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DALLAS American Airlines and US Airways are inching closer to a merger.

The board of American s parent company AMR Corp. was meeting in New York Wednesday afternoon to formally consider a combination, according to sources familiar with the talks.

Simultaneously, US Airways' board has gathered in Arizona, a source said, to sign-off on what s eventually agreed upon.

The two airlines have flirted with a merger for more than a year and have been in direct talks for weeks.

News 8 has learned American and US Airways are already preparing for a news conference at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on Thursday to formally announce a merger. Afterwards, executives from both companies will board a plane at D/FW and fly to Phoenix for another similar event there, where US Airways has its headquarters.

As News 8 has reported for months, the new carrier will retain the American Airlines name and headquarters will stay in Tarrant County, just south of D/FW Airport. The US Airways name and brand will eventually disappear.

Sources told News 8 that US Airways CEO Doug Parker will lead the new airline. He has actively lobbied for the combination for 14 months.

AMR CEO Tom Horton s role in the new airline is likely to be a board position only, with a set duration of time something he has opposed.

A merger would take a year or longer, experts said, and also needs approval from American s creditors, its bankruptcy judge, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the European Union.

Follow News 8 reporter Jason Whitely on Twitter @jasonwhitely for breaking news when the merger if formally announced.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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