Ray Villeda, NBC 5 News
The path out of bankruptcy may be longer for American Airlines if the Fort Worth-based carrier decides to merge with US Airways.
American Airlines and its pilots may be close to an agreement on a new contract.
Negotiators for the Allied Pilots Association say they hope to present a deal to the union's board of directors this week.
American and parent Fort Worth-based AMR Corp. have been operating under bankruptcy protection since last November.
A message Sunday to union members says negotiators recently finalized contract language to the point that there are only a handful of open paragraphs.
The issues include pay raises, furlough protection and limits on American's ability to use smaller planes typically operated by regional airlines such as American Eagle and SkyWest.
Sources say it would be a 6-year contract with a 4 percent hourly pay increase in the first year and that there is a possibility in the later half of the contract that pilots could get pay similar to those at Delta and United Airlines.
American's eight other union labor groups have approved cost-cutting deals.
On Tuesday, American and US Airways will meet in New York to discuss merger possibilities.
The company is expected to go before a judge on Thursday to ask for more time to submit its reorganization plan.
Bankruptcy expert Mark Ralston said the bankruptcy process may be extended if American decides to go forward with a merger.
"If merger negotiations are making progress, if details need to be worked out, I could see American asking for an additional extension," he said.
With a merger, the company would need more time to figure out its routes, where it would be headquartered, its staffing and other logistics, Ralston said.
NBC 5's Ray Villeda contributed to this report.