) --





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said it backs AMR's plan of reorganization, rather than an effort by

US Airways


to merge with the carrier.

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Answering a reporter's question during Boeing's earnings call, CEO Jim McNerney said, "American is working through the process now and we support them emerging from this thing as a stronger airline."

"We've seen mergers before," McNerney added. "It's not clear that this one's going to happen, by the way, in our view."

After American emerges from bankruptcy, "If at that point a merger makes sense to the two managements of the companies, we'll support that as well," McNerney noted.

Boeing is one of nine members of the creditor's committee in the AMR bankruptcy case. US Airways has reached tentative contract agreements with the three largest American unions, all of whom are also committee members, in an effort to gain support for a takeover of the larger carrier.

But AMR, which currently is seeking abrogation of the union contracts, has a period of exclusivity, which extends at least into September, to submit a plan of reorganization. CEO Tom Horton has said the company may be receptive to a merger after it emerges from bankruptcy.

US Airways operates the largest Airbus fleet in the world. American operates an all-Boeing fleet, but has placed orders for hundreds of aircraft from both manufacturers.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

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