In a move that positions its regional airline for continued growth and success, AMR Corporation, parent company of American Airlines and American Eagle, today named Daniel P. Garton president and chief executive officer of American Eagle. AMR also reiterated its intent to evaluate the possible divestiture of American Eagle.
Garton returns to American Eagle after 12 years with American Airlines, most recently as executive vice president-marketing for American Airlines since 2002, a role in which he was responsible for American’s reservations, aa.com, flight service, sales, the AAdvantage® travel awards program, advertising, and corporate communications. Previously, Garton held senior executive positions in operations and finance and was president of American Eagle Airlines for three years beginning in July 1995. During Garton’s tenure at American Eagle, he engineered the airline’s transition from four separate carriers to one and introduced the regional airline to the jet age with the acquisition of its first jet aircraft.
“The AMR board of directors and I clearly recognize Dan’s leadership and his many contributions to AMR,” said Gerard Arpey, AMR’s chairman and CEO. “Dan has remarkable talent and ability that – when coupled with his broad knowledge of the challenging airline industry and his insight from his time as president of American Eagle – make him uniquely qualified to lead American Eagle, especially as we begin a strategic evaluation of the regional airline.”
“American Eagle is a great airline with a solid collection of assets; a strong network covering the United States, the Caribbean, Canada, and Mexico with more than 1,500 daily departures; and a dedicated group of 12,000 talented employees,” said Garton. “The company has accomplished a great deal despite facing enormous challenges over the last decade. But I believe there is now a tremendous opportunity to begin a new chapter in the airline’s history, creating new possibilities for our customers, partners, and employees.”
According to Garton, these are times of unprecedented challenge and change in the airline industry, and regional airlines are in an excellent position to capitalize on these new market dynamics. “When you look at the sheer scope of the regional airline industry, carriers like American Eagle provide half the scheduled passenger flights in the United States, which is a pretty phenomenal contribution. Regional airlines ensure a critical transportation link, particularly with medium- and smaller-sized markets that might otherwise not have air service,” he said.
While executive vice president-marketing for American, Garton played a pivotal role in driving American’s marketing initiatives. Among his many accomplishments, Garton introduced a new booking tool on aa.com that allows travelers to search flight options by both price and schedule and rolled out American’s Lowest Fare Guarantee on aa.com. He also is credited with spearheading American’s Customer Experience Leadership initiative to redouble the airline’s customer service efforts, including tailoring products and services to American’s premium customers. In addition, Garton had responsibility for unveiling American’s Gogo® inflight wireless Internet service and revolutionizing award travel by introducing the popular “One-Way Flex Awards,” giving AAdvantage members more options when redeeming award travel.
Garton joined American in 1984 and held a variety of staff positions in the sales, marketing, finance, and airport operations departments at American, in addition to his three-year tenure as president of American Eagle. Garton left AMR briefly to serve for two years as senior vice president and chief financial officer of Continental Airlines before returning in 1995 to AMR to assume the presidency of American Eagle.
Garton succeeds Peter Bowler, a 26-year company veteran who in May announced his retirement from the airline. Garton will assume his new duties immediately and retain his role on AMR’s executive committee. In addition, Garton will continue in his role as executive vice president-marketing at American until a successor is named.