We haven’t seen much communication directly from American Airlines CEO Doug Parker in the past couple of weeks, and that’s apparently because he has been in Washington fighting for government aid for airlines.
American Airlines has just released a video message from Parker, giving an update on the current situation at the airline, and what the $50 billion in government aid for the airline industry would look like under the CARES Act.
The video message is over five minutes, so to touch on some of the highlights (I’ll paraphrase parts, and quote others):
- American is flying less than half of previously scheduled domestic flights, and those flights are less than 15% full.
- American has reduced their flight schedule by 60% in April, and plans to reduce it by 80% in May, in light of record low demand.
- “Are we going to be okay? I am happy to report the answer to that question is yes.”
- Of the $50 billion in financial assistance for airlines, American is eligible to receive $12 billion of that.
- “I am confident that those funds, along with our relatively high available cash position will allow us to ride through even the worst of potential future scenarios.”
- This bill comes in two parts — half of the aid comes in the form of loans for airlines, while the other half is dependent upon airlines maintaining some service to all commercial airports currently served, and also not involuntarily furloughing any employees, all through September 30, 2020.
- The lack of furloughs will keep everyone employed with full benefits, but there will be fewer hours available, so many groups will be at minimum paid hours for the next several months.
Parker finishes the video with the following positive message:
“So yeah, we’re going to be okay. We’re going to be okay because what you do is important to the world, and you do it exceptionally well. We’re not just going to be okay, we’re going to be great. We’re going to lead through this, confidently and safely, and when the flying public returns, we’ll be here waiting for them. Getting our country moving again and taking care of people on life’s journey. I am so proud to on your team. It is an honor to stand besides you and a privilege to fight on your behalf. Let’s go lead the way.”
That closing statement is beautifully put, in my opinion. I just wish the direction of American’s management over the past couple of years actually reflected that sentiment — what exactly is happening exceptionally well at American, and in what areas (other than aircraft density) is American leading?
I also found it interesting that Parker used the phrase “taking care of people on life’s journey,” because a few months back it was rumored that American would rebrand and introduce a new slogan. “To care for people on life’s journey” was one of the ones under consideration.
Maybe this is a soft launch for that new slogan? As I said before, I think the slogan is more appropriate for a nursing home than an airline, though.
Here’s the video message from Parker:
What do you make of Parker’s video message?