Doug Parker’s Hypocrisy Exposed: Attacked Mideast Airlines to ‘Project US Jobs,’ Wants to Outsource Jobs

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker laid out a case in the Wall Street Journal three years ago that the fight to get the federal government to reduce Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar access to U.S. markets, reduce consumer choice, and raise prices was all about protecting American jobs.

He continues to beat the drum about jobs as he now complains about the unfairness of flights by Air Italy.

U.S. unemployment is at historic lows. Airline employment is at a peak. And more flights bring more jobs.

It was never about jobs. That was a fig leaf. It was about using the government to help shareholders pick the pockets of consumers. (How has that worked out for shareholders?)

At first unions were on board. But now the Transportation Workers Union, which represents American’s mechanics, points out that American management isn’t as motivated by American jobs as they claim.

[According to a study commissioned by TWU] nearly 50% by value of maintenance work on U.S.-registered aircraft are actually carried out in maintenance facilities outside of the United States.

Now TWU also makes the flat out false claim that outsourced maintenance is somehow less safe.

  • Airline travel is safer than ever, and that’s worldwide not just in the U.S. Maintenance work abroad in most of the world is extremely safe. In fact in one ranking there’s only a single US carrier among the world’s 15 safest.

  • The safest airlines around the world have their maintenance done throughout the world.

  • Current U.S.-based maintenance is dragging down American’s operation.

  • Cheaper maintenance costs means there’s less of a reason to avoid spending on maintenance. It’s expensive maintenance than an airline might be more inclined to skimp on.

American Airlines fronted the money for raises to their mechanics without getting a new contract and that’s made it harder to get a contract, especially since the airline wants to outsource more maintenance work and get legacy US Airways mechanics to accept less generous health benefits. American asked for mediation.

Doug Parker wants to outsource U.S. maintenance jobs. That probably makes sense for the airline. Their mechanics though now realize the public claim about the importance of ‘protecting American jobs’ was self-serving nonsense.

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, 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. Gary, stop attacking that buffoon Parker. He is the low-hanging fruit as far as incompetent, two-faced CEO’s out there.

  2. I think it is the effect maintenance work has on almighty D0 and operational performance statistics that is more likely to cause American to skimp on maintenance and rather than the cost.

  3. Your anti-AA rants are becoming more incoherent. Why all the irrational hatred?

    Parker is president of a USA airline with a large labor force. He seems quite motivated to do right by them — like taking the extraordinary step to give them pay raises before their union contracts are even amendable. Obviously, allowing Middle East airlines to use their multi-billion dollar subsidies to steal traffic from for-profit airlines like AA was bad for AA’s workers (and bad for all AA stakeholders). You can argue (as you have) that Parker is naive about the benefits of paying his workforce well, but it’s nuts to argue that he’s not trying to protect high-paying USA jobs. AA, by far, performs more of its own maintenance work in-house than any other USA airline.

    At the same time, everyone in the airline industry knows that some maintenance work can’t economically be performed in the USA. Just like Apple can’t assemble all its iPhones in the USA. This is just an economic reality and Parker can’t waive a magic wand to change it. By arguing that Parker is somehow being dishonest or evil to his workers by being candid with them about overseas maintenance work is to demagogue this issue beyond all reason. Shame on you.

  4. I’ve never seen someone that despises an organization and its leadership so much yet still continues to patronize it despite there being many alternatives. The AA hate is getting quite old. Did DP kill your dog? – it seems to be quite personal.

  5. @chopsticks
    Are you parker? I am willing to bet money that you are AA management…
    Parker has all the right to outsource maintanance, domestically or abroad, I don’t have a problem with that…but he can not, as gary points out, claiming to be looking out for american jobs when he trashes emirates or any other carrier…the US3 ceos including your boss parker are pieces of shit who do not care about us jobs, their employees or their customers, and you know it well

  6. @chopsticks How many miles AA offered you for your BS??
    Keep flying AA thats where you deserve to be and leave freedom of choice to others.

  7. Self-serving nonsense comes from the very top these days. Almost half of Americans have shown themselves to be very gullible It’s unfortunately contagious.

  8. Parker can”t be trusted. First he lied to retirees. Next over 5,000 flight are sick due to toxic uniforms. He now contracts all cabin service. Now he wants to contract out all deicing, ground equipment maintenance and more aircraft maintenance.

  9. @ mo — If you can’t understand how Gary is destroying his reputation with this demagoguery, you’re part of the problem. It’s like the HuffPost running anti-Trump stories about stupid things like Melania’s shoes or a perverse interpretation of an Ivanka tweet. It certainly plays to the base — in Gary’s case, AA haters — but it totally destroys the idea that Gary is some sort of “thought leader.” You just discount everything said as partisan nonsense.

  10. AA is clone cancer run into the ground by Parker
    Who doesn’t dislike this man other than his wife?
    He destroyed a perfectly once reasonably run airline and program
    What he’s done may be non recoverable
    I only hope that I live long enough so some new ceo in the decades ahead
    helps restore the carrier and program
    where customers even remotely matter and retaining their loyalty is critical
    Thankfully folks like. Gary keep making it clear there is vast improvement needed at American
    It’s far from their hardworking employees who are suffering

  11. Delta has also argued that the ME3 cost US jobs yet has no issue with buying Airbus and Bombardier planes. If Delta really cared, should it buy the 787 (made in S Carolina) rather than the A350(made in Europe)?

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