Heavy Weather At American

Can the embattled airline make peace with the pilots' union before it goes on strike?

Robert L. Crandall, chief executive of AMR Corp., was stunned when pilots at American Airlines Inc. rejected a tentative contract on Jan. 8 by an overwhelming vote. A gloomy and frustrated Crandall was still fuming days later, insiders say. "He's just in his enraged state," says one. Crandall and President Donald J. Carty quickly sent a dire message to the pilots in a letter dated Jan. 10 that said: "For the first time in many years, we fear for the future of our company."

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