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Pilots union chides Texas AG for joining lawsuit challenging airline merger

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Aug 20, 2013

FORT WORTH (Legal Newsline) -- A pilots union took out an ad in Dallas newspaper Monday, going after Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott for joining a federal lawsuit challenging a pending American Airlines-U.S. Airways merger.

"Fort Worth has been the proud home of American Airlines for more than 30 years. Throughout much of that period, the airline's Dallas-Fort Worth hub has served as a powerful economic engine for the region," according to the Allied Pilots Association ad, which ran in the Dallas Morning News.

"American Airlines has struggled in recent years in the face of competition with two much larger megacarriers -- Delta-Northwest and United Continental -- whose mergers were blessed by the Department of Justice.

"The merger with US Airways would enable American Airlines to address network and revenue deficiencies and exit Chapter 11 restructuring on a level playing field with United and Delta."

Last week, Texas 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 U.S. 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 include: Arizona, Florida, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia.

In its ad this week, the union questioned Abbott's opposition to having a "leading global carrier" headquartered in the state.

"Considering everything at stake -- including the large number of jobs and the tax revenues they generate -- that doesn't make any sense."

The union says the notion that American Airlines and U.S. Airways "compete directly on thousands of heavily traveled nonstop and connecting routes" is "not even close to accurate."

"The two airlines compete directly on a total of 12 nonstop routes," according to the ad. "Their route networks are highly complementary with very little overlap -- much more so than in any other recent airline merger."

The union says it hopes the attorney general will reconsider his position.

Founded in 1963, the Allied Pilots Association -- the largest independent pilots' union in the United States -- is headquartered in Fort Worth. It represents the 10,000 pilots of American Airlines, including several hundred pilots on full-time military leave of absence serving in the armed forces.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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