American Airlines scraps iconic logo for US flag

American Airlines, slowly climbing out of bankruptcy, unveiled a patriotic new look Thursday that all but grounds the stylised eagle that has graced its aircraft for decades.

The angular raptor set in silhouette between a double Helvetica A has been one of commercial aviation's most recognizable logos since it was created in 1967 by the Italian-born design supremo Massimo Vignelli.

In its place, American -- whose corporate parent AMR filed for bankruptcy in November 2011 -- said it will enliven the empennages of its current and new aircraft with a bold rendition of the Stars and Stripes.

The peaked head of the eagle will remain, sort of, in a corporate logo to appear toward the front of the fuselage.

In a statement, American said its makeover was prompted in part by the introduction of new Airbus and Boeing aircraft made from composite materials, which -- unlike older-generation metal aircraft -- must be thoroughly painted.

"Our new logo and livery are designed to reflect the passion for progress and the soaring spirit, which is uniquely American," said American's chief operating officer Virasb Vahidi.

American is taking delivery of about 60 new aircraft this year as AMR finalizes a restructuring plan amid talk of a merger with US Airways that would create the world's biggest airline in terms of scheduled passengers carried.

It also has 42 pending orders for the troubled Boeing 787 Dreamliner, grounded by US aviation authorities on Wednesday after a rash of safety incidents.