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UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM10-K
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2020
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the Transition Period From                          to                         
Commission file number 1-8400
American Airlines Group Inc.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware75-1825172
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
1 Skyview Drive,Fort Worth,Texas76155(817)963-1234
(Address of principal executive offices, including zip code)Registrant’s telephone number, including area code
(Former name, former address and former fiscal year, if changed since last report)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class Trading Symbol(s) Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, $0.01 par value per share AAL The Nasdaq Global Select Market
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Commission file number 1-2691
American Airlines, Inc.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware13-1502798
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
1 Skyview Drive,Fort Worth,Texas76155(817)963-1234
(Address of principal executive offices, including zip code)Registrant’s telephone number, including area code
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act: None
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
____________________________________________________
 



Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
American Airlines Group Inc.Yes  No
American Airlines, Inc.Yes  No
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.
American Airlines Group Inc.Yes  No
American Airlines, Inc.Yes  No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
American Airlines Group Inc.Yes  No
American Airlines, Inc.Yes  No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).
American Airlines Group Inc.Yes  No
American Airlines, Inc.Yes  No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
American Airlines Group Inc.Large accelerated filerAccelerated filerNon-accelerated filerSmaller reporting companyEmerging growth company
American Airlines, Inc.Large accelerated filerAccelerated filerNon-accelerated filerSmaller reporting companyEmerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.
American Airlines Group Inc.
American Airlines, Inc.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
American Airlines Group Inc.Yes  No
American Airlines, Inc.Yes  No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).
American Airlines Group Inc.Yes  No
American Airlines, Inc.Yes  No
As of February 12, 2021, there were 639,675,800 shares of American Airlines Group Inc. common stock outstanding. The aggregate market value of the voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2020, was approximately $6.6 billion.
As of February 12, 2021, there were 1,000 shares of American Airlines, Inc. common stock outstanding, all of which were held by American Airlines Group Inc.
OMISSION OF CERTAIN INFORMATION
American Airlines Group Inc. and American Airlines, Inc. meet the conditions set forth in General Instruction I(1)(a) and (b) of Form 10-K and have therefore omitted the information otherwise called for by Items 10-13 of Form 10-K as allowed under General Instruction I(2)(c).
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the proxy statement related to American Airlines Group Inc.’s 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, which proxy statement will be filed under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 within 120 days of the end of American Airlines Group Inc.’s fiscal year ended December 31, 2020, are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.



American Airlines Group Inc.
American Airlines, Inc.
Form 10-K
Year Ended December 31, 2020
Table of Contents 
  Page
Item 1.       
Item 1A.    
Item 1B.    
Item 2.       
Item 3.       
Item 4.       
Item 5.       
Item 6.       
Item 7.       
Item 7A.    
Item 8A.    
Item 8B.    
Item 9.       
Item 9A.    
Item 9B.
Item 10.    
Item 11.    
Item 13.    
Item 14.    
Item 15.    
Item 16.    


3


Table of Contents
General
This report is filed by American Airlines Group Inc. (AAG) and its wholly-owned subsidiary American Airlines, Inc. (American). References in this Annual Report on Form 10-K to “we,” “us,” “our,” the “Company” and similar terms refer to AAG and its consolidated subsidiaries. “AMR” or “AMR Corporation” refers to the Company during the period of time prior to its emergence from Chapter 11 and its acquisition of US Airways Group, Inc. (US Airways Group) on December 9, 2013 (the Merger). References to US Airways Group and US Airways, Inc., a subsidiary of US Airways Group (US Airways), represent the entities during the period of time prior to the dissolution of those entities in connection with AAG’s internal corporate restructuring on December 30, 2015. References in this report to “mainline” refer to the operations of American only and exclude regional operations.
Glossary of Terms
For the convenience of the reader, the definitions of certain industry and other terms used in this report have been consolidated into a glossary beginning on page 20.
