American, US Airways Announce $11 Billion Merger

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Travelers on American and US Airways won’t notice immediate changes. It likely will be months before the frequent-flier programs are combined and years before the two airlines are fully integrated.

The companies had negotiated since August, when creditors pushed AMR to conduct merger talks so they could decide which earned them a better return: a merger or an independent American.

The deal would need approval by AMR’s bankruptcy judge and antitrust regulators, who have permitted three other big airline mergers to go ahead since 2008.

The rapid consolidation has allowed the surviving airlines to offer bigger route networks that appeal to high-paying business travelers. And it has allowed them to limit the supply of seats, which helps prop up fares and airline profits.

The new American would have more than 900 planes, 3,200 daily flights and about 95,000 employees, not counting regional affiliates. It will be slightly bigger than United Airlines by passenger traffic, not counting regional affiliate airlines.

The new airline will keep all of American’s and US Airways’ hubs.

The companies said the new board of directors will have 12 members: Three from American, including Horton; four from US Airways, including Parker; and five appointed by American’s creditors.

AMR shareholders are poised to get a 3.5 percent stake in the new airline, the companies said. That’s unusual because equity holders typically get wiped out in a Chapter 11 proceeding.

The companies said it’s too soon to know where the new airline’s operations center, reservations, flight training, maintenance and crew bases will be.

Shares of US Airways rose 17 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $14.66 in premarket trading.

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