U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane signed an order Friday approving the merger of US Airways and American Airlines, making official his decision from the bench on March 27.
The only part of the merger proposal that wasn’t approved was the nearly $20 million in severance that was to go to AMR and American Airlines chairman, president and CEO Tom Horton upon completion of the merger.
Judge Lane, who is presiding over the AMR-AA bankruptcy cases, had previously issued a “memorandum of decision” explaining why Horton’s severance was beyond the limits allowed by a 2005 federal law.
However, in Friday’s order, Lane said his decision “is without prejudice to the consideration and approval of the American CEO Letter Agreement or any of the other matters provided for therein at a later date, subject to the rights of all parties in interest to object thereto.”
As part of Friday’s approval, Lane also approved the termination fees that AMR/AA would owe if the deal fell apart.
With Lane’s order now issued, the next big hurdle is to get regulators’ approval. The merger is under review by U.S. Department of Justice antitrust lawyers, and European regulators are also taking a look at the deal.
Executives at American and US Airways have continued to say they expect the deal to close in the third quarter, with September being mentioned.