American Airlines Debuts New Look At Tulsa Maintenance Base

Tuesday, January 22nd 2013, 8:39 am
By: Emory Bryan

You might have seen a slightly unfamiliar American Airlines plane in the sky over Tulsa Tuesday morning.

It's part of the debut of a new look for the airline.

There have been plenty of changes for American Airlines over the last year, primarily from the bankruptcy and ensuing labor issues that are now winding down.

Tuesday, in Tulsa, American revealed a symbol of their new course. It was something of a show and tell day at the American Airlines Tulsa Maintenance Base.

1/17/2013 Related Story: American Airlines Reveals New Logo

Employees got their first look inside and outside one of the airline's new 737s with a new logo; the first update to the brand in 40 years.

The most distinctive feature is the new flag design on the tail.

American's old fleet was all aluminum, mostly unpainted, with stripes.

"So, composite aircraft are not shiny. You can't polish them like aluminum, so we were at a crossroads," said American representative Andrea Huguely. "You have to paint them, so we figured now was the time to launch our new lively and fresh, clean look."

American has only one plane with the new logo flying and it's on a tour of the country.

Next week, the airline starts taking delivery of new 777s, starting an overhaul of the entire fleet with 60 planes this year.

"The remainder of the fleet, we'll do them as quickly as we can, it's about a week long process, so we'll just step through that over the next few years," said Vice President of Base Maintenance Bill Collins.

The new paint job doesn't mean any more work for the Tulsa base, but the new aircraft will.

Some will be serviced in Tulsa, which the airline says will keep the base fully loaded with work for many years.

The new look, according the airline, is a symbol of a fresh start for American, which is still in bankruptcy.

"We're at the end of the Chapter 11 process, and if we exit on our own it would be not too long from now. I think we'll see some news over the next few months about the direction we'll head in," Collins said.

That could still include a merger with another airline, but for now this new look is the future for American Airlines.

American will be adding some of the 787s that have been having problems lately, but not for several years.

They will repaint some of the airplanes they're flying now, but for the most part, planes with the new paint job will be brand new.