Even as American Airlines continues to mull a merger with competitor US
Airways, the carrier on Thursday announced a brand new look for its fleet and
The first new design since 1968 includes red, white and blue stripes on the tail and the word "American" written on the body, which is painted silver.
All new planes delivered to the airline will bear the new look, and the existing fleet will be updated over the course of the next several years. American Eagle planes will be repainted as well.
Thomas Horton, CEO of parent company AMR Corp., told the Associated Press in an interview that planning for the change began in the summer of 2011, when American announced it would buy hundreds of new planes from Boeing and Airbus. The company filed for bankruptcy in November of 2011.
Art Torno, American's vice president for Mexico, Caribbean and Latin America, said the changes go beyond a paint job and new branding to a host of new amenities, including a new interior for international widebody planes, a new "main cabin extra" class and new ways to book flights.
"Really what we unveiled today is a clear view of a new American," he said. "It's us building a more exceptional travel experience. It's really much to do about modernizing and refreshing the airline in everything we do."
A decision is expected within weeks about whether AMR will move forward with a merger with US Airways or remain on its own; a merged company would be called American Airlines. Horton told the Associated Press that the redesign doesn't tilt the company toward either outcome.
US Airways spokesman Ed Stewart praised the "compelling result" of the redesign.
The pilots union at American, which supports a merger that would put US Airways executives in charge, was less enthusiastic.
"A new paint job is fine but it does not fix American's network deficiencies and toxic culture," said Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association.
This report was supplemented with information from the Associated Press.
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