Skift Take

The American and US Airways system cutover went curiously well this weekend - but will it hold?

This weekend, American Airlines and US Airways combined their reservations systems into a sole platform, changing the way that thousands of flights and airline crew operate.

Many expected trouble — after all, the process of merging thousands of flights from two different airlines into one single system has historically proven to be problematic. As of Sunday evening, however, operations appear to be running smoothly.

“Saturday we had minimal operational disruptions with an on-time performance of better than 90%,” Casey Norton, Director, Corporate Communications told Skift. “Sunday is tracking at about the same rate, but we still have some flying to do.”

Typical on-time rates for legacy airlines hover at around 90%.

Other reports from the field indicated smooth sailing as well. Gary Leff, who runs the popular View from the Wing blog intentionally booked an early flight on Saturday morning from Austin to Phoenix and back to get an idea of how operations were proceeding. In a highly detailed post over on his blog, Mr. Leff found that operations both inflight and at the airports were nothing but typical, though phone wait times were a little bit higher than normal.

With the weekend behind them, American now faces the challenge of handling the heavy loads of weekday business travel.

“We’re not letting our guard down at this point,” suggested Mr. Norton. “We’re monitoring everything as we get ready for the first rush of business day customers tomorrow.”

Indeed, any issues that still reside within the merged American-US Airways system may only present themselves once the network is under duress. United and Continental’s merged system created delays and other disruptions that haunted the airline for months and only now in 2015 are operations starting to iron into place. A worst-case scenario for American would be a repeat of that experience.

If this weekend’s performance is an indication of the overall systems merger, though, American may have dodged a bullet.


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Tags: american airlines, mergers, mergers and acquisitions, us airways

Photo credit: A promotional image of an American Airlines plane with the lines' latest livery. American Airlines

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