American Eagle Airlines, the regional subsidy of American Airlines will undergo a name change in Spring 2014 and will re-launch themselves as a new regional carrier known by the name Envoy. Envoy will remain a fully owned subsidy of American Airlines and will continue to operate under the American Eagle livery and branding, but will operate more similarly to the way SkyWest operates for AA/American Eagle now.
The announcement of the pending name change, came over a year ago, but until now the name had not been announced. After vetting over 1,000 names Envoy was chosen as the winner to represent what American Eagle does best: serving as their ambassador and a representative to their customers. Yet part of me laugh and thinks of them as a tribute to US Airways long Haul business class–something American Eagle “Envoy” will never be able to live up to.
In the media Release, Pedro Fábregas, the president and CEO of American Eagle Airlines said
Our people and our company – which is one the largest regional carriers in the world with some of the best people in our business – deserve a name that is all our own….By taking on the Envoy name, we can better differentiate ourselves from the competition and better market ourselves. This is important for both our people and our company as we further expand our ground handling business.
Why the Name Change?
For those not familiar with the situation, American Eagle is an airline with over 15,000 employees, 280 small aircrafts, and serves over 1,500 flights to 170 destinations in the USA, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. In addition to being a regional carrier, the airline is also one of the only regional carriers that offer its own ground handling operation, making the airline more unique and complex then other regional carriers. In recent years, American Airline has also added regional flights which are operated by SkyWest and Republic Airways. These separate airlines operate as Skywest or Republic Airways for American Airlines, but are painted with the American Eagle livery and referred to as American Eagle flights. Previously, non-owned airlines doing work for American Airlines were known as American Connect. But with the dissolvement of American Connect, it made it extremely difficult to decipher what airline is operating the American Eagle flight and no longer made a distinction between carriers. Furthermore, with the merger of US Airways now underway, airlines currently operating under the US Airways Express name and which do regional service for US Airways will join other airlines as American Eagle with the name and livery.
With 5+ airlines soon to be flying under the name American Eagle, as American Airlines had done away with the name American Connect, American Eagle Airlines needed a way to differentiate themselves from the competition. Hence the name change.
This change is being made to give the company its own distinct identity and eliminate the confusion between the company’s current name and American Eagle, the regional flying brand of American Airlines, Inc. With the formation of American Airlines Group, the 10 carriers currently providing regional service for the legacy American and US Airways networks will all eventually fly under the American Eagle brand.
Once the name change is complete, the new airline will continue to wear the American Eagle lively but will also carry a “operated by Envoy” label similarly to how Skywest and Republic aircrafts currently appear.