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From the Wright Flyer to the Mars rover, America’s flying machines have represented discovery, exploration and, most of all, progress for more than a century. And for nearly that long, the continuously evolving American Airlines fleet has been driving progress in commercial aviation. This was most recently illustrated by the two ­Flagship Boeing 777-300 Extended Range aircraft we put into service in late January. As I described in my last column, the 777-300ERs are a leap forward when it comes to passenger comfort and operating capability — and they are but one component of the historic aircraft orders, placed in 2011, that will transform the American fleet into the youngest­ and most fuel-efficient fleet in the industry.

As we rapidly bring new airplanes into the fold, we are also refreshing and improving the interiors of our current planes in a variety of important ways. The new American Airlines fleet is going to look and feel much different — and much better. And while this is exciting, for us and for you, it also creates some interesting challenges. For instance, the world has come to know the planes of American Airlines as “silver birds,” owing to the ­decision we made decades ago to polish rather than paint the aluminum skins of our aircraft. However, many of the next-generation airplanes on the way are made of composite materials that cannot be polished. Given the need to paint, and our desire to ensure that the outside of our planes matches the modern and clean feel of their interiors, we decided the time was right to unveil a new logo and livery, which you see emblazoned on the American aircraft pictured below.

This is the first update to the American Airlines look in more than 40 years, and our objective was to create a modern, clean image that is both progressive and respectful of our proud name and history. Since the polished-metal look was no longer an option, the importance of the paint selection became critical to honoring the silver-bird legacy. Silver mica paint was chosen as a way to maintain the silver look that so many of our people and customers love. As you can see, our core colors of red, white and blue have been boldly updated, with stripes flying proudly on the new tail, while our new flight symbol, an updated eagle, creatively melds many of the icons that people have come to associate with American, including the “A” and the star.

As you would imagine, updating our look across the American network will not happen overnight. It is a big job that will take place over time and that will touch, in addition to airplane interiors and exteriors, hundreds of airports, employee uniforms and technology platforms like AA.com and the American mobile apps.

Modernizing the look and feel of the American Airlines brand is not something we take lightly. My colleagues and I know that we are caretakers of one of the few brands widely considered to be true American icons. That said, we believe we have a unique opportunity to not just refresh the look and feel of our planes and facilities but to communicate to the world, through our words and actions, who we are and what we stand for.

We intend to lead the industry in every important way, from customer satisfaction to financial performance, and that will require excellence and continuous improvement in everything we do. This means putting our customers front and center in every decision we make, because we understand that ultimately, our success is a byproduct of your success.

We take pride in the incredible role we play in connecting people, places and ideas around the world. And we embrace our responsibility, as American Airlines, to represent the very best of modern America. We are keenly aware that we are flying the flag of our country all over the world, and we are going to work hard to embody the values people think of when they think of America: freedom, progress, innovation and opportunity, to name a few.

My colleagues and I are excited about where American Airlines is headed. With each day, our momentum is increasing and our future is coming into clearer focus. We have great plans for the future, and I’ll be able to share more details in future columns. For now, let me thank you on behalf of our entire team for flying with us today. Have a great trip!

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Thomas W. Horton
Chairman & CEO
American Airlines