"American fought that longer and harder than anybody else," he added. "I think that was honorable. I think the people of American should be proud of what they did."
But, he said, other airlines were able to slash expenses in the courts, leaving American at a disadvantage.
American is preparing new planes, new interiors and upgraded airport facilities so it can eventually better compete with bigger rivals Delta Air Lines and United Continental Holdings Inc.'s United Airlines.
As part of that process, American might lose its iconic look: polished silver metal jets with red, white and blue stripes. The airline is planning to take delivery of new Airbus jets and the Boeing 787. Both sets of aircraft have plastic composites, Horton said, requiring the airline to rethink its exterior design, or livery.___ Scott Mayerowitz can be reached at http://twitter.com/GlobeTrotScott .