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American Airlines receives SOC
Jan Fernandez — April 8 2015
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Not long after merging its frequent flyer programs, American has taken another step in pushing the US Airways brand away — receiving a single Air Operator's Certificate.

With a Single Operating Certificate, or SOC, US Airways ceases to exist as an airline. It was revealed about two weeks ago, in an internal memo to the pilots, that American would receive its SOC on Wednesday. The airline publicly confirmed the date soon after.

American has been making steady progress while staying on schedule. The carrier made several revisions to better align cockpit operation between American and US Airways pilots, and Revision 9 — the last revision — rolled out late last month. Revisions to other procedures, such as handling of dangerous materials, were also done by the team of approximately 700.

Receiving its SOC is a big step for the carrier, and one of the effects, while expected, will be a difficult process for pilots and aviation enthusiasts alike: The retirement of the Cactus callsign. The last official Cactus flight originally scheduled was US Airways flight 774, from London-Heathrow to Philadelphia, scheduled to arrive at 11:40am. However, the carrier received its SOC a few hours earlier than expected, moving the final flight forward to Flight 638 from Kahului to Phoenix. The Boeing 757 operating the flight took off on Tuesday and is scheduled to arrive before 6am.

Another change is that American will no longer have to say "Operated by US Airways". The text appears on stickers of US Airways aircraft in the new American livery and on the reservation systems, when booking a codeshare flight listed under American's code. However, as the reservation systems have not yet merged — this will occur later this year — flights listed under US Airways' code will read "Operated by American Airlines" to passengers.

It's taken American almost a year and a half to obtain its SOC, which is a bit more than Delta and United, both of which took just over a year. However, as the last major merger, the team at American Airlines Group is probably trying to avoid mistakes the two previous carriers — especially United — made, while at the same time proceeding at a quick enough pace.

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