American Airlines is undergoing changes. Not only due to Chapter 11 procedures and a possible (more and more likely) merger with US Airways, but also due to technical reasons. Like the new livery – which is driven by all of these three.
American Airlines has been using the same logo and aircraft livery for more than 40 years. Quite a nice lifecycle for a brand, especially in our fast-paced, marketing driven world of the late 20th and early 21st century. But AA is going through so many changes, that it was about time. Even if the board may have had questions about it – the undebatable technical reasons made it a must.
AA has had the very well known, very well received and very well accepted, famous, landmark aircraft livery with the polished, silver aircraft bodies reflecting the sun so beautifully – having only the red and blue stripes across the planes on the sides below the windows. This now simply HAD to be changed, as it could no longer be maintained with the upcoming new aircraft types (mainly the 777-300ER in the short term), that have a (partial) composite frame: plastic can not be polished the same way as metal (it can’t be polished, period), thus it must be painted. (Even the old livery planes had composite parts which are very well visible on this image below on the left side, for example the hold door or the nose – they were painted in simple grey until now and made such planes look somewhat like they were pieced together from left-over aircraft parts with different paint on them…)
AA took a step forward, and once it had to change the basic color of the fuselage of its planes, it introduced a new logo and an updated, more fresh look – which was the right movement in my opinion. I think personally that the new design is fresh indeed with its dark grey “American” word on the forward part of the plane together with the updated, stylistic Eagle logo and with the new tail design that looks like a flag. But most of all, I think the fact that they still use the silver as the main color of the planes, keeps the heritage alive as well – as much as technically possible. Their planes will now be painted in silver-mica paint.
The American Eagle aircraft will also receive the new livery, the first outfitted airplane slated to begin flying in February. Here is a rendering of an Embraer E175 (ordered for Republic Airways Holding):