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November 29, 2012

AMR likely to complete bankruptcy restructuring by next spring, analysts say

One year later, with eight new labor contracts in place and after 5,500 court filings, AMR Corp. is getting closer to emerging from bankruptcy.

Industry analysts say the carrier will likely complete its restructuring by next spring, although it's still unknown whether American Airlines will remain a stand-alone airline or merge with suitor US Airways.

American has agreed to new labor deals that will save it hundreds of millions of dollars annually and has terminated expensive leases on gas-guzzling planes that were too costly to fly. The carrier has increased its average fares and maintained its cash balance at $4 billion throughout the restructuring.

But as the airline hits the one-year anniversary of its bankruptcy filing, analysts say management missed opportunities to dramatically change the Fort Worth company and its cost structure.

While pensions are frozen and employees and retirees are paying more for healthcare benefits, the labor contracts still don't give American enough flexibility to compete with bigger rivals United and Delta, analysts say.

"American, in my view, didn't differentiate themselves enough from the industry," said Bill Swelbar, an airline researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"There was a chance for radical surgery and instead they did selective surgery."

Click here to read the full article that appeared in Thursday's Star-Telegram.

-Andrea Ahles

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/11/28/4446255/american-has-made-improvements.html#storylink=cpy



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