What does "Awaiting AE recommendation" mean for the first notification (not after revision)? I sent my paper to an IEEE Transactions journal and I am waiting for the first notification and the status is now "Awaiting AE recommendation." Could I conclude that my paper is accepted?
AE stands for Associate Editor. According to the process described in IEEE Transactions, "Awaiting AE recommendation" status means that the AE has collected all reviews from the reviewers who were assigned to review your manuscript and that the AE's decision for acceptance is pending.
After this phase, the AE would send her/his report to the EiC (Editor in Cheif), for the final decision on accepting the manuscript for publication in the journal based on the review results and the report from the AE.
You would find more detail of the process here.