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American Airlines CEO Says Airline Is Recovering


BOSTON (AP) â¿¿ American Airlines CEO Tom Horton told a crowd of corporate travel agents Sunday that he wants to return his airline to being an industry leader by the end of the year, but he shied away from discussing a possible merger with US Airways.

"I feel about American the way I feel about America. There's no option but success," Horton said. "This is a company that flies our flag around the world."

The airline's parent, AMR Corp., filed for bankruptcy in November. Recently, Horton has been on a public relations tour spreading a new message: American Airlines is recovering.

The airline lost money in the second quarter â¿¿ $241 million â¿¿ though all of the loss can be attributed to the cost of the company's restructuring. Without that, American would have earned $95 million, its first quarterly operating profit for April, May and June since 2007.

"The people of American have been standing tall," Horton said during the opening session of the Global Business Travel Association's annual convention.

Horton did not say much about the push by US Airways Group Inc. CEO Doug Parker to merge the two airlines. Horton has said American is exploring all options.

The two CEOs, who worked together in the 1980s at American, had breakfast in Washington on Thursday. Horton joked about all the news coverage of the meeting that he had arranged.

"I had the oatmeal. I have oatmeal every day," he said. "No surprise there."

He continued to say that consolidation has helped the airline industry and that there will be more.

"American will be carefully considering whether to participate in that," he said.

Asked if American should have followed other major airlines and filed for bankruptcy years ago, Horton said: "We try not to look back and second guess that decision."

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