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US Airways, American employees to vote on new tail design

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/12/16/20/17/Q9msc.Em.138.jpeg|134
    HANDOUT - American Airlines
    American Airlines proposed paint scheme to be voted on by employees of the new airline. This option has the airline’s new livery that was unveiled in January on its tail.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/12/16/20/17/MPMFo.Em.138.jpeg|134
    HANDOUT - American Airlines
    American Airlines proposed paint scheme to be voted on by employees of the new airline. This option includes the old “AA” logo, which had been used since 1968.

There’s plenty of important work ahead for US Airways and American Airlines as they merge their two carriers, but employees will have a say on the most visible issue: What the tails of the new company’s planes look like.

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker, formerly the head of US Airways, said in a message to employees Monday that they will have the option to choose either the airline’s new livery that was unveiled in January – a flaglike series of stripes – or the tail with the old “AA” logo, which has been used since 1968.

Parker said the company can’t go back to American’s old buffed silver, unpainted fuselages, however. “There is no good way to convert the US Airways fleet to polished silver because of the materials used in Airbus aircraft,” Parker wrote.

Also, the composite airplanes on order such as the Boeing 787 have to be painted and can’t be polished silver, Parker said. So the fuselages of the airplanes will remain in the new American branding.

There are about 7,500 US Airways employees based in Charlotte, about 7.5 percent of the combined company’s 100,000 employees. Voting for employees will go until noon on Jan. 2.

American Airlines rolled out its new look in January, to much derision from critics who liked the classic look. Parker, who worked at American in the 1980s, said he understands.

“I, like many of you, am fond of the AA and think it reflects the proud history of this airline,” he said. “But I also think the new branding looks great. It is bold, professional, fresh.”

So which does he hope wins?

“The answer is, I honestly don’t care,” wrote Parker. “I think both look fantastic.”

Portillo: 704-358-5041; Twitter: @ESPortillo
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