American Airlines, Inc. (AA) is a major American airline headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, within the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. It is the world’s largest airline when measured by fleet size, revenue, scheduled passengers carried, scheduled passenger-kilometres flown, and a number of destinations served. American, together with its regional partners, operates an extensive international and domestic network with almost 6,800 flights per day to nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries. American Airlines is a founding member of the One world alliance, the third largest airline alliance in the world. Regional service is operated by independent and subsidiary carriers under the brand name American Eagle.
American Airlines and American Eagle operate out of 10 hubs, with Dallas/Fort Worth being its largest; handling more than 200 million passengers annually with an average of more than 500,000 passengers daily. American operates its primary maintenance base in Tulsa in addition to the maintenance locations at its hubs. As of 2019, the company employs nearly 130,000 people. Through the airline’s parent company, American Airlines Group, it is publicly traded under NASDAQ: AAL with a market capitalization of about $12.7 billion as of 2019, and included in the S&P 500 index.
American Airlines was started in 1930 via a union of more than eighty small airlines.
The two organizations from which American Airlines was originated were Robertson Aircraft Corporation and Colonial Air Transport. The former was first created in Missouri in 1921, with both being merged in 1929 into holding company The Aviation Corporation. This, in turn, was made in 1930 into an operating company and rebranded as American Airways. In 1934, when new laws and attrition of mail contracts forced many airlines to reorganize, the corporation redid its routes into a connected system and was renamed American Airlines. Between 1970 and 2000, the company grew into being an international carrier, purchasing Trans World Airlines in 2001.
American had a direct role in the development of the DC-3, which resulted from a marathon telephone call from American Airlines CEO C. R. Smith to Donald Douglas, when Smith persuaded a reluctant Douglas to design a sleeper aircraft based on the DC-2 to replace American’s Curtiss Condor II biplanes. (The existing DC-2’s cabin was 66 inches (1.7 m) wide, too narrow for side-by-side berths.) Douglas agreed to go ahead with development only after Smith informed him of American’s intention to purchase 20 aircraft. The prototype DST (Douglas Sleeper Transport) first flew on December 17, 1935, (the 32nd anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ flight at Kitty Hawk). Its cabin was 92 in (2.3 m) wide, and a version with 21 seats instead of the 14–16 sleeping berths of the DST was given the designation DC-3. There was no prototype DC-3; the first DC-3 built followed seven DSTs off the production line and was delivered to American Airlines. American Airlines inaugurated passenger service on June 26, 1936, with simultaneous flights from Newark, New Jersey, and Chicago, Illinois.
In 2011, due to a downturn in the airline industry, American Airlines’ parent company AMR Corporation filed for bankruptcy protection. In 2013, American Airlines merged with US Airways but kept the American Airlines name, as it was the better-recognized brand internationally; the combination of the two airlines resulted in the creation of the largest airline in the United States, and ultimately the world.