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December 09, 2013

American CEO Parker: "After today's celebration the real work begins"

American Airlines NASDAQ 03American Airlines new chief executive Doug Parker is rallying workers at the world's largest airline to prepare them for the work of integrating American and US Airways.

In a letter sent to employees on Monday, Parker said, "After today's celebration the real work begins."

"We want to complete the full integration of our airlines as safely and as quickly as possible but, more importantly, we want to make sure that integration is done right. Our customers expect great service and a seamless experience, and we intend to deliver," Parker wrote.

He also held a town hall meeting with employees at headquarters alongside former American CEO's Tom Horton and Bob Crandall. They answered questions on a variety of topics including the company’s brand, its presence in New York and if the carrier will add more international flying.

“The biggest challenge is going to be the operational integration,” Parker said. “It’s not going to be easy.”

Horton, who led AMR as CEO through its two-year bankruptcy and merger process and will stay on as chairman until the first shareholders meeting next year, thanked employees for their hard work.

“We are putting American back on top,” Horton said, who received a standing ovation from employees.

Crandall, who was CEO from 1985 to 1998, said he wished he was young enough to come back to work at the airline.

“All of you have a chance to be part of renaissance, to go back to the day where anything but No. 1 is not acceptable,” Crandall said.

Being the greatest airline, Parker told workers, is having one that customers want to fly and where people want to work. Changes have already occurred at the headquarters where parking spaces are no longer assigned to management and a security guard stationed at the executive suite has been removed.

“Today’s about celebrating and working,” Parker said. “Tomorrow is all about working.”

Keep reading for the full letter from Parker.

-Andrea Ahles

Dear Fellow Employees,

Today marks the first day of the new American. It’s been over two years since American began its restructuring, and we have been planning for the merger and integration for many months. Now it’s time for all of us to deliver on the promise of the new American.

In Dallas/Ft Worth this morning, I will be joined by employees and labor leaders to celebrate the completion of the combination of American and US Airways and the introduction of the new American by ringing the opening bell on the NASDAQ stock exchange. We’re expecting hundreds of you to join us at the celebration, and senior leaders and I will help celebrate at employee events throughout the system.

After today’s celebration the real work begins. Several milestones we will achieve over time will mark the progress we are making. These include integrating our networks, combining our loyalty programs and achieving a single operating certificate. Our integration work will be conducted carefully to ensure our frontline co-workers are well equipped and well prepared to serve our customers.

With the closing delay behind us, and the busy travel season right around the corner, we have made the decision to focus our attention on ensuring both airlines run a superior operation during the holiday travel season. But changes to the customer experience will start to accelerate in early January when we begin to put the AA code on all US Airways flights, and vice versa, and align the combined network schedule. On March 31, US Airways will officially join the oneworld® alliance. Our customers will soon earn and redeem miles on both airlines. And in the coming months you’ll see our airlines begin to co-locate in airports around the world, starting with our hubs. Expect plenty of communication about our progress.

We want to complete the full integration of our airlines as safely and as quickly as possible but, more importantly, we want to make sure that integration is done right. Our customers expect great service and a seamless experience, and we intend to deliver. So we will approach that challenge with a focus on safety and ensure every step of the process is pursued with appropriate training. And we will make sure you have the tools and resources available to serve our customers.

We have worked a long time for this day, so please enjoy it. You’ll be receiving additional communication from your divisional leaders in the next day or two as they introduce themselves and we all begin gearing up for the work that lies ahead. I couldn’t be more excited about our future, and look forward to working with you to restore American as the greatest airline in the world. 

Doug

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