The proposed merger of American Airlines and US Airways has been approved by a judge in the United States.
The decision, which had to be approved by a judge following American Airlines’ decision to enter bankruptcy protection in November 2011, moves the two companies one step closer to forming the largest carrier in the world.
The deal was first announced in February and needs approval by the Justice Department and US Airways shareholders.
However, both are expected to back the deal before the end of the year.
“The merger is an excellent result. I don’t think anybody disputes that,” said Judge Sean Lane.
While loss-making American Airlines has spent the past 14 months protected from its creditors, US Airways has been profitable in recent years.
The two combined airlines will have 6,700 daily flights and annual revenue of roughly £26.5 billion.
The majority of the merged company will be owned by American Airlines’ creditors.
Its chief executive will be the current US Airways boss, Doug Parker.