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AMR CEO Sees Credit Markets Easing

CEO Gerard Arpey sees some 'liberalization in the capital markets.'
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American Airlines parent



sees the credit markets easing.

"We are seeing some liberalization in the capital markets," said CEO Gerard Arpey, who spoke to reporters following the company's annual meeting Wednesday. "We are certainly seeing many more expressions of interest coming our way from the capital markets."

In particular, Arpey said, American has been paying down debt and freeing up collateral, and also has been taking delivery of new airplanes from


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, for which it arranged financing before the economy melted down last fall.

"We will need to refinance those airplanes going forward, (so) we will be in the market," Arpey said. "Last year, no one would answer the phone. Now we are getting some interest coming to us about what we are going to do with those airplanes and that collateral."

He cautioned, however: "That doesn't mean we will be able to refinance on terms we consider acceptable."

Meanwhile, in prepared remarks, Arpey referred to American's loss of its position as the world's largest airline, following the October merger between


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and Northwest.

"It's worth noting that while the combined Delta/Northwest has eclipsed us in total size, we remain larger when it comes to the top 30 domestic origin-and-destination markets -- in other words, the markets that matter most," Arpey said.