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As we move through 2014, I’m excited to see what the future holds, especially for American Airlines.

This year, the aviation industry celebrates a monumental milestone: 100 years of commercial flight. While the world of commercial aviation has evolved before our eyes, its purpose has remained constant: connecting people from one place to another.

Technological advancements throughout the last century have transformed what began as a 23-minute flight by airboat from St. Petersburg, Florida, to Tampa, Florida, with a single paying passenger to an industry that supports 56.6 million jobs and $2.2 trillion in economic activity worldwide. The commercial aviation industry interconnects major global centers, bridges cultures and communities, and, most importantly, allows our customers to reach the people and places they care about most.

It’s amazing to look at how far the industry has come. American alone connects customers to 336 destinations in 56 countries on more than 6,700 daily flights. We have begun taking delivery of more than 500 new narrow- and wide-body aircraft that will come into our fleet over the next few years, including the state-of-the-art Boeing 787 and Airbus A350. Many of these new aircraft will be equipped with advanced in-seat entertainment systems and in-flight Wi-Fi that will deliver connectivity throughout the world. We’ve come a long way from that first 18-mile commercial flight across Tampa Bay on January 1, 1914, and American will have one of the most modern, efficient fleets in the industry and offer the products and services our customers value most.

This year the commercial-aviation industry will carry more than 3.3 billion passengers, which is the equivalent of 44 percent of the world’s population. There will be more than 40,000 cities connected across the globe thanks to the achievements of modern aviation. The employees of the commercial-aviation industry, including American’s 100,000 employees worldwide, will be working around the clock to ensure that our customers reach their destinations safely, on time, and with their bags.

I encourage you to learn more about the history and growth of the commercial-aviation industry. Visit www.flying100years.com, the website of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), to join the conversation.

On behalf of the employees of American Airlines, thank you for flying with us today. We look forward to seeing you on a flight with us again soon.
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Doug Parker
American Airlines