Jun 2, 2001 3:09 AM

National Airlines on Friday won a court order that allows it to continue operations while negotiating a financing deal with billionaire Carl Icahn.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Linda Riegle granted a temporary restraining order that prevents Harrah's Entertainment, one of National's founders and its largest investor, from taking revenues from advanced ticket sales for a cash reserve.

National filed for Chapter 11 protection in December, blaming rising fuel prices for unexpected losses.

Since then, National has reported record bookings and seasonally-high passenger counts.

National Airlines officials said it is close to reaching a deal with Carl Icahn. The terms of those negotiations have not been disclosed.

Harrah's, which says it supports an Icahn agreement, is also involved in independent negotiations with the financier, according to Bankruptcy Court testimony.

Harrah's contols 48 percent of National, a privately held airline founded two years with its hub at Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport. Since then the airline has grown to become Las Vegas' fifth-largest air carrier with more than 200,000 passengers monthly.