American Airlines Facelift | New Threads & Regional Jets

American Debuts New Livery

American debuts new livery – Courtesy PRNewsFoto/American Airlines.

US Airways Merger Rumored Near | New Look for American Airlines

January 27, 2013 – (Louisville, KY): The board of AMR Corporation, the parent of American Airlines and American Eagle, is scheduled to meet tomorrow and rumors of a pending merger between US Airways and American are in high gear. This comes just days after American Airlines released a new livery (pictured above) as part of a re-branding effort to provide the airline with a new look.

The new look goes well beyond the livery, to be debuted with its Flagship Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, scheduled to first fly on January 31st. Their website sports the new look as will new uniforms designed by Ken Kaufman and Isaac Franco of KAUFMANFRANCO. However, you won’t see the new uniforms anytime soon – the design process will take nearly 18 months and the sporty new threads will be delivered to employees over the next 18 to 24 months.

The airline is in the process of emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Whether American emerges as a stand-alone carrier or combines with US Airways, it will exit chapter 11 carrying the American Airlines name.

From Polished Aluminum Skins to Painted Composite Materials

The new livery at American Airlines takes their fleet renewal plans into account. The airline has 550 new planes on order and many of these aircraft use lighter, composite materials instead of aluminum. Unlike the older exterior metal surface, the composite materials must be painted.

Currently, the airline polishes the aluminum on existing aircraft to give their aircraft that shiny trademark look American Airlines is known for. The airline felt the paint selection was important to honor their “Silver Bird” legacy and selected a silver mica paint to keep the silver heritage.

American’s Chief Commercial Officer, Virasb Vahidi, said, “Our new logo and livery are designed to reflect the passion for progress and the soaring spirit, which is uniquely American.” Vahidi continued, “Our core colors — red, white and blue – have been updated to reflect a more vibrant and welcoming spirit. The new tail, with stripes flying proudly, is a bold reflection of American’s origin and name. And our new flight symbol, an updated eagle, incorporates the many icons that people have come to associate with American, including the ‘A’ and the star.”

American Eagle E-175 Rendering with new Livery

American Eagle Embraer E-175 Rendering | Courtesy American Airlines

American Eagle to Fly New 76 Seat Embraer Regional Jets

Prior to American Airlines filing for bankruptcy reorganization, American Eagle was limited to flying jets with 50 seats or less with the exception of a special sub-fleet of CRJ-700 jet aircraft which seat 65 passengers in a two cabin layout.

This prevented American from being competitive as the smaller 50 seat aircraft were not fuel efficient or appropriate for numerous markets. At the same time, the smallest mainline aircraft, the Boeing MD-80 (or the “Super-80”) seats 140 passengers. The MD-80 fleet has some of the oldest planes in American’s fleet, made-up of the MD-82 and MD-83, the latter sporting an additional fuel tank to provide additional range.

A larger, fuel-efficient aircraft was needed to bridge the gap between 65 and 140 seats. As part of the bankruptcy process, a new agreement was entered into with the pilots union which will allow larger regional jet aircraft to be operated under the American Eagle flag.

To bridge the gap, American Airlines signed a 12 year agreement with Republic Airways (NYSE: RJET) to acquire 53 Embraer E-175 twin-jets providing 12 First Class seats and 64 economy seats in the main cabin. The new Embraer E-175 will be branded with the American Eagle livery and operated by Republic Airlines.

The airline will begin to start flying two to three E-175 regional jets per month starting in the middle of 2013 and all 53 jets are expected to be flying by the 1st quarter of 2015 pursuant to terms of the 12 year contract.

Interior of E-175 twin jet.

Embraer E-175 Interior on United Express Flight operated by Shuttle America

From a passenger experience standpoint, the Embraer-175 is a spacious aircraft with a roomy 2×2 seating layout as photographed above on an Embraer E-175 jet operated by Shuttle America for United Express. A first class cabin with a spacious 1 x 2 layout is located in the forward cabin.

Unlike smaller regional jets, passengers will find space for their roll-a-board luggage in the overhead bin as well as sufficient underseat storage. The 76 seat cabin not only closes the gap mentioned above, but the size and range of the aircraft makes it suitable for longer regional flights. You’re no longer twisted like a pretzel into a seat for two hours with the E-175.

American Airlines is already partnered with Republic Airways via their subsidiary Chautauqua Airlines. Chautauqua operates 15 of the smaller Embraer-140 regional jets under the American Connection name from the American Airlines hub at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

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