Note Concerning Forward-Looking Statements
Certain of the statements contained in this report should be considered forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the Securities Act), the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the Exchange Act), and the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements may be identified by words such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “intend,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “plan,” “project,” “could,” “should,” “would,” “continue,” “seek,” “target,” “guidance,” “outlook,” “if current trends continue,” “optimistic,” “forecast” and other similar words. Such statements include, but are not limited to, statements about our plans, objectives, expectations, intentions, estimates and strategies for the future, and other statements that are not historical facts. These forward-looking statements are based on our current objectives, beliefs and expectations, and they are subject to significant risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results and financial position and timing of certain events to differ materially from the information in the forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, those described below under Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors, Part II, Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations and other risks and uncertainties listed from time to time in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC).
All of the forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by reference to the factors discussed in Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors and elsewhere in this report. There may be other factors of which we are not currently aware that may affect matters discussed in the forward-looking statements and may also cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed. In particular, the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak to economic conditions and the travel industry in general and our financial position and operating results in particular have been material, are changing rapidly, and cannot be predicted. We do not assume any obligation to publicly update or supplement any forward-looking statement to reflect actual results, changes in assumptions or changes in other factors affecting such statements other than as required by law. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this report or as of the dates indicated in the statements.

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Summary Risk Factors
Our business is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that may affect our business, results of operations and financial condition, or the trading price of our common stock or other securities. We caution the reader that these risk factors may not be exhaustive. We operate in a continually changing business environment, and new risks and uncertainties emerge from time to time. Management cannot predict such new risks and uncertainties, nor can it assess the extent to which any of the risk factors below or any such new risks and uncertainties, or any combination thereof, may impact our business. These risks are more fully described in Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors These risks include, among others, the following:
Risks Related to our Business
The outbreak and global spread of COVID-19 has resulted in a severe decline in demand for air travel which has and will continue to adversely impact our business, operating results, financial condition and liquidity.
Downturns in economic conditions and related depressed demand for air travel could adversely affect our business.
We will need to obtain sufficient financing or other capital to operate successfully.
Our high level of debt and other obligations may limit our ability to fund general corporate requirements and obtain additional financing, may limit our flexibility in responding to competitive developments and cause our business to be vulnerable to adverse economic and industry conditions.
We have significant pension and other postretirement benefit funding obligations, which may adversely affect our liquidity, results of operations and financial condition.
The loss of key personnel upon whom we depend to operate our business or the inability to attract and develop additional qualified personnel could adversely affect our business.
Our business has been and will continue to be affected by many changing economic and other conditions beyond our control, including global events that affect travel behavior, and our results of operations could be volatile and fluctuate due to seasonality.
Union disputes, employee strikes and other labor-related disruptions, or our inability to otherwise maintain labor costs at competitive levels may adversely affect our operations and financial performance.
If we encounter problems with any of our third-party regional operators or third-party service providers, our operations could be adversely affected by a resulting decline in revenue or negative public perception about our services.
Any negative publicity stemming from any public incident involving our company, our people, our brand or any of our regional, codeshare or joint business operators or any damage to our reputation or brand image could adversely affect our business or financial results.
Our intellectual property rights, particularly our branding rights, are valuable, and any inability to protect them may adversely affect our business and financial results.
Our ability to utilize our NOL Carryforwards may be limited.
We have a significant amount of goodwill, which is assessed for impairment at least annually. In addition, we may never realize the full value of our intangible assets or long-lived assets, causing us to record material impairment charges.
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Risks Related to the Airline Industry
The airline industry is intensely competitive and dynamic.
The commercial relationships that we have with other airlines, including any related equity investment, may not produce the returns or results we expect.
Our business is very dependent on the price and availability of aircraft fuel and continued periods of high volatility in fuel costs, increased fuel prices or significant disruptions in the supply of aircraft fuel could have a significant negative impact on consumer demand, our operating results and liquidity.
Our business is subject to extensive government regulation, which may result in increases in our costs, disruptions to our operations, limits on our operating flexibility, reductions in the demand for air travel, and competitive disadvantages.
