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High Flyer Interview: American Airlines President, Robert Isom

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High Flyer Interview: American Airlines President, Robert Isom

High Flyer Interview: American Airlines President, Robert Isom
March 21
10:30 2018

Chris Sloan, Senior Partner and Managing Editor of Airways Magazine, conducted this interview with Robert Isom, American’s current President, on Friday, March 9th at the airlines’ headquarters in Ft. Worth, Texas. This interview has been edited for brevity and grammar.


MIAMI — Robert Isom is President of American Airlines Group and American Airlines, its principal subsidiary company. In this role, he oversees American’s operations, planning, marketing, sales, alliances, and pricing.

READ MORE: High Flyer Interview: Hawaiian Airlines, Mark Dunkerley, and Peter Ingram

Isom previously served as American’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer after holding those same positions at US Airways. Prior to joining US Airways, Isom served as the Chief Restructuring Officer for GMAC, LLC and as Senior Vice President – Ground Operations and Airport Customer Service, Vice President – International and Vice President – Finance for Northwest Airlines.

READ MORE: High Flyer Interview: Hawaiian Airlines Senior Vice President, Marketing, Avi Mannis

Between 1995 and 2000, he was with America West Airlines and held executive roles in Revenue Management, Operations, and Finance. Isom started his career at The Procter & Gamble Company.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan.

Courtesy of American Airlines.

AIRWAYS: We’re now a little over five years since the merger was announced and almost 2.5 years since the reservations cutover in October 2015. The integration has been generally a success. As you reflect on it, what were the biggest wins, and where do you go next?


ISOM: Chris, I think the first thing is that we’re not done yet. You know there are other pieces of the puzzle, and we have a few biggies coming up this year. So you heard about the project which is really getting everybody on the common human resources platform.

We will also have our flight attendants onto a single operating system later this year. This is a big deal for our flight attendants in finally getting to the point where we have everybody on the same contract, the same system, and the same tools with the ability to transfer anywhere within the company bases.

In terms of surprises, integration is hard work, especially for airlines that didn’t have a common heritage. We weren’t on the same systems. It is doubly hard and then being the largest airline merger in the world makes it makes it triply hard. We always viewed that these things were going to be really difficult.

You always like to be able to move faster and so having a few items that are still out there and on top of that still having to bring together some aspects of our main systems as well is something that is going to occupy a heck of a lot of time over the next few years.

But I do have to say that in terms of the planning work that went in, whether you’re talking about single operating certificate, reservation system migration, operations center and some of the pilot integrations; the significant items all went fairly well due to a lot of planning.

A tremendous amount of training and effort went into getting people on the same systems upfront, so it’s hard work.  It’s not over yet. We’ve got a lot of people that are like-minded. You can’t rest on what was done yesterday.

We have to be exceptional at what’s coming up later this year. And so that’s where our focus is right now and in terms of assessing the good, the bad, and the indifferent. I want to get some of these under my belt before we toast ultimate success.


Obviously, not all has been seamless. What are the pain points and how do you all expect to solve those?  


I think the kind of things that we set out to do really got the airline back in the competitive set. We’re making good progress and progress is what I would underscore. So we think about the departure performance, arrival performance, and completion factors.

As we finish off merger elements, as we simplify what we do, and really understand how we ought to be operating our network, that’s all just upside for us.

What I know is that I’ve still got juice left for improvements. I know that we’re going to be cranking up the goals and the completion factors for this next year. I know we have the systems, the tools and the tracking mechanisms we have in place for baggage systems.

Those will all be improved every time we simplify in terms of the total number of sub-fleets that we operate. I know that all those things get better and easier every time we’re able to put together a fleet plan that makes sense for a certain hub. I know that all those things get easier the more our pilots can cross bases.

There are obstacles along the way, but every time one of those is removed, it means performance improvement. We’re getting the company to understand that there’s a long way to go but for us, that’s not a bad thing because improving on our performance over last year, last month, last quarter is really a good thing.

The thing that we have to get better at and make a tremendous priority is really making sure that you know when the hurricanes roll through and those cyclone bombs, that we’re getting in front of them and the more quickly that we’re able to rebuild. That’s going to really be a difference maker, so we’ve spent a lot of time on that.


American has staked a claim to be “Going For Great,” with the goal of making the world’s largest airline, the world’s best airline for customers, employees, and shareholders. 

This is a multi-tiered question but with respect to those three buckets, what’s the progress on where you’ve delivered on that promise and where there’s room for improvement?


