The $11 billion merger between US Airways and American Airlines is looking increasingly likely after the US attorney general stated that the Department of Justice (DOJ) expects to resolve its objections to the merger without a trial.
In a move signalling a shift from the DOJ’s earlier position, Attorney General Eric Holder said his department expects to resolve the issues around the proposed merger “short of trial” but if DOJ’s demands were not met it was prepared to go ahead with the court action, according to the Financial Times.
In contrast, Bill Baer, head of the DOJ’s antitrust division, said in August that court action on the merger issue was the “best idea at the moment.”
Talks between the department and the airlines come nearly three weeks before the scheduled start of hearings on November 25 in a federal court in Washington on the DOJ’s suit opposing the merger.
The DOJ maintains its concerns that the merger will reduce competition on more than 1,000 flight routes and at key airports such as Reagan Airport in Washington, DC, and New York’s JFK and LaGuardia Airports.