We operate a global business with international operations that are subject to economic and political instability and have been, and in the future may continue to be, adversely affected by numerous events, circumstances or government actions beyond our control.
We may be adversely affected by conflicts overseas or terrorist attacks; the travel industry continues to face ongoing security concerns.
We are subject to risks associated with climate change, including increased regulation of our CO2 emissions, changing consumer preferences and the potential increased impacts of severe weather events on our operations and infrastructure.
We depend on a limited number of suppliers for aircraft, aircraft engines and parts.
Delays in scheduled aircraft deliveries or other loss of anticipated fleet capacity, and failure of new aircraft to perform as expected, may adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition.
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PART I 
ITEM 1. BUSINESS
Overview
American Airlines Group Inc. (AAG), a Delaware corporation, is a holding company and its principal, wholly-owned subsidiaries are American Airlines, Inc. (American), Envoy Aviation Group Inc. (Envoy), PSA Airlines, Inc. (PSA) and Piedmont Airlines, Inc. (Piedmont). AAG was formed in 1982 under the name AMR Corporation (AMR) as the parent company of American, which was founded in 1934.
AAG’s and American’s principal executive offices are located at 1 Skyview Drive, Fort Worth, Texas 76155 and their telephone number is 817-963-1234.
Airline Operations
Together with our wholly-owned regional airline subsidiaries and third-party regional carriers operating as American Eagle, our primary business activity is the operation of a major network air carrier, providing scheduled air transportation for passengers and cargo through our hubs in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Washington, D.C. and partner gateways, including in London, Madrid, Seattle/Tacoma, Sydney and Tokyo (among others).
Approximately 95 million passengers boarded our flights in 2020, a decrease from approximately 215 million passengers in 2019. During 2020, we experienced an unprecedented decline in the demand for air travel due to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). COVID-19 has been declared a global health pandemic by the World Health Organization and has surfaced in nearly all regions of the world, which has driven the implementation of significant, government-imposed measures to prevent or reduce its spread, including travel restrictions, testing regimes, closing of borders, “stay at home” orders and business closures. While the length and severity of the reduction in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic is uncertain, our business, operations and financial condition in 2020 was severely impacted.
As of December 31, 2020, we operated 855 mainline aircraft supported by our regional airline subsidiaries and third-party regional carriers, which operated an additional 544 regional aircraft. See Part I, Item 2. Properties for further discussion on our mainline and regional aircraft and “Regional” below for further discussion on our regional operations.
American is a founding member of the oneworld® Alliance, which brings together a global network of 13 world-class member airlines and their affiliates, working together to provide a superior and seamless travel experience. See below for further discussion on the oneworld Alliance and other agreements with domestic and international airlines.
See Part II, Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations –“2020 Financial Overview,” “AAG’s Results of Operations” and “American’s Results of Operations” for further discussion of AAG’s and American’s operating results and operating performance. Also, see Note 14 to AAG’s Consolidated Financial Statements in Part II, Item 8A and Note 12 to American’s Consolidated Financial Statements in Part II, Item 8B for information regarding operating segments and see Note 1(l) to each of AAG’s and American’s Consolidated Financial Statements in Part II, Items 8A and 8B, respectively, for passenger revenue by geographic region.
Regional
Our regional carriers provide scheduled air transportation under the brand name “American Eagle.” The American Eagle carriers include our wholly-owned regional carriers Envoy, PSA and Piedmont, as well as third-party regional carriers including Republic Airways Inc. (Republic), SkyWest Airlines, Inc. (SkyWest), and Mesa Airlines, Inc. (Mesa). In addition, Compass Airlines, LLC operated regional jet aircraft for us during 2020; however, this arrangement ended in April 2020. Our regional carriers are an integral component of our operating network. We rely heavily on regional carriers to drive feeder traffic to our hubs from low-density markets that are not economical for us to serve with larger, mainline aircraft. In addition, regional carriers offer complementary service in many of our mainline markets. All American Eagle carriers use logos, service marks, aircraft paint schemes and uniforms similar to those of our mainline operations. In 2020, approximately 30 million passengers boarded our regional carriers’ planes, approximately 48% of whom connected to or from our mainline flights, a decrease from approximately 59 million passengers in 2019, due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Substantially all of our regional carrier arrangements are in the form of capacity purchase agreements. The capacity purchase agreements provide that all revenues, including passenger, in-flight, ancillary, mail and freight revenues, go to us. We control marketing, scheduling, ticketing, pricing and seat inventories. In return, we agree to pay predetermined fees to these airlines for operating an agreed-upon number of aircraft, without regard to the number of passengers on board. In addition, these agreements provide that we either reimburse or pay 100% of certain variable costs, such as airport landing fees, fuel and passenger liability insurance.
