American working furiously towards fleet integration plan

Los Angeles
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American Airlines is working “fast and furious” to tackle the daunting challenge of bringing a common feel to its American and US Airways subsidiary fleets, says managing director of onboard products Alice Liu.

“My team and I are working fast and furious to figure out a way to integrate the fleet,” she says onboard the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier’s inaugural flight onboard an Airbus A321T from New York JFK to Los Angeles International airport on 7 January.

Balancing cost, time, resources and branding are central to these efforts, says Liu.

On a basic level, American must determine a way to refresh the cabins on US Airways aircraft so that meets the criteria Liu outlines as well as removes the latter logo and branding onboard.

Bigger questions include whether the carrier will add premium economy, power outlets and in-flight entertainment to the US Airways fleet. All of these are offered on aircraft operated by its American subsidiary.

In-flight entertainment is “very high on the overall list” of decisions that need to be made, says Liu.

“We’re hoping to get to a common place as soon as possible,” she says.

US Airways operated 343 mainline aircraft and had 278 in its regional fleet at the end of 2013, according last fleet plan in October. At least 24 aircraft, including its Boeing 737-400s and Boeing 767-200ERs, are scheduled for retirement during the next few years.

American and US Airways merged on 9 December and customer day one, with reciprocal frequent flier benefits, was 7 January.