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Judge likely to approve AMR bankruptcy exit

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NEW YORK — A judge signaled Thursday that he is leaning toward approving American Airlines’ emergence from bankruptcy protection, but he wants more time.

‘‘I’m finding the arguments in favor of confirmation fairly persuasive,’’ US Bankruptcy Court Judge Sean H. Lane said. He could sign off on American’s restructuring plan at the next hearing on Sept. 12 or in a decision sooner.

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That would only leave one obstacle to American’s proposed merger with US Airways: an antitrust lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice, six states, and the District of Columbia. It argues that combining American and US Airways would leave four airlines controlling 80 percent of US air traffic and drive up prices.

Lawyers for American’s parent, AMR Corp., and for its creditors told the bankruptcy judge the lawsuit should not have any bearing on his decision. They noted his approval of a restructuring plan is subject to regulatory approval.

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