Gerard Arpey famously once said while he was American Airlines chairman and CEO that he was “looking under every rock” to find the savings necessary to keep the company from having to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In the end, the rock-searching quest failed. For many observers, AMR Corp.’s fall into Chapter 11 was no surprise. The company has lost more than $11 billion since 2001 and has seen its rivals merge into mega-carriers that outsize and outcompete ...

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