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December 28, 2013

No. 4 American makes over its brand and livery

BIZ_AMR-LOGO_3_FT_24959835After more than forty-five years of a double-A and an eagle in its logo, American Airlines unveiled a brand new look in January.

The new logo features a profile of an eagle with a tail design that is an interpretation of the American flag. The airline spent over two years working on the new brand, trying to get the perfect silver metallic flecked paint to mimic the traditional silver aluminum look of the old design.

"This look sort of speaks for itself, " said then chief executive Tom Horton. "This is, I think, a very powerful image for the new American."

Painting the planes was a necessary change as the airline was receiving new Boeing 777-300ERs that are made of a composite material and not aluminum.

But the timing of the brand announcement raised a few eyebrows as American was, at the time, in talks with US Airways about a possible merger. The new look was unveiled only a couple of weeks before the merger deal was struck.

So far, about 200 aircraft, have been painted with the new livery scheme.

But those pining for the classic AA logo may get it back.

When the new CEO Doug Parker took over after the merger closed in December, Parker decided to give employees a choice.

New American 8The fuselage design will stay the same but the tail can be either the new American flag design or the old AA logo. 

Parker said he thought the new American livery was well done and has a "nice look to it, " but he bristled at the idea that he was spending a lot of time thinking about it, during an interview with the Star-Telegram in December.

"I do think that airline executives spend far too much time worrying about the livery of the airplane. The customers don't care about it, " he said. "I don't want to fall into that trap and spend all my time worrying about liveries. I'm not. It's important to the brand so it needs to be consistent with the brand. It's important to our employees so I care about what our employees think but you know that is not near the top of the list of things we're worrying about right now."

Employees have until January 2 to vote.

-Andrea Ahles

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