American Airlines rises from bankruptcy with first rebrand in 40 years

American Airlines (AA) will seek to rise from the ashes of bankruptcy with its first rebrand in forty years and the largest aircraft order in the history of aviation.

The embattled airline, which emerged from bankruptcy in December last year and continues to consider a merger, commissioned Futurebrand to create a new brand identity and has ordered hundreds of new planes to which it will introduce new amenities for business and international travellers.

A modernised version of the airline’s iconic eagle logo, new paintwork emblazoning the stripes of the American flag on aircrafts’ tails and integration of the new livery across all customer touchpoints has been created, but the changes are not purely cosmetic, according to John Malozzi, associate creative director of Futurebrand.

“We want it to signal change as an experience overall, both visually and emotionally,” Malozzi says.

Flat-lay beds for business class travellers, in-seat entertainment in all cabins across the entire fleet, hand-held tablets for flight attendants and iPads for pilots will also be introduced as the airline expands international services to Europe, Asia and Latin America and modernises its experience.

“We’ve known for more than two years that we were building anticipation towards a moment in time when the outside of our aircraft reflects the progress we’ve made on the inside,”  AA’s chairman and CEO, Tom Horton, says in a rousing address to customers.

The new look is inspired by the airline’s long history to symbolise a passion for progress while incorporating the colours and symbols associated with the national carrier, Jill Surdek, managing director of brand and customer experience strategy at the airline, adds.

“Our new look was inspired by out proud past and what we make possible as a company,” Surdek says. “I hope that people will see that we’ve kept the elements of American that people love, and brought them forward and modernised them for the future.”

The iconic American eagle logo has been evolved into a ‘flight symbol’ to represent the eagle, the star, and the ‘A’ — elements long been synonymous with the brand — in refreshed shades of red, white and blue. The tail of the fleet’s aircraft will be emblazoned with stylised stripes from the American flag to make aircraft seem like they’re flying, even when they’re sitting still.

American Airlines will take possession of 550 new planes, starting with the delivery of the first Boeing 777-300 aircraft to enter service over the next few weeks.