We must have a world-class product attracting premium customers. The 15 percent of the business that produces 45 percent of the revenues is incredibly important. So we’re always elevating our game, and it’s why we’re investing the billions that we are we are on new aircraft and the product on the ground.

We know getting to a business that is financially sustainable is incredibly important to pay for all of that to create the world-class product and to be able to take care of your people at the end of the day.

We’ve got to have a mindset that we produce a profit and take care of our shareholders. The kind of things that we’ve been doing along those lines are working. The investment in the product is actually producing the revenues that we’d hoped it would.

We have to be looking at this business for the long run. It’s not about winning today. It’s about having a long-term mindset. This game goes on and on and on, and we are never done. So it does mean having an eye towards what’s the next technology, what’s the next aircraft advancement, and how can we optimize better.

You can be financially sound and prudent with great assets, but if you don’t have a team of people behind you, then this isn’t going to work. The investment in our team is a primary focus and is incredibly important right now.

So we’re investing in the team for the first time in a long time. Compensation is one side of the equation, but it’s also the tools, the training, and the resources to get the job done. It’s about taking care of folks; creating an environment where people feel like they can spend their whole career here.


This isn’t your Crandall’s American. “Culture matters” seems to be a refrain. There have been numerous investments in the employees: wellness programs, leadership training such as Elevate, new facilities such as the new One Campus One Team Headquarters project and refurbished employee break-rooms at the stations. Then there are proactive mid-contract compensation increases for pilots, flight attendants, TWU-IAM represented labor, perks like two positive space tickets and $1,000 bonuses for every employee, plus next-generation tools like smartphones for cabin crew. It’s pretty an exhaustive list. 

How do you define success benchmarks and the ROI?


This company has 90 years of history with people like Al Blackman who has 75 years of service. And we have countless folks that have been around for 40 and 50 years. The experiences those people have had in the airline business have been traumatic.

They’ve been part of an industry marked by layoffs, bankruptcies, pay cuts; you name it. We’re not going to change attitudes and opinions over the course of a couple of months or a couple of years. It’s going to take a sustained effort to build back trust, and so the little things that we’re doing right now I do think are making a difference.  

It’s five years since the merger began but we have a lot more to do. We have a commitment to our folks that they are compensated appropriately compared with their peers in the industry.

We have an obligation to our customers to continue to invest in the product and that we’re doing it in a fashion that produces returns.


Is there any way for you to measure that? We’ve heard that you have correlated customer satisfaction to revenue.


Everything’s not a hundred percent correlation, but I’ll tell you I do think it’s working. And the reason I know it is because I see things like strong customer satisfaction scores and likelihood to recommend. J.D. Power scores are improving.

That’s one sign but also outperforming the industry in terms of your of our revenue. We’ve had revenue gains for six consecutive quarters, and we hope to pop out a seventh consecutive quarter coming up and doing that in a fashion that is sustainable. But as you mentioned, we’re still not where we need to be in terms of day to day execution.

We also have enhancements that are still coming on the revenue management side and on the product side. And so I feel really bullish that the kind of things we’re doing are working.


In an inevitable down economic cycle and period of rising fuel costs, can you continue to invest in those types of programs, and continue to deliver profitable results?


Fuel costs have gone up quite a bit year over year. But I know our projections and how we are viewing the world, and we think that we’re going to have a solid 2018.

The answer to that is yes there’s going to be variability in terms of profit levels, no doubt but as Doug (CEO Doug Parker) has said we’ve got a business that is able to deliver performance in solid times and lesser times.

My view is profitability will move up and down, but it’s within a range. If American takes the appropriate actions to weather storms, we’re going to do fine.


Yeah, I believe you said at one point something to the effect of even in an extremely difficult economic environment like from 2007-12, this company could still make money and do right by its employees.


Yes.


U.S. carriers continue to increase ASM capacity beyond projected GDP growth, and American is no exception at roughly 2.5% projected this year. United’s stock price has been savaged by this. You’ve said American’s strategy is building disciplined capacity growth around cornerstone hubs, avoiding price wars, and in some cases up-gauging. I’m not sure Wall Street and investors are buying this. 

Can you describe American’s plans for capacity growth and how you plan to convince Wall Street that this a rational thing to do?


First off it starts with knowing who we are and that is a global hub and spoke carrier. Those hubs gateways are our bread and butter.

We manufacture connections for a living, that’s what we do. And we are fortunate to have great hubs, great catchment basins, great local markets, and we’re positioned in areas of the country that are going to be experiencing growth long into the future.

