American Airlines Group employees voted to keep the carrier’s stylised flag tail over returning to the classic AA eagle, in a move that was seen by many as an effort by new chief executive Doug Parker to curry favour among employees.
More than 60,000 employees voted on the tail with just 51.9% voting in favour of keeping the stylised flag that was rolled out in January 2013. This represents about 60% of the combined American and US Airways workforce.
“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,” says Parker who took over the top spot at the airline after its merger with US Airways closed on 9 December.
Various online polls outside the company had predicted a close race.
While reiterating his indifference to outcome, Parker says that the most important part of the vote is that employees of both American and US Airways came together and voted as one on the tail, in a newsletter to employees today.
“This livery now represents [all] the people of American Airlines,” he says. “We voted for it and it is ours.”
High painting and maintenance costs are understood to be a downside of the stylised flag tail.
There are 1,119 American and US Airways mainline and regional aircraft that still need to be repainted in the livery, according to the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier. This does not include new deliveries and aircraft that will be retired.
It takes 13 to 17 days to repaint a widebody aircraft in the selected livery, eight to 11 days for a mainline narrowbody and seven to nine days for a regional aircraft.
American announced the tail vote on 17 December.