By Jack Fink
The new American Airlines livery (Chuck Schechner/CBSDFW)

The new American Airlines livery (Chuck Schechner/CBSDFW)

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – American Airlines says its bold new logo and paint scheme symbolize a soaring spirit and passion for progress.

It’s trying to send a message it’s heading in the right direction as the company emerges from bankruptcy.

Tom Horton, CEO for American’s parent AMR Corporation, called it “A look that pays tribute to our great past as a company, but also is very much modern, refreshing, and forward looking.”

The new look comes just weeks before the airline and its creditors decide whether to merge with US Airways.

But American says its new design had nothing to do with the potential merger.

“This look speaks for itself,” said Horton during Thursday’s unveiling. “This is I think a very powerful image for the new American, whether we proceed with a combination or not.”

Marketing experts say unveiling a new logo and look can be risky. So does American’s new look work?

“It’s very difficult to launch a new logo when the old one has so much meaning,” said SMU marketing professor Dan Howard. “The new logo is something bold, bright, large. Something different, but it has no meaning yet to the consumer.”

American says it consulted with 2,000 customers and employees, who liked the shiny unpainted skin, the eagle, and the red, white and blue that’s been a part of American’s history for 45 years.

“Ours is an iconic brand, so change is not something we took lightly,” said Horton.

Howard says acceptance by the public will take time, and that companies like American must consider what their old logo means to people.

American says it will take between three and five years to give its existing planes the new look and change signs nationwide.

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