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A Question of Priorities

Today’s announcement by American Airlines that it has ordered 20 supersonic Boom Overture aircraft is obviously intended to grab headlines, despite United Airlines having already announced orders for the same aircraft. Boom is currently projecting that the Overture will enter service in 2029.

While future aircraft deliveries are always welcome news, right now we’re frankly more interested in seeing American Airlines correct its serious operational problems. So far this summer, the airline has cancelled more than 13,000 flights, which has inconvenienced more than 1.6 million passengers. Addressing those scheduling woes should be a much higher priority versus the next shiny object.

My takeaway from today’s announcement: It makes CEO Robert Isom’s assertion that he will defer wide-body aircraft deliveries or draw down international flying without a new agreement with APA look even more dubious. It just isn’t credible.

The announcement also reinforces the need for APA to look ahead and anticipate the types of challenges we will face in the coming years. Technological change can have a major impact on how the airline operates, and we must be ready. I can assure you that management understands the need for agreed-upon pay rates for the Boom Overture jet, which is obviously unlike anything else now in the fleet. Otherwise, the airplanes will be nothing more than interesting static displays.

I urge management to stay focused on the here and now. That’s what our passengers care about, and that’s where APA's focus will remain.

Fly safe.

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