and US Airways operate under their own certificates. With SOC, the FAA recognizes American can legally operate as a single airline.
“Achieving SOC is a major milestone, but it does not mean that our integration is complete. While some of our operating policies and procedures will remain separate at SOC, the majority of our flight, maintenance and dispatch procedures will be identical for all flights that we operate.”
In other words, as a consumer this means absolutely nothing. A single operating certificate simply means that they’re finally recognized by the FAA as a single airline, and that they’re harmonizing procedures for their flights in terms of maintenance, dispatch, etc.
As a consumer, what you should care about is when American and US Airways are operating on a single reservations system. This should happen at some point in the fourth quarter of this year. At that point the operation will feel much more like a single entity from our standpoint. Agents from both airlines will be working on the same reservations system and see the same prices, upgrade availability, seats, etc.
While getting a single operating certificate is important on the back end of things, it’s not something that we’ll notice as customers. This is an important milestone for the “new American,” though.