Cargo
Our cargo division provides a wide range of freight and mail services, with facilities and interline connections available across the globe. In 2020, we expanded our cargo service and launched our first cargo-only flights since 1984 to transport critical goods, including the COVID-19 vaccine, between the U.S. and Europe, Asia and Latin America. We operated more than 5,200 cargo-only flights serving 41 destinations. These cargo-only flights have helped our customers move more than 167 million pounds of critical goods around the world amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Distribution and Marketing Agreements
Passengers can purchase tickets for travel on American through several distribution channels, including our website (www.aa.com), our mobile app, our reservations centers and third-party distribution channels, including those provided by or through global distribution systems (e.g., Amadeus, Sabre and Travelport), conventional travel agents, travel management companies and online travel agents (e.g., Expedia, including its booking sites Orbitz and Travelocity, and Booking Holdings, including its booking sites Kayak and Priceline). To remain competitive, we will need to manage our distribution costs and rights effectively, increase our distribution flexibility and improve the functionality of our proprietary and third-party distribution channels, while maintaining an industry-competitive cost structure. For more discussion, see Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors – “We rely on third-party distribution channels and must manage effectively the costs, rights and functionality of these channels.”
In general, beyond nonstop city pairs, carriers that have the greatest ability to seamlessly connect passengers to and from markets have a competitive advantage. In some cases, however, foreign governments limit U.S. air carriers’ rights to transport passengers beyond designated gateway cities in foreign countries. In order to improve access to domestic and foreign markets, we have arrangements with other airlines including through the oneworld Alliance, other cooperation agreements, joint business agreements, and marketing relationships, as further discussed below.
Member of oneworld Alliance
American is a founding member of the oneworld Alliance, which currently includes British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas Airways (Qantas), Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines and SriLankan Airlines. Fiji Airways is a oneworld connect partner and Alaska Airlines is a oneworld member elect, expected to join the oneworld Alliance in 2021. The oneworld Alliance links the networks of member carriers and their respective affiliates to enhance customer service and provide smooth connections to the destinations served by the alliance, including linking the carriers’ loyalty programs and providing access to the carriers’ airport lounge facilities.
Cooperation and Joint Business Agreements
American has established a transatlantic joint business with British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia and Finnair, a transpacific joint business with Japan Airlines and a joint business relating to Australia and New Zealand with Qantas, each of which has been granted antitrust immunity. Joint business agreements enable the carriers involved to cooperate on flights between particular destinations and allow pooling and sharing of certain revenues and costs, enhanced loyalty program reciprocity and cooperation in other areas. American and its joint business partners received regulatory approval to enter into these cooperation agreements. Joint business agreements have become a common approach among major carriers to address key regulatory restrictions typically applicable to international airline service, including limitations on the foreign ownership of airlines and national laws prohibiting foreign airlines from carrying passengers beyond specific gateway cities. Our competitors, including Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, are party to similar arrangements.
