It was a great source of pride and accomplishment for AMR/American Airlines chairman and CEO Gerard Arpey that AMR stayed out of bankruptcy when all its major competitors went through Chapter 11 proceedings.

Of course, AMR and American went through what amounted to a bankruptcy in early 2003 when unions and employees had to accept $1.6 billion in concessions through pay cuts, reductions in benefits and other contract concessions. But AMR never had to resort to filing Chapter 11 papers and seek protection from creditors.

That all ended Nov. 29 after the AMR board threw in the towel and put AMR, American, AMR Eagle and other subsidiaries into proceedings in a New York federal bankruptcy court.

Top executives pushed its pilots’ union, the Allied Pilots Association, hard during September, October and the first half of November for a deal. But when the airline’s last offer on Nov. 14 didn’t pass muster with the union’s board, the AMR board set in motion the preparations that ended with the Nov. 29 filing.

As the airline went into bankruptcy, Arpey went out of the airline, choosing to retire. He subsequently took a position with a Houston investment firm, joining the former chairman and CEO of Continental Airlines.

This may well be our top story for 2012 and 2013 as well. AMR’s new chairman and chief executive, Tom Horton, has not showed his hand yet on how deep the cuts will be for American’s and American Eagle’s fleets and work forces.

We probably can assume, however, that we’ll see a much different AMR, American and American Eagle two years from now.

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