DALLAS (AP) — Even though American Airlines and US Airways have announced plans to merge, it will be several months -- if not years -- before passengers see any significant impact.

American's parent company is under bankruptcy protection, and a court will have to approve the deal. US Airways shareholders also need to sign off on it -- as do the Department of Transportation and the Justice Department.

Even then, the new company could operate as two separate airlines for years.

The two carriers announced the deal this morning, putting value of the merger at $11 billion.

The combined carrier will eventually be called American Airlines and will rank as the world's biggest airline.