Events outside American Airlines' control ultimately pushed the Fort Worth-based carrier into bankruptcy, but it was decisions by company executives that paved the way by leaving American outmaneuvered, analysts and experts say. Here are three turning points on the way to the Nov. 29 filing.
Market forces: Higher labor costs, a global economic slowdown, high fuel prices and a credit downgrade were factors in the board's decision to declare bankruptcy.
Executive pay/morale: "Pull Together -- Win Together" dissolved amid millions in stock bonuses that destroyed good will between executives and rank-and-file employees.
Strategic decisions: American delayed upgrading to a newer, more efficient fleet, and declined to pursue a merger, even as other airlines did.
Executives say travelers will not notice any changes during the holiday travel period from the merger of American Airlines and US Airways, which becomes official Monday.
It could take two years for American’s new executive team, composed of leaders from US Airways, to pull the two airlines together.
The merged airline’s executive team is dominated by top executives from US Airways, which engineered the merger with the bankrupt American.
Southwest Airlines and Virgin America will receive slots at New York’s LaGuardia Airport as part of the settlement that American Airlines reached last month with the Justice Department.
Talks are underway on how American and US Airways will divest slots for 104 daily flights at Washington’s Reagan National Airport, sources say.
The ruling clears the way for a Dec. 9 consummation of the merger between American Airlines and US Airways.