American Airlines and US Airways have announced their intention to merge to create the largest US airline. The deal still needs to be approved by US antitrust regulators and a bankruptcy court.
The two airlines officially announced the plan on Thursday in Dallas. This came just hours after the boards of American Airlines' parent company, AMR Corp. and US Airways approved the deal.
Media reports said the new company would keep the name American Airlines - as parent company AMR Corp. will own 72 percent of the company - and be headquartered in American's Dallas-Fort Worth base in Texas. American's CEO, Tom Horton, is to serve as chairman of the new company until mid 2014, while US Airways CEO Doug Parker is to run it.
"The combined airline will have the scale, breadth and capabilities to compete more effectively and profitably in the global marketplace," Parker said in a statement on Thursday.
The $11 billion (8.25 billion euros) deal, which has been in the works since August, is one of a number of recent airline mergers designed to increase industry profitability that have left the US dominated by four major carriers.
Since 2008, Delta has absorbed Northwest, United has bought Continental and Southwest has taken over AirTran Airways. The new American deal would give those four major airlines around three-quarters of US airline traffic.
By merging, the two carriers expect to save an annual $1 billion in operating costs.
Not counting regional affiliates, the new company would have more than 900 planes, 3,200 daily flights and around 95,000 employees, making it slightly larger than United by passenger traffic.
American has been under bankruptcy protection since November 2011, and antitrust regulators and a US bankruptcy court must approve the deal for it to become official.
dr,pfd/ccp (AP, AFP)