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Judge approves American Airlines’ bankruptcy plan

DALLAS — A federal judge has approved American Airlines’ plan to emerge from bankruptcy protection and merge with US Airways, although the airlines must still resolve a lawsuit filed by the federal government seeking to block the merger.

A trial over that lawsuit is scheduled for November.

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Thursday’s ruling by federal bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane in New York could restore a sense of momentum for the merger.

‘‘The judge’s ruling today shows that American is heading in the right direction,’’ said Mike Trevino, a spokesman for American’s parent company, AMR Corp.

He called it a milestone in AMR’s turnaround since filing for bankruptcy protection in 2011.

The airlines had originally hoped to close the merger this month and create the world’s biggest carrier.

They’re now shooting for the end of the year, if they can either settle the antitrust lawsuit with the Justice Department or win the case in court.

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