In February, CEO Gary Kelly will hand over the reins to Bob Jordan, another longtime executive. In May 2020, he became the CEO of that airline. Parker's airline career spans over 20 years and is marked by two major crises, 9/11 and the Covid Pandemic. "No other CEO has worked as hard or spent as much time in Congress or with the Administration, or felt as urgently the need to keep people connected to their jobs - not once, but twice," wrote Sara Nelson of the Association of Flight Attendants. She was the president of the largest union of flight attendants who worked closely with airline CEOs including Parker, and pushed for this aid package. Parker was named CEO of America West ten days before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He was in charge of two mergers, with US Airways and with American Airlines in 2013, at the end of the wave of consolidation that saw American Airlines become the biggest U.S. carrier. After the Great Recession ended in 2009, airline companies were burdened with huge debts and legacy costs. This led to a number of bankruptcy filings and a new round of mergers. This time the target was American, which had fallen into bankruptcy in 2011. Parker orchestrated a merger of US Airways and American to create the largest airline on the planet when American emerged out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2013 This year, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit alleging that it would lead to higher airfares as well as poorer customer service. On the company's Investor Day in September 2017, Parker lost a wager for a bottle wine with an analyst at UBS that the airline shares would reach $60 before the analyst’s birthday in 2018. The shares of American reached their peak in January 2018, at $58.47. Isom stated in an interview with The New York Times on Tuesday that "our goal is to make American Airlines the best airline." Potential customers avoided flying. Isom stated that there have been some hiccups in the past and we've dealt with growth issues, but we are in a great position. We'll make sure we're ready when our customers travel. Kirby thanked Parker for more than two decades of leadership and thanked him in an Instagram response to the announcement.
"I'm glad for him but the game is on!" He wrote.