FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Nearly 40,000 employees at American Airlines have retired early, cut hours or gone on leave.

The head of the Fort Worth-based airline however, said Wednesday he believes the worst is behind them.

Also, bankruptcy for the company is not an option.

“I don’t think you should view bankruptcy as a finance tool. I think that’s failure. I think our job is to preserve shareholder value. And that’s what we’re going to do. That’s what we’ve done since we’ve been working here. That’s what we’re going to do. We don’t look at that as an option,” said CEO Doug Parker.

American Airlines is still just flying one out of every five aircraft that they would have taking off on a normal schedule. But Parker said they were more than half full over the holiday weekend.

And things are continuing to look up over the next month.

The metroplex is key to the airline’s recovery, according to Parker. And travel just within the United States is also important. Parker isn’t sure when business travelers are going to come back. And he isn’t sure if average travelers are going to be all the way back by next summer.

Parker said you will see the airline continue to figure out how to keep it cost down, until passenger numbers go up. That will mean fewer flights for a while, almost as if you did take an entire large airline out of the skies.