So we start with that and then by adding in partners, creating the world’s largest network and ultimately serving 50,000 different O&Ds on a daily basis. So when we talk about growth, you can see that our growth is centered around making those assets even stronger. It’s not one-off opportunities. It’s not chasing you know the latest hot spot.

If it doesn’t connect into our hubs and gateways, then we don’t do it. And so having that kind of understanding of who we are and then being able to meter growth based on what is acceptable for those hubs and gateways I think is really smart.

When we take a look at the growth that we have over the next few years, we see it’s going to be kind of at a GDP level. You know we have the ability to fund that by our fleet utilization, up-gauging, and reconfigurations. The 2.5 percent growth is going to be done in a really efficient fashion.


Revenue is increasing for now with a 5% increase YOY in 2017.  But costs increases are outpacing revenue growth. With headwinds of increasing labor at 9%, fuel at 22%, CAPEX investments (even with the fleet induction diminishing in 2018), and existential factors such as inflation and increased borrowing costs in the debt markets. Operating margins have been under sliding since peaking at in 2015 at 15.3%. 

How does American intend to handle this delicate balancing act of investing in the business in a time of increasing costs, and producing margin growth?


From an American perspective, the story is a solid one. We’ve made a lot of investment to make up for a lot of underinvestment for decades due to financial distress at both legacy US Airways and legacy American.  

What you’ll see though is a tapering of expense growth over the next few years and in falling new fleet inductions. It’s been past 500 aircraft in the first four years of the merger, and I think this year, it’s just 37 aircraft.  

We’ve had to catch up in terms of compensation that we’ve made good on, but that is also slowing. We’ll hopefully get to a pace that’s more consistent with general inflation. And so when we take a look at the world, we do see a heck of a lot of opportunity to still drive revenue performance and at the same time unit revenue costs taper off.

I think that’s 2 percent for CASM growth and we think that we can widen margins based on producing unit revenue growth you know that exceeds that.


American has publicly stated its goal of narrowing the pre-tax operating profit margin gap with U.S. legacy benchmark-setter Delta. For full-year 2017, Delta was at 14.2% while American was at 11.4%. 

Why is this important and where are you in the process?


Well, Delta runs a fantastic airline. They’ve done a lot of things right to get where they are. But I’d say for us as we look forward, it’s more about improving upon where we’ve been and making sure that we utilize our assets to the best of their capability.

That’s our focus, and the returns that we get on that are going to prove very compelling in the long run. I’m bullish on American and certainly bullish on what we can do with our assets.


Your positive energy is literally bounding across the table. 

Is there something else that accounts for such bullishness? Are you perhaps over bullish?


It’s not as if we have everything sorted out. But you want to reflect a lot of that positive energy around a company of 120,000 people. Leading with optimism and realism is incredibly important.

You know when you take a look at the Snowzilla or whatever hits, it’s important to understand what folks have gone through on the frontline. Earlier this week, there was storm after storm where our people were giving it their all to take care of our customers.

The stories of people who went above and beyond in those situations humbles you very quickly because we have people that are really making sacrifices to make sure our customers are getting to where they need to go.


American has responded to the threat of ULCCs with product segmentation such as basic economy. With a higher cost base, how do you continue to challenge those competitors? And from a consumer perspective, can you describe American’s value proposition over the ULCCs?


So Chris, great question. Now, I like what we do. We’re going to have a higher cost structure. We’re again a network carrier which runs hubs that have banks, and they require you know assets that by and large are much greater in numbers than someone that’s flying a point to point network.

I take a look at what we can do, and that’s the power of the network. At our recent Annual Leadership Conference, we showed one of the examples in DFW where you take an afternoon departure DFW to Los Angeles on an A321, and you take a look at the connections on either end.

We have 300 potential different O&Ds on average on that Los Angeles flight. When you take a look at the people from far and wide that are getting on that flight through connections it creates the opportunity for us to really maximize revenues.

We find that by mixing that rich local base with that connecting base, we have on that flight 50 percent of those customers are now connecting. We are paying for a good portion of operating costs on that flight before our first local passenger gets on it so allows us to be incredibly competitive in that local market.

So our business model helps us compete very well. And then when you add segmentation on our airline where we need all customers, we compete well versus those ultra low-cost carriers.

We’ve got to have a product that matches up very well also gives even more. And so that’s why you’ve seen us do what we’ve done in segmentation and growing everything from basic economy to main cabin to main cabin extra to premium economy up to business and then first class. And that is how we’re going to compete the long run.


