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Super80Fan
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How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:08 am

Looking for some facts/opinions from some who have a little more knowledge than me. I am very curious to know how American Airlines survived the events of 9/11, when they lost two of their aircraft, the crash of American Airlines flight 587 two months later, and the decline of air travel after 9/11 without declaring bankruptcy. I also understand the controversy surrounding furloughs/Carty & other executives getting bonuses while negotiating pay/benefits decreases with the unions, but I am curious how they survived that long until AMR's 2011 bankruptcy.

In contrast, United (who lost two aircraft on 9/11), US Airways (twice), Delta, Northwest, and Air Canada all declared bankruptcy either a year later or a few years later.
RIP McDonnell Douglas
RIP US Airways
 
maddogjt8d
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:12 am

I’m not one of those with knowledge enough to weigh in on how AMR survived that period without bankruptcy, but I wanted to add that they had also swallowed the assets of TWA earlier in 2001 in the months leading up to 9/11. To me, given the decline in air travel that followed this period, that makes it even more fascinating.
 
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TWA772LR
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:28 am

AA was, from what I read on here, ran pretty well through the 90s up to 9/11. Im sure a stable foundation like that helped big time.
When wasn't America great?


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N649DL
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:41 am

US was actually the airline that almost got liquidated in the mid-2000s saved by America West. AA and UA held on for various reasons mostly because they had the network, stable relationships with creditors, and just big names in general. AA really went through a big transition in and around 2011 which IIRC was the first time they filed as a corporation. UA did the same in the mid-2000s to save face and eventually merge with CO. Both UA and AA had huge assets that couldn't be ignored either way.
 
simairlinenet
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:47 am

I'm unfamiliar with what made American different, but this memoir is worth a read. By American's general counsel, covers 9/11 through merger.

https://www.amazon.com/Twelve-Years-Tur ... 682614883/
 
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Super80Fan
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:48 am

simairlinenet wrote:
I'm unfamiliar with what made American different, but this memoir is worth a read. By American's general counsel, covers 9/11 through merger.

https://www.amazon.com/Twelve-Years-Tur ... 682614883/


I've been meaning to buy that at some point, thanks for reminding me.

And thank you everyone for posting so far.
RIP McDonnell Douglas
RIP US Airways
 
Antarius
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:49 am

IMO, the issue was Arpey. While I respect his anti-bankruptcy and pro-willingness to keep his word as a leader of the company, he stubbornly staved off bankruptcy. Unfortunately, by holding to this principle, he was responsible for AA's NGBC business class, a 2-3-2 angle flat product that was already 7 years out of date and unworthy of spending any money on, among other short term decisions that cost the company in the long run.

Needless to say, Arpey's stand, while admirable, did nothing but delay the inevitable bankruptcy. AA would have been better off having declared it earlier.
2019: SIN HKG NRT DFW IAH HOU CLT LGA JFK SFO SJC EWR SNA EYW MIA BOG LAX ORD DTW OAK PVG BOS DCA IAD ATL LAS BIS CUN PHX OAK SYD CVG PHL MAD ORY CDG SLC SJU BQN MHT YYZ STS BIS DOH BLR KTM MFM MEX MSY BWI DEN
 
MIflyer12
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 11:23 am

Is the OP familiar with the $4.3 Billion in direct payments to carriers, and further $10 Billion in loan guarantees (little used, ultimately) that was available to U.S. passenger and cargo carriers?

https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-04-725R
 
Cointrin330
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 11:41 am

Antarius wrote:
IMO, the issue was Arpey. While I respect his anti-bankruptcy and pro-willingness to keep his word as a leader of the company, he stubbornly staved off bankruptcy. Unfortunately, by holding to this principle, he was responsible for AA's NGBC business class, a 2-3-2 angle flat product that was already 7 years out of date and unworthy of spending any money on, among other short term decisions that cost the company in the long run.

Needless to say, Arpey's stand, while admirable, did nothing but delay the inevitable bankruptcy. AA would have been better off having declared it earlier.


