American livery decision put to employee vote

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American Airlines leadership has put a decision on the carrier’s livery to an employee vote, citing a need to begin painting aircraft following its merger with US Airways.

The livery will include the fuselage from American’s new livery, which was introduced in January, with employees voting for one of two tail options: the new stylised flag (top) or the traditional AA eagle (bottom).

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American Airlines

“Our livery should represent the American brand well - it should be professional, and it should be cost efficient-but it is not a make-or-break decision for our airline,” says Doug Parker, chief executive of the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier, in a letter to employees today. A complete refresh is not keeping with the airline’s focus on a return on investment to shareholders, he says.

More than 200 of American’s aircraft are painted in the new livery and a significant amount of airport signage has been updated, he says. This makes an entire refresh impractical.

A return to the traditional AA eagle on the tail is not an ideal solution.

“The problem with this design is that it contains two different logos – the old AA and the new flight symbol,” says Parker. “But if our team members decide they would like to keep AA on the tail of our airplanes, we will manage just fine.”

He adds: “I have yet to find a customer who based their purchase decision on the exterior design of the airplane.”

The vote comes as the airline faces an imminent need to begin repainting the more than 620 US Airways and US Airways Express aircraft with the American name.

The two carriers merged on 9 December.

American will keep the popular US Airways heritage airlines aircraft. These include the liveries of airlines that merged with US Airways in the past, including Piedmont Airlines and Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA).

The heritage schemes will be expanded to include a US Airways liveried aircraft and a new TWA aircraft, the newsletter says.

Employees can vote on the two tails through noon US central time on 2 January 2014.