The business relationship under the transatlantic joint business benefits from a grant of antitrust immunity from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and was reviewed by the European Commission (EC) in July 2010. In connection with this review, we provided certain commitments to the EC regarding, among other things, the availability of take-off and landing slots at London Heathrow (LHR) or London Gatwick (LGW) airports. The commitments accepted by the EC were binding for 10 years. In October 2018, in anticipation of the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union (EU),
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commonly referred to as Brexit, and the expiry of the EC commitments in July 2020, the United Kingdom Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) opened an investigation into the transatlantic joint business. We continue to fully cooperate with the CMA and, in September 2020, the CMA adopted interim measures that effectively extend the EC commitments for an additional three years until March 2024 in light of the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CMA plans to complete its investigation before the interim measures expire. In December 2020, the DOT issued its final approval for the inclusion of Aer Lingus, which is owned by the parent company of British Airways and Iberia, into the transatlantic joint business and granted antitrust immunity.
Marketing Relationships
To improve access to each other’s markets, various U.S. and foreign air carriers, including American, have established marketing agreements with other airlines. These marketing agreements generally provide enhanced customer choice by means of an expanded network with reciprocal loyalty program participation and joint sales cooperation. As of December 31, 2020, American had codeshare and/or loyalty program relationships with Aer Lingus, Air Tahiti Nui, Alaska Airlines, British Airways, Cape Air, Cathay Pacific, China Southern Airlines Company Limited (China Southern Airlines), EL AL Israel Airlines, Etihad Airways, Fiji Airways, Finnair, GOL, Gulf Air, Hawaiian Airlines, Iberia, Interjet Airlines, Japan Airlines, Jetstar Airways, Jetstar Japan, JetBlue Airways Corporation (JetBlue), Korean Air Lines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines, Seaborne Airlines, SriLankan Airlines and Vueling Airlines.
In 2020, we entered into an expanded marketing relationship with Alaska Airlines. This arrangement, once implemented, will expand our existing codeshare relationship, including codeshare on certain of our international routes from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and will provide for reciprocal loyalty program benefits and shared lounge access. Pursuant to federal law, American and Alaska Airlines submitted this proposed arrangement to the DOT for review. After the DOT allowed the review period to expire with no further actions, American and Alaska Airlines commenced implementation of this arrangement.
Also, in 2020, we announced our intention to enter into a marketing relationship with JetBlue. This arrangement, once implemented, will include an alliance agreement with reciprocal codesharing on domestic and international routes from New York (John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), La Guardia Airport (LGA), and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)) and Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), and will provide for reciprocal loyalty program benefits. The arrangement does not include JetBlue’s future transatlantic flying. Pursuant to federal law, American and JetBlue submitted this proposed alliance arrangement to the DOT for review. After American, JetBlue and the DOT agreed to a series of commitments, the DOT terminated its review of the proposed alliance. The commitments include growth commitments to ensure capacity expansion, slot divestitures at JFK and at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) near Washington, D.C. and antitrust compliance measures. Beyond this agreement with the DOT, American and JetBlue will also be refraining from certain kinds of coordination on certain city pair markets. In addition to the DOT review, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the New York Attorney General, the Massachusetts Attorney General, and the Attorneys General of certain other state and local jurisdictions are investigating this proposed alliance, which remains ongoing. American and JetBlue intend to cooperate with those investigations, but are proceeding with plans to implement this alliance.
Loyalty Program
Our loyalty program, AAdvantage®, was established to develop passenger loyalty by offering awards to travelers for their continued patronage. AAdvantage was named Best Elite Program in the Americas for the ninth consecutive year at the 2020 Freddie Awards, which are annual awards that recognize the world’s most outstanding frequent travel programs. AAdvantage members earn mileage credits by flying on American, any oneworld Alliance airline or other partner airlines. For every dollar spent by flying on American, members earn five mileage credits, but Gold, Platinum, Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum elite status holders earn additional bonus mileage credits of 40%, 60%, 80% and 120%, respectively. Members also earn mileage credits by using the services of over 1,000 program participants, such as the Citi and Barclaycard US co-branded credit cards, and certain hotels and car rental companies.
