American Airlines new design not a done deal post-merger, says incoming CEO
U.S. Airways CEO Doug Parker announcing the planned merger of AMR, with U.S. Airways, as members of the Allied Pilots Association and U.S. Airways Pilots Association listen. Mike Stone / Reuters
Perhaps Doug Parker will give American Airlines’ new livery a touch-up. But, the whole thing will apparently be on the table.
American Airlines shouldn’t let the paint dry on that new livery design: Incoming American CEO Doug Parker, who currently heads US Airways, told employees the livery issue is “one of the integration issues we need to work through…”
Remember all that talk in the days before the merger announcement that US Airways was fine with it? Well, that spin seems to have come to a dead stop when Parker confided with US Airways employees.
Parker recently conducted meetings with flight attendants and pilots, and the livery issue was raised in question and answer sessions by employees in both meetings, which took place recently in Charlotte and Phoenix. Videos from the meetings were posted on a US Airways employees website and they were transcribed for SEC filings (1 and 2).
Parker was asked if a plan is in place to change American Airline’s new livery, assuming the merger is approved, probably in August, September or October. Here’s an excerpt from what Parker told flight attendants about the livery issue
Parker: “There’s no plan yet. That’s one of these integration issues we need to work through and I really don’t know what the answer to this is because right now. Again, two separate companies. They are painting airplanes in that scheme that they rolled out, and, you know, when it comes time where we actually have one airline, we should decide whether or not we want to keep…
“We are going to have to paint three hundred and fifty of our airplanes of course, in some scheme, so we will need to at that time assess what’s the best thing to do to paint all the airplanes. I really don’t have the answers. It may be just to keep painting them the way American’s painting them.
“Maybe we need to do something slightly different than that, it may be something dramatically different than that. I really don’t know the answer Steve. I’m not trying to dodge the question, I just… we just don’t know the answer.
Probably the best way for me to say it is this, had we done the merger a year ago, before they started painting airplanes, I think we probably would have said, let’s just go make them all look like the existing American fleet, you know. We will just paint ours to look like that. Maybe we would have thought about doing something combined, but probably not. So that’s one way to think of it.
“And if we would have done the merger a year from now and they already had all their airplanes painted, we probably would have said, let’s just paint all of ours like theirs. The only reason this is an issue now is because they just did it right in the middle, which kind of makes it confusing. So, that gives us an opportunity, actually, to decide if we are going to do something different because we have so many airplanes to paint. But I don’t know the answer yet.”
The paint job created a lot of controversy, and some US Airways employees, as well as American employees, aren’t big fans of the redesigned livery.