PHOENIX -- A milestone in the mega merger of two airlines was reached Thursday as the first US Airways plane to be repainted in American Airlines' colors and logo went into service.
The two carriers are still a long way from becoming one, but the combined airline took another step in the integration process.
The legacy US Airways Airbus A319 debuted its freshly painted fuselage on a flight from Charlotte to New York's LaGuardia Airport.
The plane recently spent 13 days receiving its makeover, which included removing the existing paint before sanding, washing and applying 80 gallons of specially chosen paint to the aircraft.
"Today marks an important next step in our airlines' integration and is a tangible way for customers and employees to see the result of our progress first hand," said Scott Kirby, American Airlines president. "The integration of our airlines, including painting the rest of the US Airways fleet, will take many months as we work to deliver value through this merger for our employees, our customers and our investors."
Approximately 640 aircraft are in line to receive a similar makeover over the next few years.
By the end of June, American Airlines anticipates that more than 275 mainline and regional aircraft will be sporting the new look.