US DOJ and plaintiff states filed a complaint in federal court challenging the proposed merger between American Airlines and U.S. Airways. The complaint alleged the proposed merger would result in decreased competition, higher airfares and fees, reduced service and downgraded amenities. The dollar impact nationwide could exceed $100 million a year. The merger would make a combined U.S. Airways/American Airlines the largest worldwide carrier and reduce the number of the larger “legacy” airlines from four to three – U.S. Airways/American, United/Continental and Delta/Northwest – and the number of major airlines from five to four. If the merger were approved, the three remaining legacy airlines combined with Southwest Airlines would account for more than 80 percent of domestic travel. American Airlines is U.S. Airways’ chief competitor in the marketplace, meaning that the merger will likely only serve to increase fares and fees. Texas settled its case, entering into an agreement under which the merged airlines would maintain their operations at Texas airports, maintain DFW as a hub, and maintain its corporate headquarters in the Dallas area. DOJ and the remaining states reached settlements with the merging parties. The settlement requires US Airways and American to divest or transfer to low cost carrier purchasers approved by the department: 1) All 104 air carrier slots (i.e. slots not reserved for use only by smaller, commuter planes) at Reagan National and rights and interest in other facilities at the airport necessary to support the use of the slots; 2) Thirty-four slots at LaGuardia and rights and interest in other facilities at the airport necessary to support the use of the slots; and 3) Rights and interests to two airport gates and associated ground facilities at each of Boston Logan, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas Love Field, Los Angeles International and Miami International. The settlement reached by the states requires maintenance of existing hubs in those states, consistent with their historical operations, for three years, and continued daily service for five years to each airport in the affected states that American and US Airways serviced at the time of filing.
Merger of two small airlines in the same relevant geographical area.
Colorado, et al. v. Airline Tariff Pub. Co.; No. 1:90-CV-2485-MHS and MDL No. 861 (N.D. Georgia) (October 1994)
Settlement providing for discounted ticket prices for state and local government agency air travel reached between Plaintiff States and certain airlines over price-fixing scheme.