What’s the upsell percentage of customers from Basic Economy to regular economy and revenue impact?


It’s generally been over 50 percent. Don Casey  (Sr. VP, Revenue Management) might have numbers that are slightly above.

We have talked about a $20 premium in terms of upsell. That balance is about where we had expected and where we’d wanted it to be.


Do you generate a profit on Basic Economy seats?


Isom: Basic Economy is a core part of our go-to-market plan segmentation. Of course, we’re going to be profitable at the BE levels.


Yesterday on my flight I told a front-line crew member, a flight attendant, that I was meeting you. I asked her if she had a question for you. Here’s what she said “I appreciate the goals the company is establishing in upgrading the passenger experience and taking care of me. But on the front-line, I feel like we aren’t given the tools or the support. It’s little things like missing amenity kits, fewer flight crew on long-haul flights, not properly training us for new cabins such as Premium Economy, removing embedded in-flight entertainment systems, and tighter seats. I find myself having to apologize a lot for my airline that I am making a career out of. I would trade some of our employee perks for more support in my job.

How can American do a better job of supporting the front line employee like me and improving what we offer?


That’s a great question. And one of the things that I do try to do is go into the cockpit and talk to pilots and flight attendants to make sure that they know I’m on and get a chance to hear what’s on their minds.

In terms of the balance, I go back to the basics which in life is really hard when you know you’ve got a line of potentially disappointed customers in front of you. And it starts with being on time and delivering bags on time – the most basic of needs.  

Once you get confidence in that, life starts to get easier because you know as a flight attendant or as a gate agent you know what’s going to be expected in terms of going to work and getting to come home from work. That’s the most basic.

The next step up is being prepared and having the tools for the job. For companies like this one that have been you know woefully underinvested for years and years and years,  you’re finally getting tools like tablets, bag-tracking and quick improvements that help our front line team recognize and respond in an appropriate fashion – those are all critical.

As far as the product we serve, having a fleet of aircraft that was largely Super 80s and dated at that. This was a really big deal. Bringing in over 500 new aircraft, investing over $19 billion in the fleet, getting those up to snuff and redoing the interiors, on top of everything else we’re doing, those flight attendants are absolutely right. We’ve got to get that upgraded. But the good news is that through a lot of that input, we’re getting there.

So yes, we have to have an entertainment option that is acceptable; and so getting streaming satellite Wi-Fi, that’s living room quality, getting power to every seat, live TV, upgrading our clubs, and having even a higher level of service than we’ve ever had in terms of the Flagship Lounges, you know is really important.

Investing in training for the first time in decades is really important, but communication and being attentive and being able to interact with our flight attendants when they need us is still something that we haven’t found all the answers to.

The worst thing in the world that can happen when you have the disruptions in the weather is to say to a flight attendant, “Hey, I can’t take your call to tell you where you’re reassigned or where your hotel is for two hours.”

They want to know right now, and so we have to move the entire company to not just give the flight attendants the tools, but making sure our tech and operational control group have that as well. So we’re doing a lot to move that forward.

I do think that our flight attendants will see it but at the end of the day taking care of their personal needs and communicating to them so that they know why decisions are made when we make them and that they have a chance to give input to it, is really important.


The new 737 MAX has been a pretty controversial aircraft for American for crews and passengers alike, due its tighter cabin densification, removal of seat back IFEs, smaller lavatories, and smaller galleys. Even First Class passengers have complained about the new configuration.

Are there any plans to address some of the complaints?


Sure. The 737 MAX is going to be the workhorse of this airline for decades into the future.  It has to be something that serves customers’ needs. It has to be something that our team can execute on and ultimately deliver financial results.

And when you think about a domestic aircraft that is going to be in the fleet for the next 20, 30 years, it must be configured so that the real estate on board is best utilized. Whether it’s taking care of the Main Cabin, Main Cabin Extra or our First Class Customers, we think that it’s a nice platform that can serve the needs of all those groups.

It doesn’t mean we don’t have to take input and so when flight attendants rightfully said, “Hey, you know you have issues with water splashing and faucet pressure.” It’s got to be adjusted. We are aware of the issues with the lav doors not seeming to synch up just right. You know we’re going to make changes.

As for in-flight entertainment, we’re not all there yet, but I’ll tell you what. They have power at every seat, and those are the first aircraft that have satellite Wi-Fi. And they will be the first to turn on live TV later on this year. It’s an aircraft where virtually every passenger can bring a bag on and not be restricted from overhead space with those important supersized bins.

