APFA pushes back against the DOJ and its objection to the American-US Airways merger

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The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) has issued this statement, backing up management’s response to the Department of Justice (DOJ) announcement of a lawsuit against the proposed American Airlines-US Airways merger:

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants, representing more than 16,000 Flight Attendants at American Airlines, pushed back hard against today’s announcement that the Department of Justice would file suit to block the merger of American and US Airways.

“The fact that Attorney General Holder and the Justice Department have decided to stand in the way of this merger is outrageous and the height of hypocrisy,” said APFA President Laura Glading. “Their actions are only serving to prop up the duopoly they created and they’re doing it at the expense of consumers, the industry, and the employees of American and US Airways.”

Following major mergers of their own, Delta and United have emerged as the dominant carriers in the aviation industry and their vast networks have attracted the high-value business travelers airlines need in order to be profitable. Frequent flyers have left American in droves in favor of carriers with more routes and destinations. The American/US Airways merger will give these travelers a viable third option.

“The reason American is in bankruptcy is because it couldn’t compete in the environment created by the airline mergers of the past few years, which occurred with DOJ’s blessing. Now the game is in the third quarter and they want to change the rules,” Glading said. “It’s ludicrous.”

After decades of uncertainty, including bankruptcies, liquidations, and job losses, the mergers of Delta/Northwest and United/Continental helped move the aviation industry towards a stable and healthy competitive environment. The American/US Airways merger is the final piece of the deregulation puzzle that will provide long-term stability after 30 years of tumult. Without the merger, consumers and workers should expect more uncertainty and more failed airlines.

The DOJ suit claims that American can thrive on its own which is puzzling considering that each and every interested party that has examined this deal has arrived at the opposite conclusion. In reality, the merger has the strong support of airline executives, investors, and workers because everyone knows that neither carrier can compete as a standalone. Any recent success American has enjoyed can be credited to the employees whose wages and benefits were slashed in bankruptcy and to the consumer confidence the merger plan has generated.

For Flight Attendants, the merger will provide job security for thousands of middle class wage earners. The new American is the light at the end of a long tunnel for APFA members that have lost billions of dollars during the industry’s downturn.

“We’re going to continue to fight for this merger and we’re prepared to bring the fight to federal court, the halls of Congress, and the White House, if necessary,” Glading said. “Everyone needs this merger – airline investors, workers, and the flying public especially.”