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Judge delays ruling on American Airlines contracts

DALLAS (AP) -- A bankruptcy judge has delayed — for a week — a ruling on whether American Airlines can break its contracts with unions and impose cost-cutting steps including layoffs.

A decision is now expected next Friday. Fort Worth-based American and its parent, AMR Corp., filed for Chapter 11 protection last November.

The delay gives American and unions more time to negotiate voluntary cost-cutting agreements.

The board of the Allied Pilots Association voted Wednesday to reject American's latest offer. Negotiations had previously broken down with unions for flight attendants and mechanics. An airline spokesman says American was willing to reopen talks.

Meanwhile, US Airways Group Inc. is preparing a takeover bid for AMR.