We’ve got to make sure we communicate what that aircraft means to the airline and how best to service our customers with it. We’ve got to take input. If that aircraft over time deserves a richer mix of Main Cabin Extra, we’ve set it up to be able to accommodate that.

We think that we set up the configuration optimally, but it doesn’t mean that we won’t need to take a look at changing and optimizing it.


With a goal of fleet simplification, American currently has 52 aircraft sub-fleet configurations which are being rationalized to 30. 

Doesn’t this all but eliminate the ordered, yet deferred A350s from the future fleet plan?


Well, this is really interesting. The A350 came out of aircraft deals that US Airways had almost ten years ago, and it’s structured so that it’s based on an order of 22 aircraft. In my view, inducting new aircraft for the world’s largest airline means you need to have quite a few of them or none of that type.

With the A350 it’s on that verge of, is it worth bringing on all that complexity for a fleet size of 22 aircraft? The good news is we’ve got an incredible relationship with Airbus. We helped design the cockpit of that aircraft by the way. Our Captain John Dudley was sent to Toulouse for two years to help, so we’re invested in it.

We know it’s a great aircraft, but we have to take a look at that fleet complexity. We are the operator of the world’s largest Airbus fleet, so we’re going to be partners with Airbus long into the future. They’re as committed to us about this idea of simplification as we are to them. The long view though, is we need to determine whether to have more of them or none at all.

We have time and the one pressing issue right now, Chris, is really on the 767s. I’ve talked to the team that while we have a lie-flat product right now, the 767 is not going to be as competitive aircraft as we need it to be in five to 10 years, certainly in terms of the premium product.

I gave the team a challenge to go find a way to either invest in that in a big way so that you do have a cabin that you can really be proud of and is acceptable for the marketplace or we’re going to do something different.

It could be the A350, but it could be a 787. It could be the A330neo. We’re engaged in that discussion right now about how best to take care of that 767 issue in certainly the next couple of years.


Delta has declared interest in being the launch customer for Boeing’s NMA “New Mid Market Aircraft,” the so-called 797. 

Does such an aircraft have a place at American as a 757 replacement or does the A321LR or the possible longer range variants potentially fit the bill?


You know we’ve had discussions with Boeing and Airbus. Our fleet plan for the next five years is relatively set.

We know what’s coming in and while there’s tweaks here and there, we do have to be conscious of at some point the 757 is not going to be an aircraft that is what we need it to be.

It serves unique missions for us in terms of being able to do close range European smaller cities, all the Hawaiian Islands and some central and upper South America.

The A321neo doesn’t give us quite everything we might need as a 757 replacement. And so it’s something that we’re going to have to watch pretty closely.


Is there a place at American for a 100-125 passenger CSeries or Embraer E2 on mainline in the way Delta uses the 717 for instance?


Well we have the E190s, and that’s a nice aircraft for us, but they’re coming close to the end of lease, and it’s a small fleet. It’s the same issue you talked about with the A350, and so that’s another decision. Right now we’ve said that the E190s go by the wayside because we don’t have a game plan to increase the orders there.

We take a look at where we go from the E175 up to the A319. How do we fill that gap in between? Right now, we’ve got a great A319 product with ownership costs are such that it plays really well with our fleet.

And what time do you want to disrupt and say hey you know I’m going to insert a new aircraft model in? So, that’s probably going to be something that we wait a few years on because we think we can lean on the 319s a little bit in terms of serving our needs for the foreseeable future.

And then we’ll make a decision at some point in time about whether or not we really need to build a sizable fleet within that 100-110 seat range.  


Joint ventures and strategic investments seem to have taken on more prominence as of late over alliances. You’ve re-applied for JVs with Qantas and also applied for one with LATAM in South America. Airlines are even venturing outside their alliances for these strategic investments as you did with China Southern.

What role do alliances versus JVs versus strategic investments play at American?


We look at that continuum of everything from interline all the way up to joint ventures, and our airline is going to have a mix of all those. But I will tell you that extending our network in a fashion like I described where we maximize what we can do with our hubs and gateways like Heathrow and connect with other long-range partners like British Airways.

Then potentially over the long run, like China Southern in Beijing, JAL at Narita and Haneda, and Cathay at Hong Kong. Those are great relationships because they build off of that strategy that if we can connect and it’s a multiplier effect on what comes back in our network and what goes out to our partners.

The JVs are the highest level of being able to create that cooperation. Now, we are doing all we can to move forward with Qantas. We’re doing the same thing with LATAM, and we’re hopeful with all of the IAG carriers. There’s an expansion opportunity that’s available there.