All travel on eligible tickets counts toward qualification for elite status in the AAdvantage program. Mileage credits can be redeemed for free or upgraded travel on American and participating airlines, membership to our Admirals Club® or for other non-flight awards from our program participants. Most travel awards are subject to capacity-controlled seating. A member’s mileage credit generally does not expire as long as that member has any type of qualifying activity at least once every 18 months. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we suspended the expiration of mileage credits through June 30, 2021 and eliminated mileage reinstatement fees for canceled award tickets. Elite members can enjoy additional
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benefits of the AAdvantage program, including complimentary upgrades, checked bags, and Preferred and Main Cabin Extra seats, as well as priority check-in, security, boarding and baggage delivery. We also made it easier for top-tier customers to earn AAdvantage elite status in 2020 and 2021 and extended 2020 AAdvantage status into early 2022 for all members.
Under our agreements with AAdvantage members and program partners, we reserve the right to change the terms of the AAdvantage program at any time and without notice, and may end the program with six months’ notice. Program rules, partners, special offers, awards and requisite mileage levels for awards are subject to change.
During 2020, our members redeemed approximately 7 million awards, including travel redemptions for flights and upgrades on American and other air carriers, as well as redemption of car and hotel awards, club memberships and merchandise. Approximately 6% of our 2020 total revenue passenger miles flown were from award travel.
See Part II, Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations – “Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates” for more information on our loyalty program.
Industry Competition
Domestic
The markets in which we operate are highly competitive. On most of our domestic nonstop routes, we face competing service from other domestic airlines, including major network airlines, low-cost carriers and ultra-low-cost carriers such as Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines and United Airlines. Between cities that require a connection, where the major airlines compete via their respective hubs, competition is significant. In addition, we face competition on some of our connecting routes from airlines operating point-to-point service on such routes. We also compete with all-cargo and charter airlines and, particularly on shorter segments, ground and rail transportation.
On all of our routes, pricing decisions are affected, in large part, by the need to meet competition from other airlines. Price competition occurs on a market-by-market basis through price discounts, changes in pricing structures, fare matching, targeted promotions and loyalty program initiatives. Airlines typically use discounted fares and other promotions to stimulate traffic during normally weak travel periods, when they begin service to new cities, when they have excess capacity, to generate cash flow, to maximize revenue per available seat mile or to establish, increase or preserve market share. Most airlines will quickly match price reductions in a particular market, and we have often elected to match discounted or promotional fares initiated by other air carriers in certain markets in order to compete in those markets. In addition, so-called ultra-low-cost carriers, such as Allegiant Air, Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines, compete in many of the markets in which we operate, competition from these carriers is increasing and several new entrants have announced their intention to start up new ultra-low-cost carriers.
In addition to price competition, airlines compete for market share by increasing the size of their route system and the number of markets they serve. The American Eagle regional carriers increase the number of markets we serve by flying to smaller markets and providing connections at our hubs. Many of our competitors also own or have agreements with regional airlines that provide similar services at their hubs and other locations. We also compete on the basis of scheduling (frequency and flight times), availability of nonstop flights, on-time performance, type of equipment, cabin configuration, amenities provided to passengers, loyalty programs, the automation of travel agent reservation systems, onboard products, health and safety and other services.
International
In addition to our extensive domestic service, we provide international service to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Asia, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. In providing international air transportation, we compete with other U.S. airlines, foreign investor-owned airlines and foreign state-owned or state-affiliated airlines. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, competition had been increasing from foreign state-owned and state-affiliated airlines in the Gulf region. These carriers have large numbers of international widebody aircraft in service and on order and had been increasing service to the U.S. from locations both in and outside the Middle East. Service to and from locations outside of the Middle East was provided by some of these carriers under so-called “fifth freedom” rights permitted under international treaties which allow service to and from stopover points between an airline’s home country and the ultimate destination. Such flights, such as a stopover in Europe on flights to the United States, allow the carrier to sell tickets for travel between the stopover point and the United States in competition with service provided by us. We believe these state-owned and state-affiliated carriers in the Gulf region, including their affiliated carriers, benefit from significant government subsidies,
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which have allowed them to grow quickly, reinvest in their product and expand their global presence. We expect this to continue after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. Competition had also been increasing from low-cost airlines executing international long-haul expansion strategies, a trend we also expect to continue after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides and the delivery of planned, long-range narrowbody aircraft commences.
