* Current exclusive window set to end Jan. 28
* Creditors would be barred from proposing restructuring
* US Airways in effect blocked from making hostile bid
By Nick Brown
NEW YORK, Nov 30 American Airlines' bankrupt
parent has asked a judge to extend by six weeks, through March
11, the period in which it has the exclusive right to propose a
plan to exit bankruptcy.
The request, made jointly with its creditors' committee, was
filed on Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. The
current exclusive window is set to end on Jan. 28.
AMR Corp filed for bankruptcy a year ago in hopes
of reducing labor costs and returning to profitability.
Its smaller competitor, US Airways Group Inc, is
making a push to acquire it out of bankruptcy. AMR said earlier
this year it would prefer to exit as a standalone company, but
is discussing merger options, including with US Airways.
Friday's filing is a sign that discussions with creditors on
how to bring AMR out of bankruptcy are progressing
cooperatively, if a bit slower than initially expected.
"American and the (creditors' committee) believe that the
proposed extensions will facilitate the expedition of the
chapter 11 cases and benefit all parties in interest," the
Sean Collins, a spokesman for American, said in a statement
that the company "has made significant progress in its
"The work, while progressing well, takes time," he said.
The exclusivity period bars creditors and other parties from
proposing their own plans for how AMR should exit bankruptcy.
That effectively blocks US Airways from making a hostile
bid, as any merger plan unveiled during exclusivity would have
to be proposed by AMR itself.
AMR's pilots union, in the midst of bitter contract talks
with the company, supports a US Airways merger and called
Friday's extension request a sign that "things are proceeding in
a positive way."
"We assume that the strategic alternative talks, which
include US Airways, are functional," union spokesman Dennis
A hearing on the extension request is set for Dec. 19.
The case is In re AMR Corp et al, U.S. Bankruptcy Court,
Southern District of New York, No. 11-15463.