American Airlines parent AMR has won its bid for Trans World Airlines, with a federal bankruptcy court ruling that only a sale to the Dallas-based giant will save TWA from liquidation. The judge also voided a ticket contract with TWA held by rival bidder and former owner Carl Icahn, an AMR condition of the buy.

Icahn has filed an appeal, and the purchase is still under anti-trust review by the US Department of Justice (DoJ), but AMR hopes to close it next month, integrating TWA's operations into American's. AMR's offer for St Louis-based TWA totals $742 million (Icahn's final offer was $1.1 billion), plus the assumption of $3.5 billion of debt on 175 TWA aircraft.

The decision clears the way for further federal rulings in the latest round of US airline consolidation, though it is unclear when the DoJ will rule on United Airlines' planned acquisition of US Airways.

The period for completing the deal has been extended beyond 2 April to allow regulators to further study the implications of American's planned purchase of some US Airways assets, including half of US Airways Shuttle and 49% of DC Air, the carrier that would be created in the United deal.

Source: Flight International