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Jim Butler, the much-liked chief at American Airlines Cargo, is to rise higher in the organisation, in a move that will leave many in the air cargo business sad to see him go.

AA has appointed Mr Butler senior vice president for international and cargo, following Art Torno’s decision to step down in April, following 38 years with the carrier.

There is no word as yet on Mr Butler’s replacement as head of the cargo division.

Mr Butler – whose own tenure at the carrier is no flash in the pan, having more than two decades under his belt – moves up from his position as president of cargo, a role he has held since 2013.

He has been credited with integrating the cargo division into the carrier, and in 21 years has worked across sales, marketing and finance as well as holding postings overseas in London and Buenos Aires.

Kerry Philipovitch, senior vice president for customer experience, who Mr Butler will report to, described the appointment as the ideal way to build on Mr Torno’s legacy.

“As the leader of American Airlines Cargo, Jim understands the importance and the value of our unrivalled international network and the passion and enthusiasm of American’s people around the globe,” said Mr Philipovitch.

“Jim’s experience, leadership and commitment make him the ideal leader to build on Art’s legacy of supporting our fantastic global team and delivering the best experience to our international customers, while continuing his efforts to further the growth of our Cargo business.”

Mr Torno’s decision to step down follow his career as a one-carrier-man, having joined American in 1979 as a flight attendant, before working his way through the carrier’s leadership.

His CV includes stints as vice president New York, Caribbean and Latin America operations, before being appointed senior vice president of Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America in 2012.

He moved into the role he now vacates in 2015, from which time he was responsible for more than 400 daily flights across 110 destinations, as well as handling the carrier’s cargo business.

Chairman and chief executive Doug Parker described Mr Torno as instrumental in supporting AA’s people and strengthening its presence around the world.

“American Airlines is a better place because of Art Torno, and all of us who have worked with him are better people. We wish him the best in his well-deserved retirement,” added Mr Parker.

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