Jan. 23, 1962 - The directors of American Airlines and Eastern Air Lines approved today the merger of their systems into the world’s biggest airline. The merger must be approved by the stockholders of both companies and by the Civil Aeronautics Board. The proposed consolidation is expected to provoke strong opposition from Congress, labor, and other airlines. Senator A.S. Mike Monroney, Democrat of Oklahoma and chairman of the Senate Aviation subcommittee, said today: “I cannot at this time see how the public interest would be served by combining two competing giants into an even bigger single giant.” United Air Lines, Inc., now ranks as the biggest air transportation system from the standpoint of assets and revenues. American ranks second, and Eastern is fourth after Trans World Airlines. With more than 200,000 miles of routes, Air France, a nationalized carrier, claims to fly more miles throughout the world than any other airline. If the American-Eastern merger is approved, the name of the successor concern would be American Airlines, Inc.