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American, US Airways Boards Approve Merger

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After about a year of discussion, negotiation and speculation, the boards of directors of American Airlines and US Airways have independently voted in favor of a merger, according to a Wall Street Journal bulletin (subscription required). The new airline will end up being 72 percent owned by American Airlines' creditors and the rest by US Airways stockholders. US Airways CEO Doug Parker will assume that role at the new airline and American CEO Tom Horton will be the non-executive board chairman, the newspaper said. The merger will create the world's largest airline.

The merger, which has been in the works since soon after American went into bankruptcy protection in late 2011, would be the framework for the airline's plan to emerge from bankruptcy, something that would happen more than a year from now. What's more, the WSJ said most of the creditors would get their accounts settled and American shareholders might even get a little. A bankruptcy judge and federal anti-trust regulators have to sign off on it. In what might have been a show of optimism, American unveiled its new livery a month ago and it incorporates elements of the US Airways motif.

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