Six weeks ago, American Airlines parent AMR Corp. surprised Wall Street with a handsome second-quarter net profit of $291 million. To put this achievement into its proper perspective, the last time AMR earned as much, fuel was selling for around 80 cents a gallon, yields were rising toward 14 cents per passenger mile, Bill Clinton was completing his second term in the White House and 911 was what you dialed in an emergency. It is a tribute to how far American has come since the bottom ...

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