Local & Regional
6:41 am
Mon December 9, 2013

New American Airlines to Emerge as Deal Closes

David Seymour with American Airlines Group, Inc., (center) speaks to local officials and company employees Monday morning at the Tulsa maintenance base. Mayor Dewey Bartlett (left) and Tulsa Regional Chamber President Mike Neal (right) also spoke.
Credit Matt Trotter / KWGS

  American Airlines emerges from bankruptcy protection and US Airways culminates its long pursuit of a merger partner when the two completed their deal today and created the world's biggest airline.

The merger survived a challenge from the government and criticism from consumer groups, who fear it will lead to higher prices. It's the latest in a series of mergers that will leave four airlines controlling more than 80 percent of the U.S. air-travel market and with more power than ever to limit seats and boost profits.

American employs one out of almost every 50 people in the Tulsa Metropolitan Statistical Area, and the Tulsa maintenance base will remain an important asset for the new airline.

During an announcement of the completed merger today at the maintenance base, the company acknowledged the mutually beneficial relationship between the city and the airline. 

"We are proud of the work that is done here in Tulsa," said David Seymour, US Airways' senior vice president of operations who will oversee maintenance operations for the new airline. "We continue to work with the local and state leaders to ensure that the partnership remains strong and productive for the years to come."

Seymour, speaking alongside Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett and Tulsa Regional Chamber President Mike Neal, also said the company owes thanks to more than just its workers for helping to make the merger happen.

"You know, I talk about the employees here, but as the mayor and Mike Neal talked about, it's not just employees here," Seymour said. "There's the community here that's really helped out, and this Tulsa community is really part of what we consider Team American."

When American emerges from bankruptcy as American Airlines Group Inc., it will mark a monumental victory for CEO Doug Parker and his executive team at smaller US Airways, who convinced American's creditors that a merger made more sense than letting American fly solo.

The company estimates it will take about two years for the airlines to work together seamlessly.