Above: photo montage of AA 441 from Chicago to Vail, taken by me on January 3, 2013.
It’s been a pretty dramatic few months for Fort Worth-based American Airlines, with many highs (and a few lows) for a carrier that has been reorganizing in Chapter 11 bankruptcy since November 2011.
Here’s a re-cap of what has happened so far in 2013 for American:
- On January 17, American unveiled its controversial “new look” as part of a post-Chapter 11 rebranding initiative, with a redesigned aircraft paint scheme and corporate logo.
- In late January, American became the first US carrier to operate the 777-300ER series aircraft, with an all-new premium class cabin configuration in First and Business.
- Also around this time, American signed a 12-year agreement with Republic Airways Holdings, Inc. to operate 76-seat regional E-Jets commencing in mid-2013.
- On Valentines day, the boards at American and Tempe, AZ-based US Airways announced merger plans that would equate to $11 billion in market value.
- In March, Brazil’s largest carrier, TAM Airlines, announced its intentions to join the OneWorld alliance, further solidifying American’s already strong competitive position in Latin America.
- This past week, American was forced to ground all of its flights after a nationwide computer glitch affected multiple network systems, including its reservations platform, resulting in nearly 1,000 cancellations and hundreds of delays.
Among the major global alliances, OneWorld currently is the smallest when compared to rivals SkyTeam and Star in terms of global seat share. According to CAPA, for the week of April 15, Star currently holds the largest share at 24.9%, followed by SkyTeam at 17.8%, and finally OneWorld at 11.6%. Of the remaining global capacity, low cost carriers comprise of 24.4% of the share, while non-aligned carriers make up another 20.6%, and charters/unscheduled flights lap up the final 0.6%.
Assuming the merger is approved, US Airways will also join OneWorld in the near future, a big whopping factor considering that US is the 4th largest carrier in the world, behind Delta, United and American ranked by number of seats. When commenting on this future potential movement, Horton made some interesting remarks reported in The Street today saying that, “US Airways will find it’s in a stronger alliance relationship,” as it joins American in OneWorld.
When it comes to alliance topics, my opinions tend to be a bit more subjective. As-is, I see the nature of global alliances shifting radically these days, which makes it difficult for me to want to “rank” them in terms of overall value they provide to the customer/frequent flier. Typically, a person will gravitate towards the alliance that has the strongest presence in their localized region, and offers the most convenient scheduling options at the most competitive prices, among other benefits.