US Airways To Be Permanently Grounded Later This Year

The historic US Airways brand will be no more come this October, with the airline being fully integrated into American Airlines after their merger two years ago. According to the Associated Press, the airline will not be completely gone for some time, however. It is expected that the fleet won’t be fully repainted until 2016, and some parts of the merger will drag on until 2017. For business purposes, however, US Airways will be nothing but a memory by the end of the year. The company will be gradually closed over a three-month period, which is hoped will avoid the chaos that occurred following the similar Continental-United merger of 2012.

One of the first major challenges facing American is the problem of the two companies’ reservation systems. Over the summer, bookings will be moved from US Airways’ system to the one used by American Airlines, which is no easy task. Speaking to the Arizona Republic, Maya Leibman, the chief information officer at American, described the move as “a complex, hairy process.” The mood over at American Airlines is one of constant vigilance, with CEO Doug Parker trying to keep everything going smoothly.

“He is pounding the drum and we are all pounding the drum that we can’t be complacent, we have to be totally paranoid and totally worried about every single thing that could possibly go wrong,” Leibman said.

Kerry Philipovitch, the Vice President of Customer Experience at American, also spoke to the Arizona Republic and said customers will not see a repeat of the problems that occurred following the merger of US Airways and America West Airlines. The company switched to using America West’s booking system overnight, causing severe problems for passengers. Philipovitch said that part of the problem was insufficient training, saying that “employees didn’t feel confident working in the new system.” It appears that US Airways has taken this problem onboard, however. Nine thousand airport agents will be getting a week of training, and 2,000 reservation agents will be getting six weeks.

US Airways is just the latest historic carrier to be absorbed into American. Over the years, the company has taken many other airlines under its wing, including the legendary Trans World Airlines.

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US Airways has had something of a rocky history. Last year, it was revealed to have the joint second-lowest customer satisfaction score, with American also ranked at joint second worst. Nevertheless, seeing a venerable company disappear is always something of a shock. After 78 years, US Airways, a company that started as a humble mail carrier in Pittsburgh back in 1937, will be no more.

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[Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]