PHOENIX (AP) _ The chairman and chief executive of America West Airlines' parent company, who helped lead the airline out of bankruptcy, will retire at the end of 2002 after a decade at the helm, an airline spokeswoman said Friday.

The decision by America West Holdings Corp. CEO William Franke, who is also chairman and CEO of the airline, is tied to the end of his contract in December 2002.

Franke's contract had been extended several times, most recently last year, allowing Franke to groom airline president Douglas Parker, 39, as his successor.

``One of the goals I have is to leave this airline with a management team that can run it in the way you'd be proud of and I'd be proud of,'' Franke told The Arizona Republic.

America West Airlines spokeswoman Janice Monahan said she did not know what title Parker would hold after the transition.

Franke has led America West since 1992 when then-Gov. Fife Symington asked him to raise $15 million in financing from local companies to help save the Tempe-based airline and its 10,000 jobs. The company emerged from bankruptcy protection in 1994.

America West is the nation's ninth-largest airline with more than 900 daily flights serving 92 destinations in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

In midday trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange, America West shares were of 34 cents at $10.26.