Arpey may have admirably steered AMR through arguably its most precarious period in the immediate post-9/11 timeframe as well as the crash of AA 587 but AMR missed a huge opportunity in the mid-2000s to level the playing field with the rest of the industry and did not recognize competitive threats well enough until it was too late. Had American filed for Chapter 11 like DL, NW, UA, etc...it would have captured the opportunity to be a more formidable competitor to B6 and DL in the NYC area (JFK in particular) and secured the funding needed to revamp its fleet and cabins at the time, which were extremely out-dated and not competitive with the rest of the industry. American would also likely have not been left with the only merger option it had in 2013, which was US, not the best merger partner for sure from a network and management team perspective. Merging with US made AA that much bigger, yes, but it did not inherit a route map sufficiently well structured to optimize revenue. American leveraged bankruptcy to address a few key things it needed when it filed: A new fleet as its planes were aging fast, addressing a lousy premium product and rightsizing the cabins of its 777-200ER fleet, and building out Asia service with what it has to work with: DFW and LAX. The industry's experience after 9/11 and the run up to AMR's eventual bankruptcy filing ten years later coincide with American Airlines passing the torch of being the industry's bell weather and market leader to Delta and since then, AA has not recovered it.
 
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DL757NYC
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 11:44 am

Give backs by the employees and bankruptcy
 
Miamiairport
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 11:47 am

9/11 put cost cutting (read taking away more and more from coach flyers) on a fast track. Within a couple of years meals were gone, blankets and pillows in coach, etc. Then came the charging for what used to be in the ticket price-2 checked bags, seat selection, etc. Load factors quickly went from the 60%-70% range to 80% or more as carriers slashed schedules and parked a/c. Ultimately all of these changes would have come about with the introduction of the ULCC, 9/11 just sped up the change.

In 2003 AA avoided bankruptcy by getting the unions to give up $1 billion through pay cuts but ultimately that was not enough. For years AA lived off the benefit that advance ticket sales does for cash flow. But only that can last so long. The other saving grace was the ability to sell miles to credit card companies, which today is the main driver of profitability for AA. Not flying planes.
 
by738
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 11:47 am

i'm not sure the general public singled out AA in the 9/11 events and so don't think there would have been a specific passenger avoidance of them which may have helped.
 
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jfklganyc
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 11:49 am

It was generally regarded as a lost decade for AMR and a mistake that they didnt file sooner.

I worked for them then. It felt like They were in a holding pattern running out of fuel, everyone else already diverted and were on their way to their destinations...AA was still trying to make it work without a diversion

And little America West took it all over. Simply amazing turn of events!
 
Lrockeagle
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 11:54 am

I hired on in ‘03. Coming from a financial family, I was furious that they didn’t go through bankruptcy with the other airlines and restructure and shed debt. It hurt the company in the long run to not do it.
And then the dark days of losing mainline in favor of 50-seat regionals. Talk about not listening to your customers.
Lrockeagle
14 years ago

I got $20 says AA takes their 787's with GE powerplants. Just a hunch. Any takers?
 
Ziyulu
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 11:58 am

In my opinion, 9/11 harmed the American people more than the physical assets lost. We have to endure sufferings well into the future due to that event. In my opinion, I still think it's an excuse for airlines to provide horrible service. Whenever I hear the excuse 9/11 made us cut costs, I want to throw up. Ordinary businesses all suffer tragic events, but to put it out to the consumers is just wrong.
 
VC10er
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 12:01 pm

Due to the tragedy of 9/11, how long did the slump basically last?

I was doing a lot of flying back then, and it didn’t slow me down- I was on a JFK to GRU flight just after flying resumed. It’s been 17 years so I don’t recall if aircraft were full or empty.

The AA A300 that crashed after take off was shocking so soon after. And I recall talk of changing the livery then!

It wasn’t a good time for anyone- all businesses in NYC felt the the aftermath of 9/11, - I think everyone was in such a state of shock. But another strange thing was that real estate only dipped in Manhattan for about a month or two before bouncing right back.

