American Airlines anticipates receiving a single operating certificate from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on 8 April, it says in an employee newsletter.

The certificate is a key step in the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier’s merger with US Airways, allowing it to operate its separate legacy American and legacy US Airways operations as a single carrier.

The majority of “flight, maintenance and dispatch procedures will be identical for all flights” following the issuance of the certificate, American says. Some operating policies and procedures will remain separate as the integration continues.

US Airways-operated flights will continue to carry with both AA and US flight numbers until the airline moves to a single reservations system in the fourth quarter, it adds.

“The approach that we’ve used is – there’s no big bang, there’s no light switch,” said Robert Isom, chief operating officer of American, on the operations integration process in August 2014. “We want to have everyone trained up on both sides of the house so that our operating policies, procedures, everything that involves operating an aircraft safely… are all identical, mirror images at the time of single operating certificate.”

The new certificate comes right on schedule. The carrier’s chief financial officer Derek Kerr said last November that he anticipated the single operating certificate in the “early part of the second quarter”.

The operations changes will occur less than two weeks after American combines its AAdvantage and the US Airways Dividend Miles frequent flier programmes on 28 March.

The next big merger milestones for the carrier include the consolidation of its two operations centres in a new facility in Fort Worth in the third quarter and moving all of its reservations to Sabre in the fourth quarter.

American and US Airways closed their merger in December 2013 and began codesharing a month later.

Source: Cirium Dashboard