The U.S. government has ended its effort to block the merger of American and US Airways, clearing the way for a deal that will create the world’s largest carrier. The airlines expect a federal bankruptcy court to approve the combination on Nov. 25, setting up American parent AMR’s exit from court-supervised restructuring before the merger closes next month.
The fierce rhetoric Justice Department attorneys unleashed in August—in a lawsuit that alleged the deal would lead to higher fares and fees for travelers—had become muted by November. Concessions from the deal with antitrust regulars will bring about noticeable changes in Washington, D.C., and New York, where American and US Airways will be required to sell landing slots in the hope that smaller rivals like Southwest and JetBlue will be able to provide competitive balance. Here’s a guide to what’s likely to happen for the new mega-airline, its competitors, and travelers.