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I’d like to begin this column by expressing my deep condolences to those affected by the terrible events that struck Japan in March and April of this year. As a global airline, we consider it our duty to support our neighbors and the people and communities we have been a part of for so many years. At American, we are committed to doing what we can to help the victims of the tragedy and you, our loyal customers, are a vital part of our disaster-relief efforts. Today, we are actively helping our Japanese neighbors through the generosity of our valued AAdvantage members, our partnerships with the American Red Cross and the employee-driven American Giving Disaster Relief Fund. I’m pleased to share that our AAdvantage campaign and employee fundraisers have raised more than $1.64 million in donations.

It is difficult to see our friends overseas in these devastating circumstances, and our commitment to the people and employees in the Pacific region is incredibly important to us. We have conducted business and built lasting relationships in this region, and we have an especially meaningful relationship with Japan Airlines, a fellow member of our oneworld global alliance. Contributions from customers and employees are critically important as we work to provide help and hope to survivors of the Japan earthquake and the Pacific tsunami.

It is important to note that contributions to those affected by the disaster would not be possible without the support and donations from our loyal and profoundly generous AAdvantage members. To date, more than 16,000 of our AAdvantage members have contributed more than $1.64 million to the American Red Cross Japan and Pacific Tsunami Fund through American Red Cross, which is helping provide shelter, food and other assistance to earthquake and tsunami victims. We are thankful to you, as your donations allow us to extend aid on a large scale. If you’re looking for a way to make a difference, we welcome your help. Please visit AA.com/disasterrelief to help us continue to provide assistance.

I am also fortunate to report that our 108 Japan-based employees were quickly accounted for following the disaster, and I was not at all surprised that our employees acted quickly to establish a disaster-relief plan for those impacted by the events. I speak for the entire American Airlines family in expressing how pleased I was to see so many employees jump in to help aid in the relief efforts. In Japan, our employees were quick to gain control of the situation following the earthquake and to band together to find access to resources, food and shelter for those customers in need. Within hours of the breaking news, leaders of American’s Asian/Pacific Islander Employee Resource Group were assessing the situation and planning fundraising events. The goal was twofold: to raise funds for disaster relief and to provide a way for employees to assist those impacted by the disaster.

Japan Airlines was instrumental in helping American land our planes safely at airports not affected by the earthquake. Following the earthquake, our employees were back in front of the ticket counters, helping stranded passengers as they awaited news on loved ones, as well as options for safe traveling. Additionally, our pilots and flight attendants served as ambassadors of confidence and hope as American’s service to Japan resumed.

To date, our employees throughout the world, along with the Asian/Pacific Islander Employee Resource Group, have almost doubled their fundraising goals. In addition, Champions for Children, a group of employees that dedicate time to raise money for UNICEF programs like Change for Good, collected donations in Admirals Clubs and onboard select international flights. Our involvement with UNICEF spans back to 1994, and I’m proud of our relationship with an organization that saves more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world through health care, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. In March and April, our collections went directly to American’s UNICEF Change for Good emergency relief and recovery efforts in Japan.

Disasters impact our people — customers and employees alike. As global citizens, we have a responsibility to help those in need, no matter where the disaster strikes. Thanks to our employee and customer donations, we are able to continue to aid in the Japan relief efforts and will continue to do so until the situation is as stable as it was before the events of March 11. Again, please help us support this important mission and visit AA.com/disasterrelief to donate funds or miles in order to help the Red Cross’ efforts in Japan.

As always, if you have questions, comments or suggestions, write to us at www.aa.com/customerrelations and let us know how we’re doing.

Craig S. Kreeger
Senior Vice President – Customer Experience
American Airlines