American Airlines is hoping to port over US Airways' reservation systems during a three-month period that is expected to start in July.
American uses Sabre, one of three major global distribution systems, for its passenger reservations and ticket data. Last year the two companies formally agreed to have the merged airline use Sabre as its passenger service system (PSS).
About 11,000 US Airways employees will be trained on the Sabre system in rotating six-week programs. US Airways staff can opt to use a graphical interface for Sabre's system that looks a lot like the system they've been using, Shares, according to a press conference.
Around July, American will stop selling flights labeled as US Airways for departures more than 90 days ahead. The flights will only appear in the "new" Sabre system.
A consumer attempting to book a flight that is, say, five months ahead, won't be able to do it via US Airways' website or agents. They'll be directed to American's channels. At the airport, self-service kiosks at US Airways airport check-in counters will be on the American interface.
The idea is to drain short-term flights out of the system.
Maya Leibman, chief information officer (CIO), told a press conference that she expects only 10% of all US Airways bookings, and 4% of all reservations combined, will be left on the final cutover day to the Sabre system.
The hope is to finish the cutover by October, when the US Airways brand is slated to vanish from consumers' eyes, though American will continue repainting aircraft through early next year. The frequent flier program data has already been merged.
American aspires to dodge the reservation system snafus that battered United Airlines after it cut over to the systems of its merger partner Continental a few years ago and it lost any ability to do transactions.
IBM is consulting for the airline on the cutover.
Leibman, who comes from a management rather than a technology background, said:
"I've worked in technology long enough to know not to give any specific dates, because when you don't necessarily meet that date for a good reason, it looks like a failure to the outside world."