American Delays Target to Integrate US Airways Flight Attendantsby
New date not set for combining flight operating system
Original goal for completing shift had been spring of 2017
American Airlines Group Inc. delayed one of the last major steps in fully blending its operations with those of merger partner US Airways, saying the work is more complex than originally expected.
The Fort Worth, Texas-based airline doesn’t have a new target date for integrating operations for its flight attendants, which had been set for spring of 2017, spokesman Matt Miller said in an interview Wednesday. The two carriers merged in December 2013.
American can’t reap all the potential cost savings from the deal until the carriers’ flight systems are fully meshed. Currently, flight attendants from the former US Airways can only work on planes from that carrier, with the same limits on the American side. Those restrictions, which also include pilots until the end of next month, prevent the carrier from matching the best aircraft to each route and responding faster to flight disruptions.
“It’s just turning out to be a much more complex undertaking than we initially anticipated, just the magnitude of things,” Miller said. “We want to make sure we are doing things correctly and not rushing.”
The airline is on schedule to combine systems by the end of September that will allow pilots to fly on either carrier’s planes and move aircraft to any base.
American is spending $280 million on its final integration push, which involves more than 500 independent information-technology applications. The system oversees the movement of aircraft, crew scheduling, flight dispatching and other functions.
American earlier combined its reservation and passenger-service systems. The last step will be meshing the airlines’ maintenance programs and technology planning, engineering and supply-chain systems. A date to complete that work hasn’t been set.