Ohio AG takes leadership role in review of airline merger

Nick Rees May 17, 2010, 3:00pm

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) - Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray is leading a multistate review of a proposed airline merger of two airline giants.

The proposed $3.2 billion merger of Continental Airlines and United Airlines will combine the third- and fourth-largest airlines, which Cordray believes will affect the travel industry in Ohio and nationwide.

"A merger this large may have staggering ramifications for the industry, for consumers, and for the broader economy," Cordray said.

"Ohio has a lot on the line with this deal. Cleveland is a Continental hub, which is very important both for our state's travelers and economy.

"I feel strongly that it is in the best interest of Ohioans for us to take a leading role in reviewing this proposed deal. We will work closely with other states and the Department of Justice to ensure that state and federal antitrust laws are not violated."

Among the issues Cordray's review will focus on is ensuring that Cleveland Hopkins International Airport remains a viable hub and that competition is not reduced through higher fares, fewer flight choices or a drop in service quality.

Cordray co-chairs the National Association of Attorneys General's antitrust committee, which addresses issues of federal and state cooperation and areas of common interest regarding antitrust enforcement, including multistate litigation and federal and state legislative and policy proposals.

Cordray further announced that his office is working to ensure that the merger wouldn't result in fewer choices in flights or a drop in service quality.

"With all the problems for taxpayers associated with corporations that become 'too big to fail,' we need to be especially diligent as antitrust enforcers in looking carefully at the potential effects of consolidation in critical sectors of our economy, such as the airline industry," Cordray said.

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