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A key step in the merger between American Airlines and US Airways is scheduled for Saturday

American Airlines planes taxi at Miami International Airport. American plans to add US Airways' planes and pilots to its scheduling system on Saturday, Oct. 1.
(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

If all goes well, American Airlines passengers won’t realize that the Fort Worth-based airlines took a key and potentially tricky step on Saturday in its merger with US Airways.

The combination of American Airlines and US Airways to create the world’s largest carrier was announced in 2013, but the process takes several steps and won’t be completed for at least another year or longer.

On Saturday, the airplanes and pilots for US Airways will be moved over to the scheduling system of American Airlines. The system is used to determine which planes and which pilots fly each route and to schedules vacations, fill vacancies and arrange pay cycles, among other administrative tasks.

To avoid the glitches that plagued previous mergers, American Airlines scheduled the switch for one of the slowest flying times of the year. The carrier also canceled several flights on Saturday to reduce the number of passengers who could be affected by a catastrophe.

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“Our mantra has been ‘How do we reduce risk?’ ” said Maya Leibman, executive vice president at American Airlines.

In the years after United Airlines merged with Continental Airlines, the carrier was plagued with computer problems that many experts attributed to the union of two complicated computer systems.

Even if American Airline executes the scheduling system merger on Saturday, the carrier still needs to merge the scheduling system for flight attendants, technology workers, maintenance crews and engineering staff. The airline also must finish painting dozens of US Airways planes with American Airlines colors and logos.

“We are certainly not spiking the ball too soon,” Leibman said.

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hugo.martin@latimes.com

To read more about the travel and tourism industries, follow @hugomartin on Twitter.


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