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Certainly not for the first time in aviation history, the US Department of Justice has thrown a sizeable spanner in the works of a major merger. Yesterday, in what some could say was a rather late intervention, it moved to block the proposed merger of US Airways and American Airlines (AA), possibly scuppering AMR’s chances of a fast exit from bankruptcy restructuring, and in the event the link-up is allowed will almost certainly delay the deal. With both management and unions firmly backing integration, the case would appear to rest on whether AA and US Airways are financially able to go it alone, and what the impact will be on overall air fares.

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