Shares of American Airlines Group Inc (NASDAQ: AAL) were up nearly 4.0% in premarket trading after CEO Doug Parker said he’ll step down on March 31st.
Robert Isom to take over as the CEO
Parker intends to keep his role as the chairman of the company while Robert Isom will take the helm as the chief executive. Isom is already with American Airlines as its president at the moment.
Earlier this year, Southwest Airlines also promoted an insider, Robert Jordan, to the top position to replace Gary Kelly next year.
On CNBC’s “Squawk Box”, Isom said his primary focus for the next year once he takes over as the CEO would be the return to profitability.
We’ve done a great job of building American Airlines not just to survive the pandemic, but to thrive once business returns. For 2022, it’s all about making American the most reliable airline for customers as they come back and returning American to profitability as soon as possible.
He, however, refrained from commenting on how long it could take for the airline to turn profitable again. The stock is up more than 20% for the year.
Corporate demand could be fully back in 2022
According to Isom, the pent-up demand is likely to see corporate travel recover all the way back to pre-pandemic levels in 2022.
I see corporate demand back to 2019 levels next year. I see a lot of underlying small and medium-sized business demand that has continued through the pandemic. So, when corporates return and international comes back, I think we’d be in good position.
Although, he did agree that the recent restrictions related to the new Omicron variant weighed on the ongoing recovery.
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