I don’t have a clue why they didn’t declare bankruptcy. I do recall begging my financial advisor to buy $2000 worth of UAL stock after they finally emerged. He refused and said “they will liquidate and you’ll lose it all”- I said “they can’t they are too big. He didn’t buy and today I’d have been rich. Perhaps AA stock price may have still held value?
To Most the Sky is The Limit, For me, the Sky is Home.
 
Miamiairport
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:54 pm

People forget how close both UA and particularly US came to liquidation. Remember the 2004 PHL Christmas meltdown when it took days and weeks for US to sort out a sizable number of lost bags. IIRC what saved US then was an injection from Airbus with US agreeing to be the launch customer of the A350. Not only was then future AA not the launch customer they ultimately cancelled the A350 order. Given US's large Airbus fleet, Airbus had a keen interest in keeping them in business. About a year later came the America West merger, the eventual salvation of US.

A comment was made about cost cutting. Yes many businesses suffered in the days following by quickly recovered-in part from dirt cheap money courtesy of the Fed. The airline industry briefly began to recover in 2002 but soon faltered again. Cost cutting of the pax experience became permanent as well as monetizing of certain services such as bags and seat selections. Also the great mergers began with the DOJ allowing the mega mergers to occur. Hubs were de-hubbed or downsized. Airlines began to laser focus on load factors.

AA during that decade had a command hub at MIA. Today AA has been impacted by more competition at MIA not to mention up the road at FLL.
 
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ssteve
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:54 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
Is the OP familiar with the $4.3 Billion in direct payments to carriers, and further $10 Billion in loan guarantees (little used, ultimately) that was available to U.S. passenger and cargo carriers?

https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-04-725R


That bailout happened during a bailouts-and-deficits-okay administration, per the GOP rulebook. It was only the subsequent administration, and deeper crisis, where bailouts became anathema, so we remember those.
 
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chunhimlai
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:02 pm

In short: chapter 11
 
drdisque
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:35 pm

N649DL wrote:
US was actually the airline that almost got liquidated in the mid-2000s saved by America West. AA and UA held on for various reasons mostly because they had the network, stable relationships with creditors, and just big names in general. AA really went through a big transition in and around 2011 which IIRC was the first time they filed as a corporation. UA did the same in the mid-2000s to save face and eventually merge with CO. Both UA and AA had huge assets that couldn't be ignored either way.


UA had been out of bankruptcy for several years when they merged with CO.
 
Cointrin330
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:49 pm

N649DL wrote:
US was actually the airline that almost got liquidated in the mid-2000s saved by America West. AA and UA held on for various reasons mostly because they had the network, stable relationships with creditors, and just big names in general. AA really went through a big transition in and around 2011 which IIRC was the first time they filed as a corporation. UA did the same in the mid-2000s to save face and eventually merge with CO. Both UA and AA had huge assets that couldn't be ignored either way.


US Airways indeed almost liquidated in 2004. The merger with America West prevented that and most of the legacy US Airways management were replaced with HP management, many of which today remain in key roles at AA. UA did not file to "save face". They filed for Chapter 11 because they had no choice. United Airlines had been one of the most grossly mismanaged companies for years, with acrimonious labor-management relations that came to head in the summer of 2000 when the company and the ALPA renegotiated contracts which led to UA paying its pilots more than any other major US carrier at the time. UA entered the post-9/11 period with a very weak balance sheet, extremely high costs, and filed CH11 in 2002. The filing had nothing to do with the merger with CO. UA's then CEO Glenn Tilton was focused on positioning UA for a turnaround through a merger, with anyone, really. He had his sights on CO. UA and US had contemplated a merger in the late 1990s / early 2000s but the proposal was quashed due to several antitrust considerations including UA and US control over Washington DC's airports and market share.

UA and CO did not engage in merger talks until much later, and well after UA emerged from Chapter 11, which was in 2006. The first signs of alignment were in 2008 when CO left SkyTeam as a consequence of the DL/NW merger and joined Star Alliance. The merger of UA and CO did not happen until 2010.
 
