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American and US Airways to become the world's largest airline (+video)

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"From that perspective, you've got labor unions on both sides of this who really would like to see Doug Parker run this larger airline."

Meanwhile, the mega airline mergers in 2008 and 2010 that created today's Delta Air Lines and United Continental Holdings Inc, were increasingly marginalizing both American and US Airways.

Wall Street analysts and investors were almost unanimous in saying that a marriage was the best shot at reversing the fortunes of the two airlines, seen as too small to compete effectively against a Delta or United, and too large to be as nimble as the smaller carriers like JetBlue.

Reflecting investor enthusiasm about the prospects of a merger, shares of US Airways have risen 57 percent since the spring of 2012, when the airline reached agreement with American's main labor unions to support a potential merger.

While a combination would still need approval from U.S. regulators, both US Airways and American believe that would not be a problem since Delta-Northwest and United-Continental mergers were approved.

According to some antitrust experts, US Airways and American would likely be allowed to combined if they agreed to divest assets in some cities to preserve competition. 

Five-way talks in Dallas 

While the support for a deal grew among American employees and creditors, it remained a tough sell to AMR management, which wanted to emerge out of bankruptcy as an independent company and consider any deals on its own terms.

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