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American's CEO says airline turnaround nearly done

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 11, 2012 at 8:52 am •  Published: December 11, 2012

"He has the opportunity to be the best CEO American has ever had," Jenkins said. "He did a good job (in bankruptcy), and did it relatively quickly."

American has boosted an important revenue measure faster than competitors, and it has returned to profitability, if you exclude the bankruptcy costs.

American and AMR filed for bankruptcy protection in November 2011. In an interview Monday with The Associated Press, Horton said the financial rebuilding is "essentially complete," and the only question left is whether to pursue a merger.

US Airways has been pushing for a merger that would put its executives in charge. But Horton said that a deal could happen after his airline emerges from bankruptcy, which raises the possibility that American could buy US Airways.

If AMR and US Airways are to merge on friendly terms, they must decide who gets how much stock, and which airline's management would run the new company. If there is no friendly deal, US Airways could make a hostile takeover bid. US Airways has outlined a proposal to AMR creditors, according to a people familiar with the private talks.

Horton said AMR will finish its consideration of a potential merger "soon" — the same timetable he offered in a letter to employees on Friday — but declined to be more specific. He said even if it remains independent, AMR's board would likely consist of a mix of holdovers and new members representing creditors, which is common in bankruptcy cases.

US Airways declined to comment.