Airline Insider: Bob Crandall on the Airline Industry.

Robert Crandall is the former CEO of AMR and President of  American Airlines. He is largely credited with post-deregulation airline innovations such as frequent flyer programs and the hub and spoke system which to this day remain the blueprint for the modern airline industry.

Mr. Crandall gives very straightforward answers to my questions regarding airline deregulation, government and state department failures, foreign investment in US airlines, airline alliances, off-shore aircraft maintenance and more. Listen to this thirty minute interview by clicking on the link below.

Or, to download, click here.

This interview and all JetHead Live episodes are available on the “Jethead Live: Archives” tab in the right column, as well as on iTunes (click on the logo below).


11 Responses to “Airline Insider: Bob Crandall on the Airline Industry.”

  1. […] tags bob crandall, bob crandall interview. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own […]

  2. Bob Crandall was a dinosaur who refused to adapt to deregulation and he got AMR’s lunch eaten by more vompetitive airlines like Southwest. I bear no malice to Crandall, as I think he is basically a nice fellow, but he was not the man to adapt AMR into a more competitive airline that could thrive in a world of SWAs, JetBlues, and Spirit/Frontier. He was not able to adapt or to force the changes to AMR that were needed.

    • You couldn’t be more wrong: Bob Crandall created innovations such as frequent flyer programs and the hub and spoke system which are both still the mainstay of the three major airlines.

      He also, contrary to your unsupported allegation, introduced a fleet of narrow-body MD-80s plus an international fleet of wide body aircraft that to this day make American a worldwide flag carrier, something Southwest will never accomplish.

      When he retired, Southwest was still a fraction of the size of American. Basically, you are pretty well 100% wrong.

      • Southwest’s goal has never been to be a “worldwide flag carrier” – their goal has been to offer low fares, be on time and convenient to travelers, and to be profitable for shareholders – three things AMR has failed at. But if your goal is to be a money-losing “worldwide flag carrier”, then I suppose Crandall succeeded at that goal, as Quixotic as it is.

      • You’ve pretty much confirmed your ignorance: try booking a Southwest flight and report back on that “low fare,” which those who travel have noted is anything but low unless you can conform to a narrow “special” and don’t mind 2-3 stops–which is actually a different product than the majors are selling.

        The SWA “on-time” record has slid back to within the industry norm because of 2 factors: first, they’ve had to start using the ACARS automated reporting of arrival times which has dragged them down with everyone else (before they weren’t any more “on time,” they were simply “reporting” times manually) and second, they’re now flying into the places they said they never would, like LGA and PHL where delays are rampant for all flights, including Southwest’s–and they now have to report the delays accurately like everyone else.

        But the biggest problem with your campaign is that none of that has anything to do with Bob Crandall, nor does any of the post-Crandall, post-9/11 airline failures which includes billions in losses and bankruptcy for every major carrier–some more than once–have anything to do with the man against whom you have some personal grudge. That’s what’s Quixotic, at least on your part.

  3. roberthenryfischat Says:

    Reblogged this on robert's space and commented:
    see i’ll have to abstain.point to point.

  4. AA retired 95 Says:

    Robert Crandall was a tough no nonsense CEO who brought American back to life and pushed the company to the top of the airline biz after deregulation. He was not popular among employee groups because of his tough stance on labor costs, but no one APFA included ever denied that he was the key to the financial and business success of the airline. There is no shortage of disgruntled ex-employees or even stranger, outsiders always needing to take pot shots at Crandall but love him or hate him, anyone with common sense knows he was a smart business man who even today knows more about the airline biz and its future than many of the key players in the airline idustry.

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  7. Mike Bennet Says:


    I love JetHead Live but I am a Luddite and do not use iTunes. I used to be able to download the MP3 and listen to it as I do The Airplane Geeks Podcast. That ability seems to not be available in your latest post. Can it be added?

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