Four days in February appeared to turn the tide for American Airlines, a carrier that has "persevered through a lot," in the words of CFO Tom Horton. In less than a week, American saved its alliance with Japan Airlines, avoided a major challenge at New York LaGuardia, applied for a trans-Pacific joint venture and won preliminary approval for a similar effort across the Atlantic. After a decade of "challenges for the industry and challenges for the company," American was ready for some good news, Horton says. "It has been through sheer grit and hard work that we avoided bankruptcy, raised a lot of money last year and got fleet renewal on track, and now the alliances are on track," he says.

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