American Airlines drops flights from Los Angeles to Newark, near New York

Now that American Airlines is under new management, I imagine this is likely the first of many schedule changes we’ll see at Los Angeles International Airport. The new leaders — led by former US Airways CEO Doug Parker and former US Airways president Scott Kirby — seem to place a premium on profitable routes. Flying routes “just because we always have” doesn’t seem to matter.

United (12 flights today) and Virgin America (1 flight) still fly this route.

Question for the audience: What city will American cut next from L.A.? What city will be added?

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What American Airlines CEO Doug Parker told employees this week

Tuesday was 'Customer Day One' at the new American Airlines Group. Photo: US Airways.

American will retire its MD80s by 2018, according to a letter this week to employees. Photo credit: US Airways

In a communique today to employees, American Airlines Group summarized some of what top executives said earlier this week in a “state of the airline” discussion.

There are some interesting tidbits, many of which have been previously reported. But it is worth noting that American plans to retire all of its Super80s by 2018. And it’s interesting that AAG will take delivery of 93 airplanes this year.

As for that $10 billion in cash American has tucked away? ““The first thing we’ll do is look at any debt we have,” CEO Doug Parker said.

Read on for the entire Q and A, taken from American’s latest employee newsletter.

Q:
Could you shed any light on the fleet plan?
A:
During Tuesday’s State of the Airline, President Scott Kirby explained that “between American and US Airway, we have a fleet order of about 600 mainline aircraft and 90 large regional jets coming to refresh and modernize the fleet. We’ll retire the older Boeing 737s and Super 80s, with the last S80 leaving the fleet in 2018 We’ll taking delivery of 93 aircrafts this year - that’s almost two aircraft a week. We also have a lot of widebody growth coming and as these aircraft come in, and depending on the economic climate, they can be replacement aircrafts for the Boeing 767. In today’s world, the biggest growth opportunities for American are international and the widebodies will allow for that. The domestic market is much more mature, but international economies, like China, are growing much faster and we think there are growth opportunities there. We have the Boeing 787s and 777s, and Airbus A330s still coming and also have Airbus A350s coming in 2017.”
Q:
What is AAL planning to do now with the $10 billion in cash? What is AAL planning to do now with the $10 billion in cash?
A:
“The first thing we’ll do is look at any debt we have,” Doug answered. “We still have a very large amount of debt between the two airlines, so it would be in our interest to pay down the debt that’s out there at a high interest rate. After we do that, and we’re sure we’re comfortable in the economic environment, we’ll want to ensure that we have enough cash to invest in projects around the company that also provide returns for us, because we have equipment and things that could use some refurbishment. Then we’ll look to see if there’s something to return to our shareholders because it is their cash. We’re holding it, but they loaned it to us, and rather than leaving it in the bank to earn one percent interest or less, we should return it to them and let them get the returns
that they invested for. We’ll look to that, but we’re a ways away. But, I think we can all agree that $10 billion is a lot of cash.”
Q:
What are we doing to improve our operations?
A:
Chief Operating Officer Robert Isom weighed in saying, “When you think about serving our most basic customer needs, it’s all predicated on being ready. One of the things that I’ve noticed in my short time here is that as a company, we’re not yet ready to achieve greatness. It’s not because we’re not trying hard – it’s because we’re not all put together yet in the way we need to be. We’re not in position, rested, prepared, resourced, in uniform, ready to go, where we need to be each time. First and foremost, to really start the day right we have to have our aircraft set up and ready to go first thing in the morning, meaning they have to be out of maintenance. And that also means throughout the day, deferring as little maintenance as possible so that we’re always ready and that we have all resources ready where they need to be.”
He continued, “If I take a look at all of the things we need to do in the airline – and exceptional customer service and meeting needs on every level is really important – at the base you start with safety and compliance. Everything else after that is really dependent on core reliability. That core reliability is tied to departing on time and having everybody and everything ready to go. We’re not ready yet, but believe me, we’re going to get everybody within management and all our frontline employees on board with the concept of, ‘Are we ready? Do we have the equipment, the tools, the resources, so that we can deliver our customers’ needs when they need to go?’ Then we can all be proud at the end of the day of the product we’re delivering.”

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Employees to decide how American Airlines planes will be painted

This note appeared in an internal American Airlines newsletter.

This note appeared in an internal American Airlines newsletter.

Doug Parker, new chief executive of American Airlines Group, is asking employees whether they think American should keep its relatively new tail paint job.

The nugget, which showed up in an internal American communique to employees, was reported by the Dallas Morning News. It appears the issue is just about the tail. The rest of the re-branding will stay, no matter what. Much of the new look centers around a stylized eagle. 

The design of the old tail, still seen today on many aircraft that haven’t been painted yet, is an interlocked AA, a look American adopted in the 1960s. The new look is a stylized American flag.

American and US Airways employees will have until Jan. 2 to vote. They’ll have to chose one tail or the other. There’s no option to vote for a completely new design, which Parker said is too expensive. Here’s a link to the full employee newsletter in which the matter is discussed. 

If you could vote, what would you prefer? The new logo? Or the old one?

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New American CEO apparently removes security guard from “executive wing.”

US Airways and American closed their merger on Monday.

US Airways and American closed their merger on Monday.

How will the new American Airlines be different than its predecessor?

Some signs are already apparent, according to a letter sent by new chief executive Doug Parker to the combined carrier’s employees. Two things stand out from the letter, which I received from a former American employee.

  1. There is no longer reserved parking for executives.
  2. There is no longer a security guard outside of the “executive wing”

Here’s what I received from the former American employee:

Sent: Monday, December 09, 2013 9:01 AM
To: Broadcast Info
Subject: A message from Doug to HDQ employees
Importance: High

Fellow HDQ Employees,

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be at Centreport working with all of you. I was in this building nearly 25 years ago and it is a pleasure and an honor to be back.

Everyone has been extremely welcoming and supportive and I appreciate that very much. We have a lot of work to do together, and we have the best team in the business to do it. It won’t be easy, but it will be rewarding, energizing and meaningful work. And we will have fun together as we accomplish great things for our customers, our fellow employees and our investors.

A major merger and a new leadership team will mean a lot of change for all of us. Much of it will happen naturally over time – but there are a number of things that I think are important to change immediately. Two relatively small, but symbolically important, changes that are happening immediately affect those of us in HDQ, so I wanted to explain them to you myself:

There is no longer reserved parking for executives.
We believe management is a meritocracy. Those who do well, are given more responsibility, and with increased responsibility comes rewards like compensation, office space, etc. But I don’t think the best way to award parking spaces in a meritocracy is by level; rather it is by arrival time. More importantly, I want our executives and leaders out in the operation as much as possible, so giving them reserved parking is an inefficient use of the best spaces.

There is no longer a security guard outside of the “executive wing”
If you can manage to get into this building through those revolving doors of security, then you are certainly welcome to visit the executive wing any time you want. (We’re working on those revolving doors also, but that’s not a Day One fix.) Please come by and say hello to me and the rest of the team – we look forward to meeting all of you.

Both changes are effectively immediately. As you’ve probably already noticed, the signs have been removed. The security guards have been redeployed elsewhere in the building and we’ll get that desk out of there before too long.

Hopefully these changes make sense to you. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know. In the meantime, thanks again for the wonderful welcome. I am ready to get to work with all of you.

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