AAtakeMeAway
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:00 pm

People that think AA's bad now must not have been around during this time period. Flying AA in the years following 9/11 was dreadful:
Unhappy and disgruntled FA's (still an issue now, but at least there have been some fresh hires added to the mix since then that seems to have helped IMO)
Tired and dated aircraft
Tired and dated Admirals Clubs with little complimentary offerings compared to Today.

Don't get me wrong, AA is still a hot mess, but nothing compared to that time period IMO.
 
PhilMcCrackin
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:03 pm

chunhimlai wrote:
In short: chapter 11


Chapter 11 had NOTHING to do with it and AA didn't file for bk until over a decade after 9/11.

AA was actually doing fairly well before 9/11 averaging over $1B/year in profit from 98-00 with $5B+ in current assets on hand at the end of 2000. They had a fairly large warchest built up which allowed them to weather much of the post-9/11 downturn.
 
Detroit313
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:06 pm

It was the largest and strongest airline in the US and had a decent amount of cash on the side. Unlike most other US airlines that were a complete disaster and had no money in the bank.
 
Ezra
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:21 pm

Cointrin330 wrote:

Merging with US made AA that much bigger, yes, but it did not inherit a route map sufficiently well structured to optimize revenue.


Out of curiosity...who would have made a better viable merger partner for AA? A combination with DL or UA would have controlled too much market share to pass regulatory scrutiny; a merger with CO would have over-concentrated in Texas; a merger with NW would have over-concentrated in the Midwest. Was there ever a real alternative to US?
 
Cointrin330
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:22 pm

Ezra wrote:
Cointrin330 wrote:

Merging with US made AA that much bigger, yes, but it did not inherit a route map sufficiently well structured to optimize revenue.


Out of curiosity...who would have made a better viable merger partner for AA? A combination with DL or UA would have controlled too much market share to pass regulatory scrutiny; a merger with CO would have over-concentrated in Texas; a merger with NW would have over-concentrated in the Midwest. Was there ever a real alternative to US?


Depends on how you look at it. While some point to the US/HP merger in 2005 as the beginnings of airline consolidation in the US, it's more likely that the DL/NW merger was the game changer. Although panned when it was announced, it was really well executed and out of it emerged a really strong industry leader. NW was therefore not an option for AA at that point. While UA and CO were dancing, there were discussions of a combination between AA and CO. Yes, Texas would have a been a problem, and further divestiture in the NYC market would have been a requirement but it wasn't completely off the table.

I'd argue AA could have, and maybe should have, gone for B6 and to some extent, I think it still can. I'd also have considered AS thrown in. Would have made AA much stronger in NYC and given AA the solution to growing organically there, and the MIA/FLL overlap would have been a bit easier to deal with than DFW/IAH. A B6/AS combination would have been complicated, but would also have given AA more market share in the transcon market and the ability to build out LAX at lesser cost while knocking out some competition there. The NYC market, despite its operational challenges and problematic airports, remains the richest (in terms of revenue, not people) revenue pool in the country. They could have cut a deal with WN for FLL or simply put it in play. Instead, with US, AA got a management team that has trouble executing, hubs that required (and still do) fine tuning (PHX, PHL specifically), though CLT was a strategically important add, and a network that is still being ironed out.

US was at the time, probably the only choice to get bigger, which is what AA needed: scale to compete with a larger DL and UA. It just wasn't the best merger partner.
 
MR27122
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:37 pm

by738 wrote:
i'm not sure the general public singled out AA in the 9/11 events and so don't think there would have been a specific passenger avoidance of them which may have helped.


+1. 9/11 was, & remains, "commercial airliners" being weaponized for purposes of----what were very successful---targeted attacks upon USA Financial & Gov Institutions. AA & UA were in essence "victimized" but not perceived by the public to be "at fault" in any regard. It was more the "airline industry" & the realization that security was totally lax & thus the origins of the TSA. The reporting after 9/11 referred to "Flight 11" vs. "American Flight 11". Personally the most potent quote from the 9/11 Commission in regards to preparedness, intelligence, & how could this happen...remains..."9/11 was a... failure of imagination". Flight Deck access was = to doors to the bathroom. Hijackings---US & Globally---were very rare (i.e. no more "Take me to Cuba!!) & training was "fully comply".

