American Airlines Chief Commercial Officer To Exit The Company In June

Estimated read time 3 min read


  •  Vasu Raja will leave American Airlines in June, having worked there since 2004.
  •  No reason was given for Raja’s departure, but he was recently on leave.
  •  American Airlines’ financial forecast was downgraded, with the carrier trailing United Airlines and Delta Air Lines financially.

In a major development at American Airlines, its Chief Commercial Officer Vasu Raja will exit the company soon. While no reason has been given for his departure, the news also coincided with the announcement of a cut to American’s financial outlook.

Vasu Raja to leave American Airlines

American Airlines’ Chief Commercial Officer, Vasu Raja, will leave the company in June. As stated by American, Raja oversees its customer organization and global network and also has oversight of American’s alliances and partnerships, revenue management, and loyalty program, AAdvantage.


Photo: American Airlines

Raja has had a long association with American Airlines, joining the company in 2004, and has held various positions within the organization over the years. Before becoming the CCO, he also worked at American as Chief Revenue Officer and Senior Vice President of Network Strategy, where he was responsible for Network and Alliances.

Raja was recently on leave

American has given no explanation for Raja’s departure, but he was on leave not too long ago. However, the company’s official statement a few days ago stated that he was not leaving.

Raja became the commercial head a little over two years ago, and according to CNBC, the news of his departure came after an internal discussion in recent days only. American Airlines Vice Chair and Chief Strategy Officer Stephen Johnson will immediately take charge from Raja and will lead the search for a new Chief Commercial Officer.

American Airlines Boeing 737-800 airplane

Photo: Markus Mainka l Shutterstock

While it’s unclear why Raja is exiting American, it’s interesting that there has been no quote from any top-level executive in an official statement or from Raja himself. It’ll be interesting to see if anything surfaces in the coming days.

American Airlines Free Flight Custom Thumbnail

Financial forecast downgraded

The news related to Vasu Raja also comes with American announcing a cut in its financial forecast. One of the big three US carriers, American has been trailing United Airlines and Delta Air Lines financially.

During an earnings call in April, American’s CEO Robert Isom said that they’ve got some fine-tuning to do, adding that they will look at ways to save costs and ensure that they maximize revenue production.

American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER

Photo: Jarek Kilian | Shutterstock

As pointed out by Skift, American’s financial performance in recent times has been underwhelming when compared to its rivals. In 2023, its operating margin was 8%, excluding one-off accounting items. In contrast, Delta’s margin was 12%, and United achieved 10%. Skift also quotes Airline Weekly analyst Jay Shabat as saying,

“American’s updated forecast for the current April-to-June quarter reflects a significantly more pessimistic view on revenues. Just a month ago, it anticipated just a modest year-on-year decline. Now the decline appears much more serious.”

As post-pandemic travel resumed, the demand for overseas travel from the US picked up significantly. This was utilized by many US carriers, but not so much by American, which focused a lot on domestic network.

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