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American Airlines stumbles on path to recovery

Oct. 12, 2012 @ 12:25 AM

DALLAS -- Just weeks ago, American Airlines was working its way through bankruptcy court, on schedule for one of the fastest turnarounds in aviation history. Planes were full. Revenue was pouring in. Then American, which has flights to and from Yeager Airport in Charleston, began to have problems.

A slowdown that American blamed on pilots caused massive delays and cancellations. Then rows of seats came loose on a few planes. American's on-time record fell well below its competitors, and its cancellations were the highest of any airline.

There are signs that the trouble -- which began in September when American threw out the union contract of its pilots -- is causing passengers to switch. Domestic traffic fell by 7.1 percent in September from the same month a year earlier. No other major airline experienced a drop like that.

AMR, which filed for Chapter 11 in late November, could still emerge from bankruptcy protection early in 2013. That would mark a quicker turnaround than the 38 months it took United and the 19 months for Delta.

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