Ultimately with what we’re doing with JAL and China Southern is really important to us. The next step to that, Chris, is we’ve had some of these relationships in place for a while. And we’ve viewed them from the highest level from a sales and revenue perspective. But there’s more we can be doing in terms of aligning service.

There’s more we can do be doing in terms of creating a common experience at the airport level. And there’s Joe Mohan (VP of Alliances) and his team who are spending a lot of time figuring out how do we really maximize the value that we create for all stakeholders for the relationships that we have.


What was your equity investment in China Southern?


It is an equity investment $200 million going in.


What drove the decision to go outside the oneworld alliance and make the investment in China Southern, where there’s not even a JV in place, just code sharing?


I think they both play a really valuable role for us and oneworld is a fantastic global alliance network. But with China, the real thought there is we have to look at these as investments.

They’re not producing returns quite yet, and by strengthening the other end of that flight with connecting opportunities, it’s really important. The relationship with China Southern is all about making sure that American does all we can with the investments that we’ve made out of Los Angeles, DFW and Chicago into Beijing and Shanghai.

We’re really pleased with what we’ve seen so far.


Would you agree Asia is the most gaping hole in your network, but the region where there’s the most enormous opportunity?


American has to have a presence in Asia, and it’s important from a network perspective partner perspective. When you think about corporate contracts and being able to get people to where they want to go into big business centers, that’s really important.

It is really cool that we’ve got partners in some of the best business markets on earth: London, Hong Kong, and China.


Let’s touch on something near and dear to my heart – the Tulsa M&E base. You’re the largest employer in the state of Oklahoma. As the fleet continues to be comprised of new aircraft, what’s the future of a base known for heavy checks and overhauls particularly of older, maintenance intensive aircraft? I believe you just bought CFM-56 engine overhaul work from Brazil to Tulsa.


Tulsa is incredibly important to American. Certainly, from a customer perspective, we’ve been up there forever. It’s really important from an employee perspective.

We’ve got the world’s largest commercial aviation overhaul base with 6,000 mechanics and related folks that work there. We have great relationships with the former and current mayor. We know Governor Mary Fallin pretty well also.

And Mingo Road (where the base is located) is being repaired. Certainly, we’ve had some influence on that.

In terms of maintenance related activities, it’s going to be the center of excellence for the world’s largest airline. They do an incredible job of those work activities where they can string together nose to tail lines.

So whether it’s the work we’re going to do on the CFM-56s or the 737 maintenance we do, we’re looking for opportunities to do even more. That bodes very well for that team there in the long run and our presence in Oklahoma.


What keeps you up at night?


What keeps me up? If you can’t tell, Chris, I’m a pretty high energy person. I have a lot of nervous energy. So I’ll tell you when I do sleep at night, I really enjoy it.


Drinking too much coffee is what keeps you up at night?


No, not coffee. You know the airline business is one where look, it’s a people business. You know we’re moving a half million customers a day. We have 120,000 employees, when you think about the other relationships, the partners you know there’s just orders of magnitude of more people involved.

So anything that’s going on in somebody’s life over the course of their entire life is happening somewhere in our airline every day. And you know that’s a pretty big responsibility, and I just know that I take that on, but really the entire team does too. And so the emphasis on team is incredibly important.

I know at night when my head hits the pillow that I’ve got folks close to me all around the world that are like-minded in wanting to take care of their customers but also to each other. That makes me rest easy.

Our team is fantastic, and you know taking care of our team ensures that we’re going to be able to deliver on our mission to our customers and our communities.


Any parting words?


Look, it’s a great time to be part of American. It’s a great time to be joining up as a new employee too.

For the folks that are coming on board now, I really do think that American is a place they can look forward to having a career that’s 30, 40, 50 years and that pretty cool.

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Chris Sloan

Chris Sloan

Aviation Journalist, TV Producer, Pursuer of First & Last Flights, Proud Miamian, Intrepid Traveler, and Did I Mention Av-Geek? I've Been Sniffing Jet Fuel Since I was 5, and running the predecessor to airwaysmag.com, Airchive, Since 2003. Now, I Sit in the Right Seat as Co-Pilot of Airways Magazine and airwaysmag.com. My favorite Airlines are National and Braniff, and My favorite Airport is Miami, L-1011 Tristar Lover. My Mantra is Lifted From Delta's Ad Campaign from the 1980s "I Love To Fly And It Shows." chris@airwaysmag.com / @airchive

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