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Ex-American Airlines CEO Doug Parker joins Qantas board

written by Jake Nelson | May 23, 2023

Former American Airlines CEO and chairman Doug Parker is joining the Qantas board. (Image: American Airlines)

Qantas has recruited former American Airlines CEO and chairman Doug Parker to its board, with long-serving director Michael L’Estrange AO to retire at the AGM in November.

Parker is one of the key figures in the consolidation of the US aviation market in the early 2000s. He served as CEO of American Airlines from 2013 to 2021 and has more than 35 years of aviation experience, having worked in airlines since 1986 and in CEO positions from 2001 onwards.

Parker stepped down as chair of American Airlines earlier this year.

“There are few people with as much experience running airlines as Doug. He’s spent more than two decades as an airline CEO in North America, including eight years heading up the world’s largest airline,” said Qantas chairman Richard Goyder.

“The knowledge and perspective he’ll bring to the Board will be a huge asset as we grow in the years ahead.”


As CEO of US Airways, Parker oversaw the merger that saw the carrier become part of American Airlines, stepping into the role of CEO at American as it became the largest airline in the world. He had previously been responsible, as CEO of America West Airlines, for the reverse merger with US Airways, keeping US Airways’ branding as America West took control of its operations.

In a statement, Parker – who will sit on the Qantas board from today pending a shareholder vote at the November AGM – said he is looking forward to working with the Flying Kangaroo.

“Qantas has always been one of the world’s great airlines and it has clearly come through the pandemic in a very strong position. I’m honoured to be joining the board at a time when there is a lot of momentum and I look forward to doing what I can to support that,” he said.

Separately, Michael L’Estrange, who has served on the Qantas board for seven years as a non-executive director, announced he will step down in November.

“It has been an absolute honour to serve on the Qantas Board,” said L’Estrange. “Among the great strengths of Qantas are its clarity of purpose and the exceptional dedication and professionalism of its people. Qantas has a very bright future and I wish it every success.”

Qantas and American Airlines have worked closely together for years, and expanded their alliance in 2019.

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