DOJ, American, US Air Open to Settling Merger Antitrust Suit

By Jonathan Spira on 28 August 2013
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An American 737 in the airline's new livery

An American 737 in the airline’s new livery

American Airlines’ parent AMR Corporation, US Airways, and the U.S. Department of Justice said in a joint filing that the parties were open to resolving the lawsuit challenging the merger of the number four and number five airlines in the United States.

The filing was in advance of a scheduling conference on Friday to resolve a dispute over the trial date.  The DOJ initially asked for a trial date in February and later amended that to March.  The two airlines are requesting a November trial.  In the filing, the carriers said that the March trial date would “place the merger at risk regardless of its competitive benefits.”

Earlier this month, the Department of Justice filed a civil antitrust lawsuit seeking to block the proposed $11 billion merger between US Airways and American Airlines parent AMR Corp.  Six state attorneys general and the District of Columbia joined the DOJ.

In its suit, the government said that the merger will lead to higher prices and less competition, while American and US Airways say that the combination will make them more competitive and have a positive effect on the market.

Today’s filing gave no indication that any kind of settlement was imminent.  In the joint filing, the government said that it was “open to a settlement that addresses the anticompetitive harms posed by the merger but have not yet received any such proposal from the defendants.”

American and US Airways said that they had tried to settle the case before the DOJ had filed the complaint “and continue to believe there ought to be a realistic possibility of settlement.”

Reuters reported that two sources had said that there had been little if anything with respect to settlement discussions prior to the complaint being filed.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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