American, US Airways merger clears another hurdle

A deal announced nine months ago to merge two of the nation's biggest carriers to create the world's largest airline has cleared another key hurdle.

The merger of American Airlines and US Airways received approval Wednesday from the U.S. bankruptcy court that had been overseeing the bankruptcy of American's parent company, AMR Corp.

The announcement comes two weeks after the airlines cleared another huge roadblock: They reached a settlement agreement to end an antitrust lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice.

In New York, Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane approved the merger, including the conditions set under the Justice Department settlement.

To settle the Justice Department's challenge, American and US Airways agreed to give up landing slots and gates at seven key airports, particularly at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and LaGuardia Airport.

AMR Corp. filed for bankruptcy in 2011 and announced last February plans to merge with US Airways to create the biggest airline based on the number of aircraft, employees and passengers.

The airlines announced that the merger plan will take effect Dec. 9, with the AMR Corp. adopting the new name American Airlines Group Inc. Its stock will be listed and traded on NASDAQ under the symbol AAL.

The airline will be called American Airlines but most of the top executives will come from US Airways, including the new chief executive Doug Parker, who now holds the same post for US Airways.

Still, airline officials say it may take several months, possibly a year or more, before the two airlines begin to operate as one.


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