#587 was extremely unfortunate. The immediate assumption---due to it being NYC & the 11th day of November was "terrorism". The reality crystallized very quickly when the tail as found fully intact floating in Jamaica Bay. I'm probably going to get flamed---but the "timing" of #587 kinda favored AA. The Country was still in shock, the Trade Center crater was still "smoking", & anthrax was a huge concern....the Country's posture was "What Next???". Also, sorrow was giving way to significant public "want" for retaliation for 9/11. Again, #587 was extremely unfortunate---but it faded very quickly from the "news cycle" that was Terrorism 24/7 when it became clear that it was Pilot/Mechanical Fault. Albeit, perhaps for many citizens it was---and remains---an act of terror (i.e. Those fellow-citizens who follow Fishing.net or Basketweaving.net & are not immersed or interested in aviation)

AA Mngmt made a failed decision not to go Chap 11 when every competitor---except SW(?)---had gone into re-organization (9/11 was an EXCEPTIONAL UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCE). Lastly---AA's "strategy" via the TW purchase vaporized after 9/11. AA saw STL as a "relief valve" to ORD congestion & the intent was to further fortify the STL hub.

Finally----US was probably the most severely---unintended consequences---impacted carrier post 9/11. DCA, unlike other major airports----was shuttered for like 1-1.5(?) MONTHS after 9/11. Ultimately, the airline (AA) that opted to defy reason & not go Chap 11 & the airline that was probably most $$$ impacted by 9/11 (US) became the only 2 "dance partners" left the others had already consolidated.

EDIT: DCA was closed for 23 days post 9/11 https://www.wnyc.org/story/285294-the-n ... after-911/ )
Last edited by MR27122 on Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:49 pm, edited 3 times in total.
 
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N717TW
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:45 pm

Cointrin330 wrote:

UA and CO did not engage in merger talks until much later, and well after UA emerged from Chapter 11, which was in 2006. The first signs of alignment were in 2008 when CO left SkyTeam as a consequence of the DL/NW merger and joined Star Alliance. The merger of UA and CO did not happen until 2010.


There was no talk of a UA (or AA) merger with CO because NW owned a "golden share" that prevented a merger without a huge expense to NW. The golden share provision dissolved after the DL/NW merger occurred and that in turn freed CO to pursue merger partners. Interestingly enough that CO/NW arrangement came about to prevent a hostile bid by DL for CO in the 90s.

I guess I might be the only person here who thinks that AA trying to prevent a trip to bankruptcy is noble. It seems that preserving your obligation to debt holders, to shareholders and your bargained-for deals with employees isn't respected. While UA, DL and NW all ran to bankruptcy and canceled or froze their pensions and dumped obligations their leadership had signed for.

Of course, it should be noted that AA did no favors to anyone from TWA. While it might have seemed that TWA folks were saved by joining AA over other possible suiters, AA and its various unions rushed to staple the most senior folks to the bottom of the list and then dump nearly everyone right after 9/11. MCI MX held on for a few years and a small handful of STL based folks stayed until the hub was fully closed in '08. Only the pilot base held on. The silver lining is that McCaskill-Bond will prevent the stapling move again.
 
Miamiairport
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:55 pm

IIRC there was 2 rounds of UA/US merger talks, both went nowhere. I can't remember if the second round was after the failed take over attempt of DL. Remember the slogan let DL be DL. Initially the announcement of an unfriendly merger with AA looked bleak. But Parker sold the unions and by then the DOJ could have cared less about antitrust other than some token requirements with DCA and maybe LGA.

It's thought that NW/AA would have been a great merger but at that time AA was in no financial shape to take on a merger. Arpey was desperately trying to get the unions to allow for productivity changes and other give backs but they weren't having any of it and Arpey refused to back up his threats. Ultimately the BOD declared bankruptcy and out went Arpey. Parker then saw his chance to pull off the deal of the century.
 
