The $11 billion merger between American Airlines and US Airways was cleared for takeoff by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, which today approved the airlines' antitrust settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, six states and the District of Columbia.
The court also ruled that the merger may be consummated even though a private antitrust lawsuit filed by San Francisco attorneys Joseph Alioto and David Cook is pending, according to a news release by American parent corporation AMR Corp. The case is being overseen by Judge Sean Lane.
Lead bankruptcy counsel Weil Gotshal & Manges today filed a notice with the bankruptcy court that the companies plan to complete the merger by Dec. 9.
AMR Corp. filed for Chapter 11 protection in 2011. Other law firms working on the bankruptcy include Haynes and Boone; Debevoise & Plimpton; Foley & Lardner; Paul Hastings; and the Groom Law Group.
The airlines struck a deal with the Antitrust Division on Nov. 12, agreeing to give up takeoff and landing slots and gates at seven major airports, including Washington Reagan National, where the combined airlines would have controlled 69 percent of the flights. Those slots are to be sold to low-cost carriers approved by the government, such as JetBlue and Southwest.
The proposed settlement is open to public comment from Dec. 9 to Feb. 7 and must still be approved by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. However, the parties are free to close the deal prior to final approval.