Goodbye, Doug! American Airlines Changes CEO
American Airlines CEO, Doug Parker announced today that he will retire sometime in March of 2022. Parker famously led American through the merger with US Airways and a very controversial image change that included a revamp of the iconic AA logo. The heir to AA’s throne is the current President, Robert Isom who hopes to put American back on its feet after a crippling global pandemic.
Parker, who is 60 years old, will not, however, fade away into airline management history, since he will remain as chairman of American Airlines for the foreseeable future. After Scott Kirby was famously forced out and later joined United Airlines, where he serves as CEO, Isom became immediately the “heir apparent “ to AA’s throne. He has been serving as president of the carrier since 2016.
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This past summer was rough for American Airlines, which struggled with a high number of cancellations and disruptions in their system. Among the main reasons were a severe staff shortage coming back from one year of almost a total halt of operations due to the pandemic, and a combination of system failures and bad weather.
The federal government’s vaccine mandates for the industry also played a role with the disruptions and have since been mitigated. American received almost $1 billion dollars in federal pandemic relief, the airline took advantage of the funds to cover most of their payroll costs. Thanks to that, the airline was able to report a profit of $169 million for the third quarter of 2021, but the cash flow hurdles are far from over for American.
They report a debt of over $36 billion that was mostly borrowed during the worst months of the pandemic. Isom has a full plate from the get go and depends on a sustainable recovery of the travel industry worldwide to be able to stay afloat.