Judge to rule on airline merger

A bankruptcy judge is expected to rule on a deal reached by the Department of Justice and US Airways and American Airlines about their proposed merger this week, the Dallas Morning-News reports.

The Justice Department and the airlines reached a deal earlier this month to allow the companies to proceed with their proposed combination, which was first announced in February.

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The agreement calls for US Air and American to give up 54 pairs of flights at Washington, D.C.’s Ronald Reagan National Airport and another 17 routes at New York’s LaGuardia Airport. The combined airline will also have to maintain hub operations at airports in Dallas, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Miami and Charlotte for at least three years.

American Airlines was in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings when it announced its plans to merge with US Air, necessitating a judge’s approval that the deal with the Justice Department will satisfying American’s original creditors.

Having won the Obama administration’s imprimatur, the US Air-American merger is widely expected to be allowed to move forward.

If the merger is successful, the airlines will become the fifth and sixth major companies in the aviation industry to combine forces in recent years. US Air and American are following a trend that began with combinations between Delta and Northwest airlines, United and Continental and Southwest and AirTran Airways.

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