Airline merger close to complete

Sept. 11, 2005 at 9:36 PM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- Industry analysts say US Airways will likely receive approval this week to move forward with its planned merger with America West Airlines.

The deal would create the nation's largest budget airline.

Shareholders of America West Holdings Co. are expected to vote Tuesday on the planned merger at a meeting at the company's Tempe, Ariz., headquarters.

On Thursday, a bankruptcy court judge in Virginia is expected to hear final comments on US Airways' reorganization plan. The airline has been under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since 2004.

If the merger receives approval from America West shareholders and the bankruptcy court, as industry insiders expect, all that would remain is for the two airlines to finish the paperwork on the deal, the Washington Post reported.

J. Scott Kirby, America West's executive vice president of sales and marketing, told the newspaper the merged airline's first day of operation could come as early as Sept. 27.

The new airline would operate under the name US Airways and be led mostly by America West executives, including president and chief executive W. Douglas Parker.

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