In order to increase our ability to compete for international air transportation service, which is subject to extensive government regulation, U.S. and foreign carriers have entered into bilateral and multilateral marketing relationships, alliances, cooperation agreements and joint business agreements to exchange traffic among each other’s flights and route networks. See “Distribution and Marketing Agreements” above for further discussion.
Our People
The airline business is labor intensive, and our team members are our most important asset. The operational complexity of our business requires a diverse team of personnel trained and experienced in a variety of technical areas such as flight operations, ground operations, safety and maintenance, customer service, and airline scheduling and planning. We believe that if we create an environment where our team members feel supported, they will take care of our customers and thereby support the success of our business. To do this, we must continue to build a diverse and inclusive environment, helping all team members reach their full potential and providing them with the right resources and support.
Talent Development
We give our team members the tools, training and resources they need to do their best work and stay true to our purpose – caring for people on life’s journey. We have a suite of programs aimed at helping our people develop the skills and experience to succeed in their roles and build rewarding, long-term careers within our company. Additionally, we’ve partnered with leading online learning platforms to make professional development available on-demand to all our team members.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Cultivating an environment that celebrates diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is a top priority for us, and we seek to create a workplace where diverse perspectives and experiences are welcomed and encouraged, where team members feel comfortable to be their authentic selves and where we are always learning from one another. In 2020, we:
established the role of Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer and created the DEI office within our talent function so that hiring and development is viewed through the lens of equity and inclusion;
formed a team member experience organization to listen to the concerns of team members;
launched an Executive Sponsorship Program whereby a group of 15 Black leaders have been paired with an executive leader for a year-long mentorship program; this program will be scaled to an expanded audience starting in late 2021;
created an implicit bias training program delivered to approximately 105,000 team members;
launched an external community council composed of executives and a cross-section of Black community leaders to provide feedback on our company initiatives; and
formed a specialized customer relations team to listen to, resolve and learn from customer complaints of discrimination.
Our DEI goals include:
diversifying our leadership team by establishing specific objectives and laying out a plan to achieve them, including by enhancing our recruiting, development and mentoring programs;
providing additional learning opportunities beyond implicit bias to generate further education and awareness of diversity and inclusion matters; and
pledging to assist Black youth in developing job skills and expanding access to well-paying careers as part of our overall strategy to increase opportunities in our hub cities and Tulsa, Oklahoma, where our largest maintenance facility is based.
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Competitive Pay and Comprehensive Benefits
We offer competitive pay and comprehensive benefits that support the physical, emotional and financial well-being of our team members. We’re committed to providing medical coverage that is both affordable and flexible along with health care navigation and support tools. Additionally, we launched a well-being program in 2020 to help team members and their families make lasting changes in four key areas: physical, emotional, financial and work.
Our internal recognition programs give team members and customers the opportunity to show their appreciation for a job well done. In 2019, our team members were recognized by customers, peers and company leaders more than 2.5 million times. Last year, we launched a new Nonstop Thanks program whereby team members award each other points for a job well done or as an expression of gratitude. Those points can be redeemed for items in an online catalog. Every quarter, hundreds of team members are nominated for the Chairman’s Award, the highest honor that we bestow upon our team members.
Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a severe decline in demand for our services. In 2020, we moved quickly to better align our costs with our reduced schedule. In addition to other cost reduction measures discussed below, we suspended all non-essential hiring, paused non-contractual pay rate increases, reduced executive and board of director compensation, implemented voluntary leave and early retirement programs and decreased our management and support staff team, including officers, by approximately 30%. In total, more than 20,000 team members opted for an early retirement or long-term partially paid leave.
Pursuant to the payroll support program (PSP1) established under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, as amended (the CARES Act), the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) provided us with an aggregate of $6.0 billion of financial assistance in 2020. These funds were used to fund eligible salaries, wages and benefits of our team members. Due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we involuntarily furloughed certain team members starting October 1, 2020.
