American Airlines Parent Corporation Files for Bankruptcy

AMR Corporation, the parent company of American Airlines (AA), has voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States.

AA will continue operating a normal flight schedule, and the AAdvantage frequent flyer program will not be affected. Additionally, all of its codeshare partnerships will continue, and the airline will remain a part of the Oneworld alliance. The filing will not have a direct legal impact on operations outside the U.S.

In a written release the company said that the filing was “in order to achieve a cost and debt structure that is competitive in the airline industry.”

The Chapter 11 announcement comes during a leadership transition at AMR Corporation. Current Chairman and CEO Gerard Arpey informed the board yesterday of his decision to retire, and he will be succeded by Thomas W. Horton. Horton will also continue to serve as President of AMR and AA, a position he has held since July 2010. Previously, Horton had served as executive vice president, finance and planning and CFO of AMR and AA, and before that as vice chairman and CFO at AT&T Corp.

AMR will undergo reorganization during a time of economic challenges for the airline industry. BBC News reports that AA was the only major American Airline not to file for bankruptcy after 9/11, and in September the International Air Transport Association (IATA) projected profits for 2012 will fall to $4.9 billion. In an address to the Aviation Club in Washington, D.C. earlier this month, IATA Director General Tony Tyler summarized the economic and regulatory challenges facing the industry, including a proposal to increase taxation, legal challenges to the European Union’s emissions trading scheme and ongoing efforts to improve the efficiency of airport security.

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