Judge moves airline merger step closer to takeoff

by David Koenig, Associated Press
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An American Airlines plane and a US Airways plane at parked at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

An American Airlines plane and a US Airways plane at parked at Washington’s Ronald Reagan National Airport. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

A federal bankruptcy judge is approving the settlement in the U.S. government’s antitrust lawsuit against American Airlines and US Airways, clearing the airlines to complete their merger early next month.

Judge Sean Lane ruled Wednesday in New York that the settlement didn’t upset American’s bankruptcy-reorganization plan, which he had already given conditional approval back in September.

The judge is also rejecting a move by a group of consumers to delay the merger while they pursue their own antitrust lawsuit against the airlines.

The ruling is not a surprise. American and US Airways hope to close their merger on Dec. 9 and create the world’s biggest airline, slightly larger than United or Delta.

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