House Dems press Obama administration to let airlines merge

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The Justice Department has said that it is opposing the proposed merger between U.S. Air and American because the companies have too many flights between similar destinations, which the DOJ says would increase prices for consumers. The airlines counter that their $11 billion merger should be approved because they have less than 10 identical nonstop flights — though the Obama administration is counting connections.

The companies also point out that the Justice Department has allowed many other airlines to merge in recent years, including Delta and Northwest airlines, United and Continental and Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways.

The lawmakers writing to the attorney general Wednesday sympathized with the airlines' arguments.

"The proposed merger will not only increase competition, but will also increase opportunities for airline workers and the communities serviced by both American Airlines and US Airways," the lawmakers wrote. "The combination will make both airlines a much stronger competitor against other airlines like United, Delta, and Southwest that have benefitted from recent mergers as well as a growing number of air carriers like Virgin America, JetBlue, and Spirit."

The letter was spearheaded by Reps. Marc Veasey (D-Texas) and Ed Pastor (D-Ariz.).