Pursuant to the payroll support program (PSP2) established under Subtitle A of Title IV of Division N of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (PSP Extension Law), Treasury is to provide us financial assistance to be paid in installments expected to total at least $3.0 billion in the aggregate, of which $1.5 billion was received on January 15, 2021. Using these funds, we recalled the involuntarily furloughed team members covered by PSP2 and provided them with back pay to December 1, 2020. PSP2 includes restrictions on involuntary furloughs and reductions in employee pay rates and benefits through March 31, 2021.
On February 5, 2021, we informed approximately 13,000 U.S.-based team members of the possibility of a workforce reduction at their work location. We expect that any workforce reductions will take effect on or after April 1, 2021. In connection with this notification, we announced the reopening of the voluntary early out and long-term leave of absence programs for team members of certain represented workgroups. Eligible team members must opt in by February 26, 2021 for the early out program and March 12, 2021 for the voluntary leave program.
Our future success depends in large part on our ability to attract, develop and retain highly qualified management, technical and other personnel. For more discussion, see Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors – “The loss of key personnel upon whom we depend to operate our business or the inability to attract and develop additional qualified personnel could adversely affect our business.”
Labor Relations
In 2020, salaries, wages and benefits were our largest expense and represented 45% of our total operating expenses. As of December 31, 2020, we had approximately 102,700 active full-time equivalent employees, approximately 84% of whom were represented by various labor unions responsible for negotiating the collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) governing their compensation and job duties, among other things.
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Labor relations in the air transportation industry are regulated under the Railway Labor Act (RLA), which vests in the National Mediation Board (NMB) certain functions with respect to disputes between airlines and labor unions relating to union representation and CBAs. When an RLA CBA becomes amendable, if either party to the agreement wishes to modify its terms, it must notify the other party in the manner prescribed under the RLA and as agreed by the parties. Under the RLA, the parties must meet for direct negotiations, and, if no agreement is reached during direct negotiations between the parties, either party may request that the NMB appoint a federal mediator. The RLA prescribes no timetable for the direct negotiation and mediation processes, and it is not unusual for those processes to last for many months or even several years. If no agreement is reached in mediation, the NMB in its discretion may declare that an impasse exists and proffer binding arbitration to the parties. Either party may decline to submit to arbitration and if arbitration is rejected by either party, a 30-day “cooling off” period commences. During or after that period, a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) may be established, which examines the parties’ positions and recommends a solution. The PEB process lasts for 30 days and is followed by another 30-day “cooling off” period. At the end of this “cooling off” period, unless an agreement is reached or action is taken by Congress, the labor organization may exercise “self-help,” such as a strike, and the airline may resort to its own “self-help,” including the imposition of any or all of its proposed amendments to the CBA and the hiring of new employees to replace any striking workers.
None of the unions representing our employees presently may lawfully engage in concerted slowdowns or refusals to work, such as strikes, sick-outs or other similar activity, against us. Nonetheless, there is a risk that employees, either with or without union involvement, could engage in one or more concerted refusals to work that could individually or collectively harm the operation of our airline and impair our financial performance.
The following table shows our domestic airline employee groups that are represented by unions:
UnionClass or Craft
Employees (1)
Contract
Amendable Date
Mainline:
Allied Pilots Association (APA)Pilots13,400 2020
Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA)Flight Attendants24,550 2019
Airline Customer Service Employee Association – Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Teamsters (CWA-IBT)
Passenger Service13,500 2020
Transport Workers Union and International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (TWU-IAM Association)
Mechanics and Related12,300 2025
TWU-IAM AssociationFleet Service16,600 2025
TWU-IAM AssociationStock Clerks1,750 2025
TWU-IAM AssociationFlight Simulator Engineers140 2021
TWU-IAM AssociationMaintenance Control Technicians190 2025
TWU-IAM AssociationMaintenance Training Instructors50 2025
Professional Airline Flight Control Association (PAFCA)Dispatchers