AMR Corporation, the parent company that owns American Airlines, has filed for bankruptcy protection. The announcement follows what can only be characterized as a disastrous stretch for the US carrier, posting yearly losses of $471 Million and taking a 79% hit on its stock price. A costly, on-going labor dispute between management and pilots is widely cited as the cause of American's woes. Stretching from 2006, talks recently broke down earlier in November when the Allied Pilots Association, the union representing American captains, refused to take a vote on a proposed contract. Thomas Horton, who is taking over the helm of AMR Corp. following CEO George Arpey's departure, claims American faces an $800 million cost disadavantage compared to other airlines when it comes to labor expenses. Also contributing to American's slide is its outdated squadron of planes, which gobble up expensive fuel. The carrier will proceed with a $38 billion aircraft upgrade, despite its Chapter 11 announcement. American has taken heat in recent years over its lucrative executive bonuses, a point that is bound to resurface as AMR struggles to restructure its finances. Top brass received $6.5 million in bonuses in 2009 alone, a year during which the company lost $375 million in its first quarter. American's fate, as well as what kind of impact passenger's might feel, is still unclear. The nation's top two airlines, like Delta and United, have gone onto flourish after filing bankruptcy, however, they were aided by mergers with other carriers (Northwest and Continental, respectively). American Airlines merged with the now-defunct TWA in 2001, but was hit hard in the economic aftermath of the September 11th attacks.