American Airlines Files For Bankruptcy

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American Airlines has filed for bankruptcy, its parent company has announced.

AMR Corporation  made a voluntary filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganisation, but said it expected to continue operations normally.

American’s chairman and chief executive Gerard Arpey also stepped down, and AMR’s board of directors named AMR chairman and CEO Thomas Horton as his replacement.

The airline, in a statement stated: “American took this action in order to achieve a cost and debt structure that is competitive in the airline industry so that it can continue delivering world-class travel experience for its customers.”

The airline, which serves 260 cities through an extensive network that reaches 50 countries and territories, said its flights will operate normally.

The company will honour tickets and reservations as usual, and that its code-shares and frequent flyer programme are not affected.

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“We are committed to maintaining a strong presence in worldwide markets. I am confident American will emerge even stronger as a global leader known for excellence and innovation, a travel partner customers seek out, and a carrier that serves communities throughout the world,” said Mr. Horton, who will also retain his post as AMR chairman.

“It is a privilege and an honour to lead this company and I intend to do everything in my power to help restore its position of leadership in the global airline industry.”

Rumours had swirled for months that AMR would file for bankruptcy protection, after an unusual spike in pilot retirements, with the pilots trying to sell off their own stocks in the company.

Shares in AMR have plunged 35 percent since the beginning of November, leaving the stock at $1.62 before US markets opened Tuesday. At that price, the company has a market value of some $543million.

In July, American Airlines, which with sister American Eagle has a fleet of 900 planes, announced a massive order for aircraft divided between US aerospace giant Boeing  and European rival Airbus.

American said it would buy 200 Boeing 737s and 260 Airbus A320 jets, both more fuel efficient than the aircraft it currently operates.