Airports intervene in merger fight

Airports intervene in merger fight

A group of airports that are hubs for U.S. Airways and American Airlines is asking a U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. to intervene in a lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice attempting to stop the companies from merging.

The Dallas/Fort Worth, Charlotte Douglas, Philadelphia and Phoenix Sky Harbor international airports filed an “amicus curiae” brief with the court on Monday that claims the merged airlines would provide more travel options for passengers.

“As set forth below, amicus all operate international hub airports hosting flights by American and/or US Airways,” the airlines wrote in their legal filing. “Due to the merger’s positive ramifications for competition generally, as well as the benefits it will provide for each of the amici and their respective communities, amici have a substantial interest in the case and their perspectives are relevant to its disposition.”

The Justice Department has said the potential U.S. Air-American Airlines merger would violate federal antitrust laws because it argues that the airlines have too many similar flight destinations.

The companies have countered that less than 10 of their normal flight schedules are identical nonstop routes. Justice says flights with layovers should also be counted.

U.S. Airways and American have sought to rachet up pressure on the Obama administration to drop its lawsuit by releasing letters of support from state and city Chambers of Commerce and mayors, including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, President Obama's former chief of staff.

Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden on Trump: 'He'll leave' l GOP laywers brush off Trump's election remarks l Obama's endorsements Obama endorses Warnock in crowded Georgia Senate race The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump's rally risk | Biden ramps up legal team | Biden hits Trump over climate policy MORE has framed the lawsuit as an effort by the Obama administration to protect airline passengers from price increases for flights.

Supporters of the merger have pointed out that other airlines, such as Delta and Northwest and United and Continental airlines, have been allowed to merge in recent years.