Detroit313 wrote:Let's not pretend that Delta and United don't have a lot of debt either. 23-24 billion of debt is a lot of money. Not far behind AA and not with the young fleet AA has. By the end of the year it will be even higher for all of them.
US airlines file for bankruptcy all the time. All the legacy airlines have done it once or twice before already. It is an easy way to get out of difficult situations and cut costs.
If one of the legacy airlines does it, then the others will have to do it too. Otherwise the one that went through bankruptcy will have a big competitive advantage.
I'd say that US airlines only go through BK reluctantly and if there is no other path forward. Deciding to do so usually wipes out the very people making the decision to do so, since the executives are often paid in stock bonuses and options and thus are big shareholders. Given the BoD has representatives of large share holders, they too won't vote for BK willingly. Quite often the executives lose their jobs during BK or within a few months thereafter. It's often a career disaster for those in the C suite.
I think your last point may turn out to be true, but the devil's in the details. AA has the shortest rope. How much rope does UA and DL have before they chose to swing is going to be an interesting thing to see, potential cases for future business school textbooks.