No paycheck! Just stock: American Airlines CEO

American Airlines CEO: Took my pay in stock
American Airlines CEO: Took my pay in stock   

Airline stocks have hit major turbulence recently after the price of oil started rebounding a few months ago, which has caused many investors to back away from the group. However, Jim Cramer refuses to back down and won't give up on airlines.

American Airlines has been a long-time favorite of Cramer's ever since its merger with U.S. Airways in 2013. Prior to the massive consolidations in this space, Cramer always considered airline stocks too dangerous to own because of the large quantity of buyers and tough competition.

However when the American-U.S. Airways deal went through, Cramer reconsidered his position on airlines because the long line of mergers proved that these companies could finally turn a profit.

Additionally, the collapse in oil prices have been nothing but a big fat positive for the industry, as the cost of jet fuel took away from the bottom line. Thus, it is understandable how American Airlines was the best performing stock in the Nasdaq 100 last year, up more than 100 percent.

While American did report a solid quarter in April, its stock has been slammed thanks to rising price of oil and investor rotation out of domestic stocks. Yet it trades at just five times this year's earnings estimates, which is absurdly cheap.

"At some point these airline stocks are going to become too cheap to ignore," the "Mad Money" host said.





Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines

Can American Airlines skyrocket once again? To find out, Cramer sat down with American Airlines Group CEO Doug Parker.

The CEO explained that the airline industry has changed dramatically in the past few years and this isn't the old days. In fact, he is so confident that this change has taken place that he made the decision to be compensated in American Airlines stock.

Parker outlined there were two reasons for this decision: "One as a CEO I think that I should be compensated in the same currency that you are compensated in, which is our stock. Second thing is that I think it is a great indication of how the industry has changed," he said.

The fact that an executive is willing to accept airline stock as a currency, is something that Parker would not have dared to do even just five years ago. However he remains confident that American Airlines stock will not be as volatile as it has been in the past, and considers his stock real currency.

Cramer noted that he has seen an increase in competition among airlines recently, which worries him that the old days of vicious competition and slashed fares could come back.

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"We are in a competitive business, and we are good at it," Parker said.

Parker thinks that a lot of what has happened relates to the price of oil. Now that fuel prices have fallen, this has given American Airline competitors the chance to add more capacity. When the capacity becomes excess of the growth in demand, then unit revenues fall. However, he assured that American Airlines would not be the ones to add capacity.

"Our largest cost has fallen 30 to 40 percent, that's not an insignificant change in the economics of the business," he said.

The CEO also commented on recent concerns that have arisen in the news based on the FBI's recent report that a man was able to hack into computer systems up to 20 times and control an aircraft engine while in flight.

"We worry about all these things, but that's not an issue.That particular issue is not a safe issue. The inflight entertainment system is not at all connected to the controls of the aircraft, so there was no issue there whatsoever but we worry about them all and looking at them all the time."

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