MIAMI — Sources tell Airways  that the FAA will issue American Airlines and US Airways a Single Operating Certificate (SOC) sometime early next month which will mark a significant milestone in the merger process.

A Single Operating Certificate–also known as a SOC–is a document issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that the regulatory process of combining the two subsidiary air carrier certificates under one certificate has been completed. In this particular case, this means that the American and US Airways certificates will officially be combined in the eyes of the FAA, but the merger process is still a bit far from being completed.

American and US Airways customers will still continue to shop for flights, check flight status, and obtain seat assignments on each carrier’s respective website until the company migrates to a single passenger service system.

Hundreds of employees from both companies have been working together to obtain a SOC and merge the two companies, since announcing the merger on February 14, 2013. 

In November 2011, United Airlines was issued its SOC by the FAA, and over 13 months, employees from both Continental and United had to “streamline more than 440 operational manuals, programs and procedures down to approximately 260 manuals for the new United — a process that involved roughly 2,000 changes.”

The Cactus Call Sign to Disappear

For the most part, passengers will not notice any changes. However, all US Airways flights will switch from the “Cactus” call sign to the “American” call sign since American and US Airways will be viewed as together in the eyes of the FAA. 

Passengers may notice that US Airways flight crews will now start referring to them as American flights since US Airways will now use the American call sign.

When United and Continental received its SOC on November 2011, Continental flight crews started referring to the flights as United flights, and even after receiving the SOC a few days later, there were still quite a few Continental’s.