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ClassicLover
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 7:12 pm

N717TW wrote:
I guess I might be the only person here who thinks that AA trying to prevent a trip to bankruptcy is noble. It seems that preserving your obligation to debt holders, to shareholders and your bargained-for deals with employees isn't respected. While UA, DL and NW all ran to bankruptcy and canceled or froze their pensions and dumped obligations their leadership had signed for.

Of course, it should be noted that AA did no favors to anyone from TWA. While it might have seemed that TWA folks were saved by joining AA over other possible suiters, AA and its various unions rushed to staple the most senior folks to the bottom of the list and then dump nearly everyone right after 9/11. MCI MX held on for a few years and a small handful of STL based folks stayed until the hub was fully closed in '08. Only the pilot base held on. The silver lining is that McCaskill-Bond will prevent the stapling move again.


I am glad someone finally said it. I thought the whole point of running a business was to avoid Chapter 11 and run a proper business and meet your obligations. Clearly many people seem to be of the belief that it is just some handy thing to use when the going gets tough - oh look, everyone else is filing, we should too! I was always pleased AA were not filing in a me too way.

I also agree regarding the TWA folk, but that's a whole other thread (and actually has been!).
I do enjoy a spot of flying, especially when it's not in economy!
 
LAXffDUB
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 7:13 pm

Very soon after 09/11 they seemed to shut down nearly every city ticket office. The few that remained were downsized dramatically. Friends who worked in them were told the company was "hemorrhaging money" and drastic action was needed.

As a side note; I flew out of ORD right after service resumed. The terminal was like a set for "the Twilight Zone"; I found myself walking the main concourse all alone during what should have been a peak time. My flight was on an MD-80 with 4 passengers. The return leg a week later wasn't much better. It left me wondering if they would survive.
 
PhilMcCrackin
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 7:17 pm

MR27122 wrote:
by738 wrote:
i'm not sure the general public singled out AA in the 9/11 events and so don't think there would have been a specific passenger avoidance of them which may have helped.


#587 was extremely unfortunate. The immediate assumption---due to it being NYC & the 11th day of November was "terrorism". The reality crystallized very quickly when the tail as found fully intact floating in Jamaica Bay. I'm probably going to get flamed---but the "timing" of #587 kinda favored AA. The Country was still in shock, the Trade Center crater was still "smoking", & anthrax was a huge concern....the Country's posture was "What Next???". Also, sorrow was giving way to significant public "want" for retaliation for 9/11. Again, #587 was extremely unfortunate---but it faded very quickly from the "news cycle" that was Terrorism 24/7 when it became clear that it was Pilot/Mechanical Fault. Albeit, perhaps for many citizens it was---and remains---an act of terror (i.e. Those fellow-citizens who follow Fishing.net or Basketweaving.net & are not immersed or interested in aviation)


Absolutely.

It was one of the worst plane crashes in US history by bodycount, but people largely forgot about it after terrorism was ruled out.
 
PhilMcCrackin
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Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 7:24 pm

N717TW wrote:
Of course, it should be noted that AA did no favors to anyone from TWA. While it might have seemed that TWA folks were saved by joining AA over other possible suiters, AA and its various unions rushed to staple the most senior folks to the bottom of the list and then dump nearly everyone right after 9/11. MCI MX held on for a few years and a small handful of STL based folks stayed until the hub was fully closed in '08. Only the pilot base held on. The silver lining is that McCaskill-Bond will prevent the stapling move again.


The other option was for them to be out on the street because TW didn't have enough cash on hand to make the next payroll when AA stepped in.

I saw it firsthand living in STL at the time and had family members that lost their jobs in it, but beggers can't be choosers. They were fortunate AA swooped in and gave them a few more years of employment. Keep in mind, the first large drawdown of STL didn't happen until November 2003 and was largely precipitated by 9/11, which couldn't have been forseen.
 
