by david koenig ap airlines writer
American Airlines says it will list its shares on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the ticker symbol "AAL" after completing a merger with US Airways and forming the world's biggest airline.
American's parent, AMR Corp., had been listed on the New York Stock Exchange as "AMR" until the shares were removed shortly after the company filed for bankruptcy protection in November 2011. They are currently available only over the counter under the symbol "AAMRQ."
Tom Horton, the CEO of AMR, said the Nasdaq "offers a most advanced trading platform driven by innovation and efficiency."
Shares of AMR and US Airways Group Inc. will be canceled and exchanged for stock in the new American Airlines Group Inc., which will be based in AMR's home in Fort Worth, Texas. AMR creditors, bondholders and shareholders will get 72 percent of the new company, and US Airways shareholders will get the other 28 percent. At Friday's stock prices, the new company would have a market value of more than $16.6 billion.
Shares of the largest U.S. airline companies — United Continental Holdings Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc., Southwest Airlines Co. and US Airways — trade on the NYSE. The Nasdaq is home for JetBlue Airways Corp., Spirit Airlines Inc. and Allegiant Travel Co., which operates Allegiant Air.
American and US Airways did not immediately provide more information about their choice of stock market. According to American's website, the airline's stock began trading on the NYSE on June 10, 1939. AMR didn't come into existence until 1982, when shareholders approved a reorganization plan with a holding-company format.
Leslie Pfrang with Class V Group, which helps companies with strategic planning including stock-exchange listings, said the Nasdaq likely offered a lower listing fee, more services and the image of a fresh start for the new company.
"They're trying to rebrand themselves," she said of the airlines. "The Nasdaq has a growthy, tech, emerging-company brand image."
American and US Airways announced their proposed merger in February. It was expected to close in late summer until the U.S. Justice Department sued to block the deal, claiming that it would limit competition and raise prices. On Tuesday, the airlines and the government announced a settlement in which the carriers agreed to give up some of their takeoff and landing rights and gates at several big airports, principally Washington's Reagan National.
The airlines still need final approval from a U.S. bankruptcy judge in New York who had already approved a reorganization plan built around the merger, and from a federal district court judge in Washington who was overseeing the case involving the Justice Department lawsuit.
US Airways shares rose 5 cents to $23.72 and AMR shares dropped 22 cents to $11.73 in afternoon trading.
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