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American Airlines Cleared To Depart From Bankruptcy, Merge With US Airways

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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – American Airlines and US Airways will become the world’s largest airline as early as Monday, December 9th, when they hope to merge.

Bankruptcy court judge Sean Lane in New York gave his approval during a hearing Wednesday morning, nearly two years to the day after American first filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Based in Fort Worth, with its largest hub at DFW International Airport, travelers we spoke with say they believe the merger will be good for consumers.

DeVone Stanfield says, “I think this move is going to give the same kind of benefits that other mergers provided which basically is to make the airlines up their game if you will.”

A group of 40 travel agents and business travelers disagree, and tried to get the judge to temporarily block the merger until after their antitrust lawsuit went to trial.

But the judge rejected the request, saying there was no evidence the merger would harm them.

The Justice Department already settled its antitrust lawsuit against the airlines.

As part of the agreement, the combined airline will have to sell two gates at Dallas Love Field and other airports including Boston Logan, Chicago O’Hare, Miami International, and LAX.

The combined airline will also have to give up coveted take-offs and landings at LaGuardia Airport in New York City and Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC which have limited slots.

American and US Airways say they need to join forces so they can compete against United and Delta Airlines, which were allowed to merge years ago.

Tom Parsons of Bestfares.com says the merger won’t have any impact right away on airfares.

He says as always, the airlines will still launch airfare sales so they can sell seats during the slow season.

“We’re going to see tons of bargains from American. Look at the deals now, they’re selling LA for $176, Baltimore for $149, not for this weekend, but next weekend. and you know why, they’re doing that, there’s nothing going on.”

While the new American will be one company, both American and US Airways will, for now, continue to operate as two different airlines.

The airlines say it will take up to two years to completely merge into one.

They hope to officially launch the new American January 7th.

In a statement Wednesday, spokesman Mike Trevino said, “The new American will compete on a global scale with a network that benefits our people, our customers and the communities we serve.”

On the stock market, AAL will replace AMR, and it will be listed and traded on the NASDAQ.

The merger will bring a change in leadership.

Current US Airways CEO Doug Parker will become the new American’s CEO.

Tom Horton, current CEO for American Airlines, will become the Chairman of the Board of Directors for about one year, when Parker will also assume that role.

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