American Airlines Boeing 767

American Airlines Boeing 767

I am going to take a wild guess that probably most of you have heard the news that American Airlines has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. There are all sorts of stories out there, so I am not going to re-hash it all. The bottom line is I think this is a great opportunity for American to take a huge leap forward from being an old, out dated (in more than one way) legacy airline to being a slim-lined and successful carrier. Can they do it? I am not fully sure, but either is anyone else, so we will have to see how it will work out. I think that the airline was already on the correct path and this will allow them to speed up the process a bit.

Out of all the stories I have been reading on this, I would highly suggest checking out these two for more information: Brett Snyder’s story on and Terry Maxon who writes the Airline Biz Blog, via The Dallas Morning News.

United Boeing 757 and Continental Boeing 737 at LAX in August 2010.

United Boeing 757 and Continental Boeing 737 at LAX in August 2010.


How do two merging airlines know when they are only one? The answer is not easy. It mostly depends on who you are and how you interact with the new airline. Yesterday, United announced that the post-merger airline was approved by the FAA to run under one operating certificate. Previously every Continental flight also had a United flight number. Now there will only be United flights and pilots will refer to all flights as “United,” to air traffic control even if it is an old Continental route.

’œI would like to thank the teams at United, Continental, the FAA, the Department of Transportation and the many regulatory authorities around the globe who put tremendous time and effort into our achieving a single operating certificate,’ said United’s president and chief executive officer, Jeff Smisek in a press release. ’œWhile we have much work ahead of us as we integrate these two great carriers, this is a significant milestone.’

Even though there is one operating certificate, passengers will still need to go to each individual airline’s website to book flights, change seats and check flight status. United is expecting to have only one system during the first quarter of 2012 and at that point, on the most part, Continental will cease to exist and the two airlines will function as one.

Boeing 737MAX. Photo by Boeing.

Boeing 737 MAX. Photo by Boeing.


Being based in Seattle, I was very excited to hear that Boeing will be building their next, next generation 737 MAX in Renton, WA (just south of Seattle). Boeing and the International Association of Machinists (IAM) have not always had the best relationship and it is nice to see that an agreement was reached. The union members still need to ratify the deal next week, but a four year contract and a $5000 holiday bonus should sweeten the deal. This agreement should also end the National Labor Relations Board lawsuit against Boeing for opening a 787 Dreamliner factory in South Carolina.

Previously, it would seem obvious that Boeing was to continue to build the 737 in Renton, but with the recent 787 factory being built in South Carolina, nothing was impossible. Boeing and the union conducted secret talks almost a year before the current contract was to expire and this agreement comes ten months before the old contract expires. This is great and a big round of applause for Boeing and IAM for making this happen.

Read more about the deal from Dominic Gates on the Seattle Times.

American Airlines Photo by Caribb

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me:
Design Your Own Boeing 787 Dreamliner Livery — It’s Easy!

I’m trying to figure out how a couple days ago, Boeing’s SC 787 line was retaliation against the unions, but somehow, now it is nothing of the sort, even though nothing involving the plant happened.


The answer is simple: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

As it always is with unions. Unions don’t care about the workers, just the money they get from them.

I’m sure the IAMAW hierarchy are disappointed they don’t get to throw their former members (the SC plant was IAM-organized before the workers there decertified ’em) into the street, but locking Boeing into a unionized workforce in WA and KS is a pretty good consolation prize. And if Boeing shows any tendency to wander in future, they can sic the NLRB on ’em again.

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