US government, UA and AA open to settlement of fight over merger

By Rizza Sta. Ana

Aug 29, 2013 05:39 AM EDT

A Reuters report said that the US Justice Department was willing to settle its court fight with American Airways (AA) and US Airways (UA) over merger proceedings. However, the report also said that there has been no sign of whether the settlement will be done at the soonest time possible.

The Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit to stop the merger between the two airlines in mid-August. The department, in behalf of the government, said that the merger between two airlines would increase prices for customers. AA and UA argued that the merger was simply a business decision to make them more competitive and that the airline alliance would strengthen the market.

The first complaint filed by the Justice Department focused on the airlines' dominance on the Ronald Reagan National Airport just outside of Washington. The airlines had a 69% combined share of takeoff and landing slots. The airlines also listed over a thousand city pairs they provide services to. 

The government and the airlines released a joint statement in a document, with the former saying that it was "open to a settlement that addresses the anticompetitive harms posed by the merger but have not yet received any such proposal from the defendants."

A conference to discuss setting a trial date was to be on Friday. Both parties had been contesting about the trial date since and after the lawsuit was filed. 

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