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American, Delta, United - We Have Cash, We Want Higher Valuations

With $9.6 billion on hand at the end of the third quarter, American Airlines (AAL - Get Report) has more cash than it needs and it's looking for the best way to spend what it has.

"We have more cash than we need at this point in time," American Chief Financial Officer Derek Kerr said Monday at a Chicago investor conference. "As we complete integration milestones, we'll continue to lower (it)."

American's outlook is a sign of the airline industry's continuing transformation to investment worthy, which was a general theme of presentations Monday by the finance chief from the big three carriers.

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The three are at different stages. Delta (DAL - Get Report) feels it is close to securing investment-grade debt ratings, American is completing a merger, and United (UAL - Get Report) wants to catch up to Delta and American.

Must Read: Delta Had a Good October -- So Why Don't Investors Care?

In the third quarter, American...