American Airlines announced a new logo and livery for its planes. (American Airlines )
It is still unclear if American Airlines will emerge from bankruptcy alone or merged with US Airways.
What is clear now is that the Fort Worth-based airline will come out of it with a new logo in red, white and blue.
Tom Horton, the airline's chairman and chief executive, announced the changes Thursday morning, saying the modern livery reflects upgrades that are being made to the planes and the interiors.
"You've been hearing a lot about how the modern travel experience is going to feel and today we are going to show you how it's going to look," he said in an online video.
The airline ordered 550 new planes in 2011, all of which will be emblazoned with the new logo.
American planes now have a polished silver exterior, which will be replaced by a silver mica color. (Some modern planes are wrapped in composite metal instead of aluminum and therefore must be painted.) The planes' tails will be colored red, white and blue.
In 2011, American Airlines became the last major U.S. carrier in the last decade to seek bankruptcy protection. Analysts and airline employee groups say American can only compete in the increasingly challenging industry by merging with its smaller competitor, US Airways, which has endorsed the idea.
In the online video, Horton addressed the merger proposal briefly, saying, "As we complete our evaluation of whether a merger could build on our strengths, we remain steadfast on each step we take to modernize our airline."
Video chat: Airline workers have gripes too
American, US Airways may merge to form giant airline
American Airlines plans to sell London town house for $23 million
Follow Hugo Martin on Twitter at @hugomartin