Merger plans between AMR-owned American Airlines and US Airways have gained approval from a judge in charge of AMR’s bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy judge Sean Lane called the merger “an excellent result”.

The deal to create one of the world’s biggest airlines by passenger numbers is now expected to be completed in the third quarter the year, provided that competition regulators raise no serious objections.

But the judge refused to approve a pay deal for AMR chief executive Tom Horton, which would award him $19.9 million in cash and shares as well as free first-class tickets for himself and his wife on American for life.

Judge Lane said he would give a written judgment on the pay deal later.

Horton is due to stay on as non-executive chairman after the merger, but to leave at the first annual meeting.

  1. US Airways chief executive Doug Parker will run the combined company.

The two airlines said in a joint statement: “Judge Lane’s approval of the merger agreement today allows us to continue progressing forward with our planned merger and we are gratified to know that he considers the merger an ‘excellent result’ for stakeholders.

“The court approved the merger agreement but deferred ruling on Mr Horton’s compensation arrangement.”