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The business of flying planes isn’t what it used to be. Between a troubled economy, post � 9/11 travel wariness, and now the bankruptcies that are plaguing airlines like severe weather, times are unusually bleak for the industry. But for Elizabeth Lanier, the new GC of US Airways, it’s the perfect moment to come aboard. “I love it,” says Lanier, a bankruptcy veteran. “It’s very exciting to be on the ground as part of the turnaround team.” Lanier, 51, joined the company in April, just days after it emerged from Chapter 11. Lanier filled the spot left vacant by former GC Michelle Bryan ["Top Guns," June 2002], who left the company in March, after a 20-year tenure with the carrier. Bryan held the top legal job for less than a year, and, according to the company, has now retired. In contrast to Bryan, who had a long, steady climb to GC � dom, Lanier took the controls without a day of experience at US Airways or any other airline. The challenges she faces, however, are not totally unfamiliar. First, there’s her experience with bankruptcy. In her previous position, as senior vice president and general counsel at New York � based Trizec Properties, Inc., Lanier helped usher the company out of bankruptcy. During Lanier’s one-year stay at Trizec, she handled some of the same postrestructuring tasks she now faces at US Airways: relisting securities on a stock exchange, helping establish a new board of directors, and dealing with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act’s new reporting requirements. Lanier is no stranger to working in a highly regulated industry. From 1996 to 1998, she served as vice president and chief of staff for Cinergy Corp., the Cincinnati utility company, and got plenty of practice piloting a company through storms of governmental red tape. But still, she has plenty to learn in her new job. “It’s a steep learning curve,” she admits. Aside from heading up the ten-person legal team, Lanier leads the company’s corporate affairs and security departments. Lanier gets a few corporate perks in her new gig, including free US Airways travel. But at this rate, it may be a while before she starts planning her next vacation.

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