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NO DISRESPECT TO Santa Claus, but here at American Airlines, we believe you ought to visit the people you care about more than once a year. OK, we’re a little biased, since bringing people together is our business. With the holiday season in full swing, that business is booming!

I’d like to take a moment to thank all my colleagues who are working on or around the holidays. Each year, thousands of American team members spend time away from their loved ones to ensure that you and your fellow travelers can spend the holidays with yours. I’d bet that you appreciate their commitment as much as I do.

The bustling holiday season is a fitting end to what has been an incredibly busy, eventful and successful year at American. You might say we rocketed out of the 2013 gates in January, when we unveiled the first major refresh of our logo and brand in 40 years. A month later, we announced our plan to merge with US Airways and create America’s flag carrier, the new American Airlines. Things only picked up from there, as we moved on multiple fronts to transform the American fleet, network and customer experience throughout the year.

The strides we’ve made are reflected in our vastly improved financial results. We posted record profits in our last two quarters, and while the year is not yet complete, we’re hopeful that early next year, we will be able to distribute the first profit-sharing payments to our people in more than a decade. That prospect is especially gratifying, since we all know that none of the positive developments I listed would be possible without the consummate skill, professionalism and passion of our team — a team that, despite more than the usual amount of distractions, kept their focus and kept running a great airline for you throughout 2013.

The American team’s devotion to service is not only helping transform our company, it is also driving positive change in communities around the globe. To cite but one example, with our flight attendants in the lead, we support the U.S. Fund for UNICEF through UNICEF’s Change for Good program. Since 1994, this innovative partnership has raised over $9.5 million in donations from our generous customers. These funds provide much-needed medicine, immunizations, clean water and other lifesaving assistance to vulnerable children in more than 150 countries and territories around the world. Change for Good gives international travelers the opportunity to donate unused currency to UNICEF, the global relief agency and past recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, via our flight attendants on selected international flights. A handful of coins or a few loose bills may seem like a small contribution, but the impact is anything but small. Just 50 cents can provide a notebook and pencil for a child to use in the classroom, and $1.21 is enough to immunize one child against polio.

With the help of American volunteers, known as “Champions for Children,” Change for Good is making a huge difference in the lives of children in need. It works — and by “works,” I mean it saves children’s lives — because customers like you give generously and because our flight attendants are passionate and committed to its success. I should note that if you’re not flying internationally, you can always drop off a contribution of any size or currency type at one of our Admirals Clubs or Flagship Lounges.

Change for Good is one of the many worthy child-focused endeavors we support through our Kids in Need program. We are truly blessed to be able to leverage the passion of our people, the generosity of our customers and the power and allure of travel to such wonderful effect. I hope you’ll visit aa.com/kids to learn more about what we’re doing and how you can get involved too.

On behalf of everyone at American, I want to thank you for flying with us this year. Your support means the world to us, and you can rest assured that we’ll be working hard to earn your continued support in 2014 and beyond. Have a great trip, and happy holidays to you and your families!

Signatureof Thomas Horton
Thomas W. Horton
Chairman & CEO
American Airlines