American Airlines Strategic Objectives for 2019 as Shared With Employees

American laid out their strategic objectives for 2019 to employees. (.pdf) It breaks down goals into financial performance, employees, and customers.

Financial Performance

American expects $1 billion in incremental revenue from:

  • Product segmentation (basic economy, premium economy)
  • Network enhancements (changes to flying, including through joint venture partners)
  • Merchandising (post-purchase upsells)

They also expect to achieve $300 million in lower costs by ‘eliminating post-merger redundancies’. They plan to do this while holding cost growth excluding fuel and excluding raises in new labor deals to 2%.

Their joint ventures are of strategic importance, and plan to see approval of deals with Qantas and with Aer Lingus (as part of their transatlantic joint venture) in 2019 — but only make ‘progress’ on their deal with LATAM — while they expand their partnership with China Southern.

Employees and Culture

There’s naturally focus on culture which is about pay and benefits and safety but not about performance expectations. Delta’s similar employee document talks about industry-leading pay for industry leading performance, something which seems missing to me here.


For Halloween CEO Doug Parker was Boy George lip syncing Karma Chameleon with a giant chameleon running around in the background (he says ‘this is how we’re making culture a competitive advantage’)

Customer Experience

Their primary customer goal, at least the one they list first, is operational reliability. Their goals,

  • Exact On-time Departures (DO) 69.7%
  • On-time aircraft turns (T0) 76.4% (turning around a plane that arrives after one flight and takes off for the next in the exact allotted time)
  • Controllable completion 99.6% (not cancelling flights if they can help it)

For inflight product they plan:

  • Finish installation of satellite wifi and live TV on 737s and A319/320/321s by end of June
  • Finish installation of premium economy on international widebodies, Boeing 787-8s are left, and this is expected by end of June
  • Seat power in 88% of planes by end of year.
  • 32% completion installing bigger overhead bins by end of year. This comes along with the ‘Project Oasis’ retrofit of narrowbody aircraft squeezing more seats into the same space (not a customer-friendly initiative)


Bigger Overhead Bins Let Each Passenger Bring on One Bag Laid Sideways

They plan 15 more gates at Dallas Fort-Worth, 4 more in Charlotte, and closer collaboration with joint venture partners in 2019.

Finally they plan “customer-focused airport and world-class lounge construction and development at LGA, DFW, DCA, LAX, BOS and SFO on time and on budget” and to “[i]mprove Likelihood to Recommend scores to best in company history.”

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Good luck to them…..seems like nothing game changing in that overview….yawnnnn….. looks like next another round of the same financial performance trend

  2. Lol @ the “Likelihood to Recommend” goal – “let’s make our planes basically unflyable and hope people will recommend us. (sic)”

  3. The A333s don’t appear to be getting Premium Economy even though their stay has been extended to 2022 at the very earliest. Surprising considering the A332 seat should be able to be installed with minor, if any, modifications.

  4. As reported in the WSJ Parker brought American Airlines from first to number seven. It should be noted if Frontier wasn’t in a labor dispute with it’s pilots during 2018 American would have been last. How does Parker keep his job?

  5. One interesting thing about to come is that customers will be offered on the app or the web the chance to bid how much money in vouchers they would want in order to volunteer for an overbooked flight.
    That would make it easier for agents at the airport to know who is willing to stay or not

  6. they didnt win me over/ upsell me from Basic Economy to the regular economy for $60 more for the roundtrip. I’m doing a day trip next week on flights that are a short two hour out and back from DCA. I’m not elite, so upgrading isnt a priority. at two days out I can pay for a seat assignment. I have the AA credit card so if I needed to I could check a bag (I dont). I considered it, and honestly dont see what the appeal is to pay $60 more – there’s no justification. Worst case scenario – these planes are 2×2 E190s. In my opinion, there’s no bad seat on those, so I’m fine with whatever they assign me. I’m not buying up.

  7. Why do you post internal documents? These are for employees only. Where is your journalism integrity?

  8. I’d prefer to see how those three silos come together, they should be more a Venn diagram vs the current silo effect. AA clearly is not good at people management.

  9. The only things I’d give them credit for is the video streaming on board works solidly and the overhead bins but the number of delays is unreasonable. And their habit of delaying things only at the last minute and then giving you tons of 15 minute delays is unacceptable. I had a flight last year delayed for 6 hrs but the delays were 15-20 minutes at a time.

    This year I had a flight where they were short a crew member and there was no chance they could leave on time but waited below making an announcement and the GA said they rarely let them know what is going on.

    And if you aren’t raking in tons of profits now, well there are going to be some serious issues when the economy slows down.

    Thankfully I don’t fly frequently. (And don’t get me started on the lack of seats for awards to Europe.)

  10. Do you work at aa?
    Did you have access to these documents from your employment?
    No integrity

  11. He need to consult with all employees and make them feel special by asking their points of view about the job each one is performing.ask how can we get better

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