MERGER TAKEOFF: American Airlines and US Airways plan to complete their merger on Dec. 9 and create the world's biggest airline company. On Wednesday, a bankruptcy judge approved a settlement between the airlines and the U.S. Justice Department, removing the last obstacle in the deal's path.

MERGER TAKEOFF: American Airlines and US Airways plan to complete their merger on Dec. 9 and create the world's biggest airline company. On Wednesday, a bankruptcy judge approved a settlement between the airlines and the U.S. Justice Department, removing the last obstacle in the deal's path.

SLOW CHANGES: American and US Airways are likely to keep flying as separate brands for 18 months or longer, but they'll soon begin selling seats on each other's planes, offering reciprocal frequent-flier benefits, and setting prices and schedules together.

FOR INVESTORS: Shares in American parent AMR Corp. (ticker: AAMRQ) and US Airways Group Inc. (LCC) are expected to stop trading after Dec. 6. On Dec. 9, shares of the new American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL) will begin trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market.