CHICAGO - Market participants yesterday began digesting the news of Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc. and Egan, Minn.-based Northwest Airlines Corp.'s agreement to merge - an announcement that was greeted with a mix of skepticism from several federal lawmakers, who will scrutinize the deal, and concern from credit analysts who believe the merger could negatively impact some airports.

The proposed merger, announced after months of negotiations, stands to have a dramatic effect on the sector's landscape. The two carriers, folded together in a $17.7 billion deal, would create the world's largest airline.

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