One of the biggest reasons they filed bankruptcy was because of the old style pension the pilots had that was very costly and outdated. The old style defined "benefits" plans are a thing of the past. Most have been frozen (discontinued). In place of that is the new defined "contribution" plans. The difference between the two is the shifting of the burden of funding for retirement on to the employee instead of the employer. The employer's liability is limited to the amount of contributions and does not include the risk of ROI in the contributions.
Having said all that, one of the reasons AMR file was to freeze the pension costs of the pilots that was killing them compared to the other airlines that went through bankruptcy and shed their defined benefits olans. AMR pilots are getting 10% of the new airline stock in place of their debt owed to the pension plan. Remove that liability, most likely the largest one on the balance sheet and you open the door now to having assets being more than liabilities and the shareholders getting something. That is my take on it. CTR