Virgin America Comes Out Against American-US Air Merger, Southwest Asks Court for Slots

By Paul Riegler on 11 November 2013
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A Virgin America aircraft in Seattle

A Virgin America aircraft in Seattle

Airlines are lining up on both sides of the aisle to file amicus curiae briefs in the Department of Justice antitrust lawsuit that seeks to block the merger of American Airlines and US Airways.  The suit was first announced in August of this year.

Last Thursday, Southwest Airlines received permission from U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who is presiding over the case, to file a friend of the court brief in the case, in which it will stress the importance of having a merged American Airlines divest a significant number of takeoff and landing slots at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C. and LaGuardia Airport in New York.

Southwest contends that the “anti-competitive effects [of the merger] could be mitigated only if a significant number of slots were divested to Southwest so it could bring the Southwest Effect [of lower prices] to more routes served from DCA and LGA.”

On Monday, Virgin America told the court that it wished to file its own amicus curiae brief in which it will state that the merger will create additional barriers to entry in the industry.

In its filing, Virgin noted that it is the most recent airline to enter the U.S. aviation market (it commenced operations in 2007), and that the deal would solidify what already amounts to considerable impediments to any new entrants to the market today.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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