NEW YORK, Feb. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- American Airlines Chairman Donald J.
Carty today told members of The Wings Club in Manhattan that the lessons of
Sept. 11 have changed the airline industry forever. But those lessons also
have shown American Airlines and the entire industry that strong leadership,
skilled and dedicated employees and key strategic partnerships can help pull
them through almost anything.
Carty said Sept. 11 reminded American that its people were its principal
strength. "Throughout the darkest days of the fall, I could not help but
marvel at the resiliency -- not just of American's people -- but of the men
and women throughout our industry. Our people showed they can withstand
anything -- and more than anything else, I believe that is what will get the
industry through this difficult period."
Regarding the enormous financial impact of the terrorist attack, Carty
said, "Whether or not we expected the kind of calamity we experienced, at
American we learned that resisting the temptation to further leverage our
balance sheet during the mid-to-late-'90s was even more important than we
American was also well served by its long-standing relationships with the
financial community, suppliers, partners, community leaders and lawmakers,
Carty said. He cited Boeing's willingness to allow American to defer some
orders and restructure other financial terms as a reason that long-term,
strategic partnerships make sound business sense.
Carty said it is an unfailing commitment to a company's core values that
allows it to be flexible in times of dire need. For American, he said, those
core values are articulated in its leadership plan which calls for the airline
to be the industry leader in the areas of safety, service, product, network,
technology and culture.
Looking ahead, Carty said, American and the industry are still faced with
formidable problems in a number of areas:
* Security. He said the government and the airlines must make sure that
aviation security remains an important part of national security.
* Industry infrastructure. The lack of sufficient air traffic control
capability, airports and runways remains a serious industry problem.
* Airline profitability. If airlines cannot begin to generate a
reasonable return for their shareholders, they will not be able to
invest in aircraft and facilities to help the airline industry re-
energize the U.S. economy.
* Supply and demand. Customers are coming back to the industry, but they
are paying very low fares.
* Labor relations. Airlines and their unions need to find better ways to
settle disputes, and the government may need to play a role.
* Consolidation. The large U.S. carriers should be able to survive in the
short term, but acquisitions of other carriers appear unlikely for a
number of reasons.
Despite all the difficulties the industry has faced, Carty said American
is well positioned to leverage its strong network, especially since the
successful integration of TWA. He said American and the entire industry must
recover because so much depends on a strong commercial aviation industry.
"... We help provide the fluidity of people, products and ideas that drives
the world's economy."
An organization for aviation professionals and enthusiasts that preserves
the history and perpetuates the traditions of aviation, The Wings Club
provides an important forum for discussion and debate on aeronautic and
aviation issues. For more information on The Wings Club call (212) 867-1770.
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SOURCE The Wings Club