Federal Judge Says Airline Merger Can Take Flight

American Airlines and U.S. Airways will merge, creating the world's largest airline

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Susan Walsh / AP

A federal bankruptcy judge has okayed American Airlines and U.S. Airways to complete their merger, which will create the world’s largest airline, the Associated Press reports.

The judge ruled on Wednesday that a settlement that took place this month of an antitrust lawsuit filed by the federal government did not affect American Airlines’ bankruptcy-reorganization plan, which includes the merger. He rejected an appeal by a group of consumers to temporarily block the deal.

The Justice Department had sued to block the merger in August, claiming that it would hurt competition and drive up prices. But the case was settled when American Airlines agreed to give up landing rights at key spots at Reagan National Airport near Washington, D.C. and LaGuardia Airport in New York City, among other airports.

American announced plans to complete the deal on Dec. 9. The new American Airlines will be slightly bigger than United Airlines. After the merger, four airlines — American, United, Delta and Southwest — will control 80% of the market.