American Airlines’ chief commercial officer makes surprise exit

American Airlines Chief Commercial Officer Vasu Raja will leave the company in June, the airline said on Tuesday.

News of Raja’s departure came a week after the airline denied plans to leave the company, amid rumors that he was no longer in the airline’s office and had been fired by a board unhappy with American’s revenue strategy.

In a statement Flight Observer In a newsletter last week, an American Airlines spokeswoman said King was working remotely “for a few weeks while he takes care of some personal matters” but “hasn’t called it quits.”

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The airline did not elaborate on the reason for King’s departure or what had changed since last week. It is not clear if the decision to leave was made last week or if there was no other option.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday, American cut its financial outlook for the second quarter, now expecting revenue to fall as much as 6% compared to the same quarter last year. It had previously forecast a drop of up to 3% compared to last year.

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The airline has trailed major rivals Delta and United in recent months. The airline has recently introduced new policies aimed at encouraging customers to book tickets directly with the airline or preferred vendors rather than through various third-party booking platforms and channels.

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During the airline’s first-quarter earnings call in April, CEO Robert Isom said the airline was still “fine-tuning” the strategy, adding that “our competitors may have had some advantages” in the first three months of the year. Some of the changes we made.”

Isom is expected to attend the Bernstein Investor Conference on Wednesday, along with executives from United Airlines.

United on Tuesday reaffirmed its previous financial guidance for the quarter, which calls for earnings per share of $3.75 to $4.25.

Although he was a key driver behind the airline’s new distribution strategy, it was not immediately clear what Raja’s departure would mean for consumers. One way or another, industry watchers will be keeping a close eye on a possible change in direction at American.

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