Gov't reaches agreement to allow airline merger

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If a federal judge gives the all-clear, American Airlines and US Airways will be merging into what would become the world's biggest airline.

That's the only obstacle still looming after the two carriers reached a deal with the Justice Department that, among other things, opens up more room at key U.S. airports for low-cost carriers.

The settlement was announced Tuesday. A court endorsement would end the airlines' fight with Justice's Antitrust Division and head off a legal showdown later this month. The deal preserves hub airports in Phoenix, Philadelphia, Charlotte and four other cities for at least three years. And it caps a series of mergers that already have eliminated four big U.S. airlines and stoked fear about higher travel prices.

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