AMR seeks more time to file bankruptcy plan

Thu Mar 8, 2012 7:58pm EST

* American Airlines parent seeks 6-month extension

* "Exclusivity" period would run to Sept. 28

* AMR filed for Chapter 11 protection in November

March 8 (Reuters) - The parent of American Airlines on Thursday asked a federal bankruptcy judge to extend by six months the period in which it has the exclusive right to file a reorganization plan.

Thursday's request by AMR Corp to extend the "exclusivity" period to Sept. 28 was expected, and came one day after the Fort Worth, Texas-based company proposed to freeze pensions for many of its workers, retreating from a proposal to terminate them.

AMR's initial exclusivity period was just 120 days, and the law allows courts to grant extensions up to but not beyond 18 months after a Chapter 11 filing. Thereafter, others may file competing plans. AMR filed for court protection last Nov. 29.

"The relief requested will allow American to continue focusing on preserving and enhancing going concern values and restructuring American's financial condition and operations," AMR said in a filing with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Manhattan.

Such a restructuring would help "achieve a competitive and sustainable cost structure and, thus, achieve the objectives of chapter 11 -- a successful rehabilitation," AMR added.

A March 22 hearing on the request has been scheduled.

American is the 3rd-largest of the so-called U.S. legacy carriers, after United Continental Holdings Inc and Delta Air Lines Inc.

Delta, smaller rival US Airways Group Inc and private equity firm TPG Capital have been studying whether to bid for AMR, people familiar with the matter have said.

The case is In re: AMR Corp, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No. 11-15463.

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