After a turbulent decade marked by unsteady demand and all-too-steadily rising costs, American Airlines and parent company AMR have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
The Associated Press reports that the company plans to continue operations with no noticeable changes, and even intends to further delay the heavily anticipated spin-off of its subsidiary American Eagle, but also expects to undergo substantial restructuring.
First among those steps was the retirement of longtime chief executive officer Thomas Horton, who chose to step down despite calls to remain.
Though American was the world's largest airline as recently as three years ago, the company has struggled to deal with the rising costs from jet fuel, as well as growing retirement benefits. As of now, the company has fallen to the third-largest airline, behind United and Delta Airlines.
The New York Times reports that AMR's refusal to file for Chapter 11 has actually had a substantial negative impact on the company's competitiveness over recent years, with all of the other major older airlines already having filed for and emerged from bankruptcy.