Former American Airlines CEO Doug Parker Named ATW Lifetime Achievement Recipient

Doug Parker
Credit: Alex Edelman/Pool/Alamy Stock Photo

Industry icon Doug Parker has been named the 2024 ATW Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.

Air Transport World Editor-in-Chief Karen Walker announced the award selection on Feb. 15 in a new episode of Aviation Week's Window Seat podcast featuring an exclusive interview with Parker, who retired as American Airlines CEO in 2022, then stepped down from the airline’s board in 2023.

Parker’s long and influential career in airline management began in 1986 when he joined American as a financial analyst at a time when Bob Crandall was CEO at that airline. Parker went on to Northwest Airlines before joining Phoenix-based America West as CFO—going on to become CEO a mere 10 days before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Eventually, Parker oversaw the merger of America West with U.S. Airways and then the merger of American and U.S. Airways, creating the world’s biggest airline, which he took to new heights.

In the podcast, Parker reflects on that career, talks about his biggest influences and motivations, and shares his thoughts on current industry challenges. He remains connected to the industry and, with his wife Gwen, has launched a nonprofit called Breaking Down Barriers that seeks to grow the pool of airline pilots by opening opportunities to people who may have thought this was not a career they could pursue.

Parker will be in Dubai on May 31 to receive the ATW Lifetime Achievement Award and make remarks at the 50th ATW Airline Industry Awards gala. 

The full list of 2024 winners will be announced later in February. More details on attending and sponsoring this high-level event can be found here

To listen to Karen's exclusive interview with Doug Parker on Aviation Week's Window Seat podcast, please click here.