November 25 set as the trial date in the American – US Airways merger request

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) and US Airways (Phoenix) will go to trial on November 25 against the Department of Justice, six states and the District of Columbia. U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly set the trial date. The date was sooner than the DOJ wanted which means they will have to do their research much faster.

The DOJ, the six states and DC entered the lawsuit in the court on August 13 to block the proposed merger. This trial will probably serve as one of the final hearings in the merger request since the DOJ is critical in any approval. In other words, a judge could determine the fate of the two airlines.

The airlines are likely to argue that Southwest Airlines (which was not counted in the original DOJ data) is a formidable competitor and a merger is necessary to stay competitive against WN and other fast-growing ultra low fares carriers like Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Air (they have a good point). They are also likely to argue that air fares have gone up not as a result of the recent mergers but continuously rising fuel costs.

The DOJ meanwhile would prefer to compare the AA-US merger against the previous mergers of United Airlines-Continental Airlines and Delta Air Lines-Northwest Airlines and their international routes.

The other critical point bound to be discussed in detail at the trial is the slots the proposed merged carrier will have at Washington’s super high yield Reagan National Airport. The new AA would be a super carrier at DCA if the merger is now approved. AA-US will likely have to give up more concerning DCA.

Lawyers for both sides are likely to exchange millions of documents according to this report by Reuters. If you are an airline route analysis junkie, this is the “trial of the century”.

As many as 50 people could testify at the trial. Will other airline CEOs testify at the trial?

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. American’s Boeing 737-823 N989AN (msn 33205) prepares to land at Dulles International Airport in Virginia near Washington, DC.

American Airlines: AG Slide Show

Have you seen the “new look” AirlinersGallery.com?

US Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. US Airways’ Airbus A321-231 N535UW (msn 3993) climbs away from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.