FGITD
Posts: 473
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 1:44 pm

Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 7:57 pm

MR27122 wrote:

#587 was extremely unfortunate. The immediate assumption---due to it being NYC & the 11th day of November was "terrorism". The reality crystallized very quickly when the tail as found fully intact floating in Jamaica Bay. I'm probably going to get flamed---but the "timing" of #587 kinda favored AA. The Country was still in shock, the Trade Center crater was still "smoking", & anthrax was a huge concern....the Country's posture was "What Next???". Also, sorrow was giving way to significant public "want" for retaliation for 9/11. Again, #587 was extremely unfortunate---but it faded very quickly from the "news cycle" that was Terrorism 24/7 when it became clear that it was Pilot/Mechanical Fault.



I think this is one aspect that is often lost upon those who weren't in the US at the time, or were perhaps too young.

Almost any other year and AA587 would have been one of the top stories of the year. An AA widebody going down just outside JFK due to pilot error? Huge.

But in November 2001 plane crashes (though be they intentional attacks) had become part of the nightly news cycle. In a way, I think 587 almost brought on a sigh of relief, that at least THIS one wasn't terrorism. At the time you couldn't go a day without seeing video of one of those planes going into a building or the smoldering field.

I also agree that the use of "flight ____" massively helped the airlines. It took them out of the equation. It was an American or United plane, crew and passengers...but On people's minds, it was a flight, regardless of who's it was. Didn't matter what company.

Interesting to note too that the one airline name used is on the heroic flight. United 93.
 
MR27122
Posts: 105
Joined: Sat May 06, 2017 3:00 am

Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:35 pm

[/quote]...But in November 2001 plane crashes (though be they intentional attacks) had become part of the nightly news cycle. In a way, I think 587 almost brought on a sigh of relief, that at least THIS one wasn't terrorism. At the time you couldn't go a day without seeing video of one of those planes going into a building or the smoldering field.

Interesting to note too that the one airline name used is on the heroic flight. United 93.[/quote]


That's a really-really-really interesting & logical comment. I fully agree that when it was realized #587 was 100% an accident, it was indeed a "RELIEF". A true "sign of the time" that a loaded AA A300 crashing 4-5 mins after takeoff from JFK was a "story" that literally went only 3-5 news-cycles re: coverage. In the NYC area, the region-wide response to the crash was covered almost equally to the crash itself....naturally it being 11/11 & "the hole" (or was it "pit") where the Trade Center stood still smoldering equated to an immediate "here we go again" fear & fantastical response "everywhere" by first-responder's in fear of the worst.

You're totally right....never really gave it much thought...but United 93 is the only flight that was nearly always prefaced by the name of the airline 'cause it didn't hit whatever it's intended target was due to the heroics of the pax's. I don't think it's ever been revealed----if indeed it was discovered---what United 93's intended target was (I don't wanna get too off thread topic)...I always thought it had to be the Capital Building. 9/11, when it's simply looked at as an attack wherein "Was the objective accomplished, and if so how successfully"---was 75% "total success" & the "only" failure was United 93 (i.e. a "failure" on 9/11 = a United Airlines 757 that was deliberately crashed on US soil resulting in the loss of everybody on board). Those who aren't "old enough" should contemplate that fact & they'll realize how upside down terrible & fearsome the wake of 9/11 was & kinda remains....
 
Austin787
Posts: 388
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2016 11:39 pm

Re: How did AA Survive 9/11 and 587 Crash?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 11:19 pm

In the early 2000s, AA attempted to restructure without filing bankruptcy. It was somewhat successful, as AA was back to posting profits in 2006. It wasn't enough for AA to withstand the spike in oil in 2008 and then the Great Recession which followed. But I'm not sure anyone could have foreseen those two shocks.

Ezra wrote:
a merger with NW would have over-concentrated in the Midwest. Was there ever a real alternative to US?

NW was probably the best alternative to US. AA/NW would have a balanced international network with Asia, Latin America, and Europe well represented. True, AA/NW would have heavy concentration in the Midwest, but so did DL/NW.

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