Sen. Herb Kohl says Southwest-AirTran deal will get close look

Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) noted that consumers for years have benefitted from low cost carriers. He said his Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights would look into whether the merged airline would lead to higher fares for airline passengers.

"For years, consumers have benefited from low cost carriers like Southwest and AirTran holding down airfares, especially in the wake of increased consolidation in the airline industry among the large, networked carriers," Kohl said Monday in a statement.  

"The Antitrust Subcommittee will carefully examine this proposed merger to determine whether air travelers will continue to see the low fares that they have come to rely on, especially in cities like Milwaukee where AirTran and Southwest are key competitors."

Southwest announced the proposed $1.4 billion merger on Monday morning. The deal would expand Southwest's presence in New York and Boston and give it a hub in Atlanta.