US Airways Group Inc. yesterday filed its reorganization plan with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, one of its final steps toward emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection by fall.

As expected, the plan is centered on the airline's merger with America West Holdings Corp., which would create the nation's fifth-largest low-cost airline. According to the disclosure statement, the merged airlines would operate as a "new hybrid point-to-point/hub-and-spoke low-cost carrier."

US Airways executives said in the statement that America West would become a wholly owned subsidiary of US Airways. The airline would operate under the US Airways name.

US Airways said it remains on track to complete the merger by September or early October. The airlines received clearance last week from the Justice Department's antitrust division. The deal still requires approvals from America West shareholders, US Airways creditors, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Air Transportation Stabilization Board, which granted both airlines federal loan guarantees.

US Airways creditors, investors and unions have until Aug. 9 to review the plan and submit questions, statements or objections. At that time, the bankruptcy court will hold a hearing on the plan.

Meanwhile, potential bidders for US Airways or any of its assets have until 5 p.m. today to submit competing bids. A bankruptcy hearing to review any potential bids was set for July 7.

The Arlington-based airline has been in bankruptcy proceedings since September.

United Airlines parent UAL Corp., which has been operating under Chapter 11 protection since December 2002, has not yet submitted its reorganization plan, although the airline said it expects to emerge in the fall. It plans to file Aug. 1.

In the disclosure statement, US Airways said it intends to conduct a rights offering that will give certain creditors and existing shareholders of America West an option to purchase up to $150 million worth of shares of the reorganized company's new common stock, at $16.50 a share.