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American Airlines, US Airways Merge; MIA Likely To Keep Status As An International Hub

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Just over a year after American Airlines declared bankruptcy -- costing 400 Miami employees their jobs and throwing Miami International Airport's future as a global hub into question -- the airline finalized an $11 billion merger with US Airways this morning.

What's that mean for MIA? At least in the short term, the merger should be good news for Miami travelers, bringing stability to the airport and leaving the more than 300 daily American flights unchanged.

"We don't expect any substantial changes at MIA if the merger occurs because our traffic is largely driven by the strength of the Miami market and not the airlines serving it," airport spokesman Greg Chin tells the Miami Herald.

That wasn't the case as recently as September, when American filed notice that it might lay off up to 1,200 workers from MIA, the airline's second-largest hub. In the end, about 400 workers ended up getting pink slips, the Herald reports, as the airline worked through bankruptcy proceedings.

The deal with US Airways will create the largest airline on earth, which will keep the name American Airlines and have 10,000 employees and 1,500 aircraft. Since US Airways isn't a player in South Florida and American's local dominance is based on demand for travel to Latin America, the deal should keep MIA in business as usual, experts say.

"It should be positive for the employees and it should be positive for the communities that the airlines serve," aviation consultant Michael Boyd tells the Herald.

A bankruptcy judge still has to approve the huge merger, but most expect the deal to face few roadblocks.

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