Nearly a year after reaching a preliminary agreement, Pilot Travel Centers and Flying J have completed the merger of the two companies to form Pilot Flying J, now a network of over 550 travel centers employing more than 20,000 people. Before the merger, Pilot operated 275 locations across the U.S.
The merger came about after Flying J, citing the sudden drop in oil prices and the disruption of credit markets, filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009. Flying J Inc. also owned Longhorn Pipeline, Big West Oil, Flying J Oil & Gas, Haycock Petroleum and Transportation Alliance Bank. The Federal Trade Commission provided its required approval of the deal after Pilot Flying J agreed to sell 26 locations to Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores to settle fair trade issues.
“We are now one great company, two great brands,” said Pilot Flying J president & CEO Jimmy Haslam. “Our new organization is a combination of two of the best-known brands in the travel center industry, both with strong family histories and shared values.”
The merger includes only Flying J’s travel centers, and the combined operations will operate centers in 43 states.
“The merger is a historic moment in our industry,” said Crystal Call Maggelet, chairman of the board of Flying J. “It will be exciting to see our more than 550 locations come together, providing a complete North American network of travel centers. Our customers will benefit through new and expanded services. Outstanding customer service will continue to be a top priority at the new company.”
Among the changes drivers will see at many of the Flying J locations are upgraded driver’s lounges, new gasoline and diesel pumps, enhanced showers and remodeled restrooms. Also, national brand restaurants, such as Denny’s, Subway and Pizza Hut, will be added at many locations as well, according to Pilot.