Report: Fla. members of Congress want Bondi to back airline merger

Jessica M. Karmasek Sep. 30, 2013, 3:45pm

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) -- Seven Democratic members of Congress from Florida, in a letter last week, asked Attorney General Pam Bondi to back a proposed airline merger between American Airlines and US Airways.

According to The Associated Press, the Congressmen -- mostly from South Florida -- wrote Bondi, a Republican, Friday.

The federal lawmakers argue the merger is needed, and that the lawsuit will hurt jobs.

In August, Florida joined a coalition of five other states, the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division and the District of Columbia in a federal court complaint challenging the merger, which would make the combined US Airways and American Airlines the largest worldwide carrier.

The complaint alleges reducing the number of major airlines from five to four would make fare and fee increases easier, and would make airlines even more profitable than they already are.

The other states participating include: Arizona, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

In February, the boards of directors of both AMR Corporation, the parent company of American Airlines Inc., and US Airways Group Inc. unanimously approved a definitive merger agreement under which the companies will combine to a create a "premier global carrier" that will have an implied combined equity value of about $11 billion -- based on the price of US Airways' stock as of Feb. 13.

In a news release, American Airlines said the combined airline -- which will be called American Airlines -- will offer more than 6,700 daily flights to 336 destinations in 56 countries and is expected to maintain all hubs currently served by both airlines, resulting in more travel options for customers.

The company will be headquartered in Dallas-Fort Worth, but will maintain a "significant corporate and operational presence" in Phoenix.

"The combined airline will have the scale, breadth and capabilities to compete more effectively and profitably in the global marketplace," Doug Parker, chairman and chief executive officer of US Airways, said in February.

"Our combined network will provide a significantly more attractive offering to customers, ensuring that we are always able to take them where they want to travel, when they want to go."

The merger was set to close this month, but still needs government regulatory approval.

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