US Airways Group Inc. (search) on Wednesday said creditors approved its Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan of reorganization, anchored by its proposed acquisition by America West Holdings Corp (AWA).

A judicial confirmation hearing is the final hurdle to the company's exit from bankruptcy protection, which it has operated under twice in three years. The hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

The acquisition by America West, which that company's shareholders approved Tuesday, is expected to close within weeks.

The goal is to form a stronger airline that would compete better with lower-cost rivals. Arlington, Va.-based US Airways has a strong presence on the East Coast and in the Caribbean. America West, based in Tempe, operates across the West from hubs in Phoenix and Las Vegas.

Even though America West is considered the financially stronger company, the US Airways name will survive and be used when the nation's seventh- and eighth-largest carriers are combined to create the No. 6 airline.

Shares of US Airways slipped a penny to 25 cents on the over-the-counter bulletin board, while shares of America West fell 10 cents to $6.98 on the New York Stock Exchange (search).