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AMR to Spin Off American Eagle

CFO Tom Horton hinted at an American Eagle spinoff on the carrier's third-quarter conference call. "If you look around the rest of the industry, most of the other airlines have the vast majority of their regional feed provided by independent regional carriers."

By contrast, Horton said the frequent-flier program "is the cornerstone for how we interact with our best customers," and questioned whether shedding it would benefit the airline.

All of the legacy carriers have said they are evaluating spinoffs. Furthest along is United, a unit of UAL (UAUA), which says it has identified a potential buyer for its maintenance operations and will brief union officials on the plan in the first quarter.

Additionally, Northwest (NWA) has indicated it's looking favorably at the possibility of spinning off its frequent-flier program, while Delta (DAL - Get Report) is studying whether to unload its regional carrier Comair.

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