The two CEOs are in a league of their own when it comes to airline success, but one former CEO has some advice for American Airlines.

“Former Spirit Airlines CEO Says There’s A Case For Firing Top American Airlines Execs” is a story about the former CEO of Spirit Airlines, Ben Baldanza. He said there was a case for firing top American Airlines executives.

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Former Spirit Airlines CEO Says Top American Airlines Executives Should Be Fired

on November 12, 2021 by Gary Leff

American Airlines is in greater debt than its rivals and underperforms the sector financially. It has had disgruntled investors, staff, and consumers. After American lost its joint venture with LATAM, a South American megacarrier, to Delta in the autumn of 2019, there was widespread anticipation that management would be replaced. There was a rearrangement at the lower levels of leadership, but no one at the top departed.

Then the pandemic struck, and, like with the 737 MAX’s suspension, poor performance was mainly overlooked. The American Airlines Board of Directors, which includes a longtime college friend of CEO Doug Parker, has generally given management a pass.

The American Airlines business came to a halt in June due to a shortage of Boeing 737 pilots. It blew up towards the end of October due to a lack of flight attendants. The airline reworked its timetable so that anything might go wrong, from bad weather to sick calls. These things happen all the time in the profession, and there was no room for mistake. They even accepted $10 billion in direct government payments to maintain all staff active and ready to fly… but they failed to do so.

A listener of the Airlines Confidential podcast wonders whether current difficulties at American should result in repercussions for the company’s senior executives.

And presenter Ben Baldanza, the former CEO of Spirit Airlines, thinks there’s a case to be made for it – not only because of the recent flight cancellations, but also because of the airline’s long history of underperformance across a range of measures.

Operating an airline takes a great deal of effort. And the airline’s management should certainly be held accountable for the way the airline operates; its customers should be held accountable for its customer service; investors should be held accountable for its financial performance; and its employees should be held accountable for how we are treated and whether or not we have good jobs, and so on.

And I believe there’s no denying that the United States has suffered with a lot of difficulties in recent years. I don’t believe that a single weekend with 2300 cancellations is sufficient grounds to reorganize and hire a whole new crew. However, I believe that American has underperformed Delta and, more recently, United, which is more proactive and seems to be lot more progressive on a number of topics.

So whether the American Board of Directors believes that, if investors are powerful enough to push it, and whether consumers would vote with their feet and say they won’t fly American, which is difficult if you live in Dallas, Charlotte, or Miami. So, I don’t know, it’s a difficult subject, and I believe that degree of responsibility is important, but I’m not sure whether there’s enough at American to say that a wholesale transformation occurs.

Baldanza eventually finds that there are no superior candidates for existing management such that the American Airlines Board of Directors should act, although he is obviously sympathetic to the need for action.

American Airlines is already planning for CEO Doug Parker to step down, so it would take a lot to drive him out sooner than expected. Here’s an American Airlines homage to Parker’s career, as well as my view on his legacy before the epidemic. The two are pretty similar, given the ‘official’ version concentrates on his ability to steal government money on several occasions.

 

By the way, the video’s introductory segment is worth watching just to hear American’s Steve Johnson say that when Doug Parker traveled to New York after US Airways 1549, he left his briefcase in a parking garage – and they had to evacuate US Airways headquarters in Tempe because they thought it was a bomb.

President Robert Isom of American Airlines is likely to take over as CEO, implying a more or less stable future. Meanwhile, after supervising the airline’s dismal summer 2019 operational collapse, David Seymour was promoted to Chief Operating Officer. At American Airlines, operational failures do not seem to have any ramifications.

Doug Parker has chastised the board of directors he helped form for its lack of aviation expertise. He hired Isom’s old Northwest mentor, which might make the leadership transition much safer.

More From the Wing’s Perspective

The “american airlines blog” is a website that discusses the latest news and updates on the American Airlines. The former Spirit Airlines CEO says there’s a case for firing top American Airlines executives.

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