American Airlines' bankruptcy to have ripple effect on DFW

Bernard Weinstein, economist at SMU's Cox School of Business, talks about American Airlines' bankruptcy.

By Jim Fuquay

When American Airlines' parent, AMR Corp., filed its bankruptcy petition Tuesday, it started a wave of uncertainty that will spread through the North Texas economy, from the fate of more than 24,000 area workers, to its presence at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, to the millions in taxes it pays to local governments.

But experts say the effect will probably be more like a ripple than a tsunami.

Economists, academics who study the aviation business and industry consultants are relatively unworried about how the airline's Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization will affect the broader Fort Worth-Arlington economy and the airport in particular.

"Right now, the answer is, 'We don't know,'" said economist Bud Weinstein, a longtime observer of the area economy and director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

"In the short term, we're not going to see any effect," he said. "Longer term, American's economic impact in the region is likely to be smaller a year from now than it is today."

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