After a company-wide vote with 60,418 votes cast, American announced on Thursday that its aircraft livery will feature the new flag tail design that was unveiled last January.
“It was very close but the majority has spoken and the new flag tail will proudly represent American Airlines – and all of us – for years to come,” said American chief executive Doug Parker.
The carrier said 31,355 votes were cast in favor of the flag tail while 29,063 were cast in favor of the double-A eagle logo that American had sported for several decades. The difference was 2,292 votes.
The fuselage design, which features a font called “American sans,” will also remain the same since the new aircraft American is receiving from Airbus and Boeing are made of composite materials, which must be painted, not aluminum that created the polished silver look for the past few decades.
So far, about 200 aircraft in American’s fleet, have been painted with the new livery scheme that was unveiled about a year ago. The company now plans to paint 300 US Airways mainline airplanes, 280 US Airways Express jets and 539 American Airlines with the livery scheme.
“However you may feel about the new livery and branding, the fact is it would be irresponsible for us to start over from scratch,” Parker said when he announced the employee vote on Dec. 16. But he said he had heard from many employees who missed the old AA logo with the eagle and that is why it was included as a choice.
In an interview with the Star-Telegram last month, 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.
“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.”
Keep reading for the full letter from Parker.
Dear Fellow Employees,
The votes are in. After three weeks, much conversation and more than 60,000 employees voting, we now have an answer to the question about what will be painted on the tails of our aircraft. It was very close but the majority has spoken and the new flag tail will proudly represent American Airlines – and all of us – for years to come.
As I said early in this process, I was indifferent as to which option we chose, I just wanted you to be able to choose. Now that the votes are in, I’m really pleased to have a firm decision we can all embrace. This is the airplane we will fly as we restore American to the greatest airline in the world -- and that is exciting.
It is particularly exciting to see how engaged our team was in this decision. Consistent with our imperative to Engage Our Employees, we took the unprecedented step of asking our team members to choose our livery, and a phenomenal 60% of you participated. We of course can't vote on every decision at the airline, but we do want input from all of you on issues that are important to your work lives. This turnout proves what we already knew: we have team members who care a lot about American Airlines and its future. That is a great asset and we look forward to hearing and learning more from you all as we move forward.
For those of you who really wanted to bring back the AA, know that it will still be with us. First, it will take us many months to paint the 580 US Airways aircraft and those aircraft will be the priority which means the remaining classic Silverbirds will still be flying for some time. Also, as previously announced, we intend to have heritage aircraft in our fleet going forward, so the AA livery will remain in our system even after all of the fleet has been painted.
What's really great is that this livery now represents the people of American Airlines. We voted for it and it is ours. I will now forever look at this livery with a great sense of pride and know that you will too.
Thanks for taking the time to give us your input. This was a small but important step in bringing us together and beginning to move forward. Now let's get working together on the difficult task ahead -- restoring American to the greatest airline in the world.