Ken Kalthoff, NBC 5 News
American Airlines union leaders believe a merger with US Airways would help the airline soar in a new direction.
Talks between American Airlines and US Airways about a possible merger continued Thursday, but a rumored announcement of a merger deal may be pushed back a week, according to CNBC sources.
Several sources told NBC 5 on Wednesday that a merger deal is imminent and could be announced as soon as Tuesday.
Merger proposals made public by US Airways in the past would keep the name American along with American's Fort Worth headquarters.
The combined airline would have 1,500 planes, 6,700 daily flights and more than 100,000 employees, again making American the world's largest carrier.
United and Delta have completed mergers that knocked American down to No. 3.
Employee unions strongly support a merger and hope to see it happen soon, while American is still in bankruptcy court.
"There are enormous financial advantages to executing this merger in bankruptcy," Allied Pilots Association spokesman Tom Hoban said.
"The synergies between the two route structures, a potential change in leadership with a fresh vision for the combined airline make it very attractive to do it sooner rather than later," he said.
American CEO Tom Horton is said to be fighting to keep a leadership role in the combined company.
Many employee and creditor groups favor US Airways CEO Doug Parker.
"What the front-line employees want to see is a change in this dysfunctional corporate culture that we've got with regard to employee relations here at American Airlines, and we believe that new leadership will help us accomplish that," Hoban said.
Horton could not be reached Thursday, and an American Airlines spokesman said the company has no comment about the ongoing merger talks.