The U.S. Department of Justice approved the merger of Delta Air Lines Inc. and Northwest Airlines Corp. Oct. 29.

Delta announced in April that it would acquire Northwest in an all-stock transaction to create the world’s largest carrier headquartered in Atlanta, but the merger was not finalized until the approval by the Justice Department.

The government approval means that Northwest shareholders will receive 1.25 shares of Delta stock—a value of about $10 as of market closing Wednesday—for each outstanding Northwest share.   

Northwest will initially operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta.

The companies banded together in an effort to fight the effects of skyrocketing fuel prices and slimming profit margins in the airline industry.

“The airline industry faces a very difficult economic environment around the world and this merger gives Delta increased flexibility to adapt to the economic challenges ahead,” said Delta CEO Richard Anderson in a statement.

Sam Williams, president of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, called the merger “critical” for the Southeast U.S. as an economic multiplier.

“For every one job Delta has in Atlanta, it is creating 100 through its route structure – and connecting metro Atlanta to the world’s fastest-growing economies.”

“The Delta Airlines and Northwest merger represents a new plateau for metro Atlanta, just as significant as the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta,” he added in a statement.

“While the Olympics gave us worldwide recognition, Delta’s route structure makes Atlanta the most connected city on earth.

“Delta handled its merger with Northwest the right way – keeping its headquarters in Atlanta, maintaining the Delta name and adding routes all over the world.

“The presence of the world’s largest airline in Atlanta strengthens our city’s position as a center of gravity for economic prosperity not just in Georgia, but across the Southeast.”

Delta serves more than 170 domestic and more than 80 international destinations fromHartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, including new nonstop service to Shanghai,China, and MumbaiIndia.