Friday, November 1, 2013

Airline Antitrust Mediation

The U.S. Justice Department agreed to go to mediation along with American Airlines and US Airways to try and resolve the government’s lawsuit seeking to block the proposed merger of the two airlines. The case is headed to trial this month in federal court. The parties agreed to a mediator “suggested by the court,” which is a bit unusual. The Justice Department contends the planned merger would create the world’s largest airline, thereby reducing competition and leading to higher fares. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who presided over the Microsoft antitrust case, is overseeing the litigation and has said in prior orders that she encourages the use of alternative dispute resolution. Though American has been in bankruptcy for two years, the parent company AMR was set to exit court protection by merging with US Airways when the federal government and a group of states sued to block the deal. If the U.S. prevails in stopping the merger, it has been reported that re-organization will have to start anew, causing disruption among creditors. See more at and in case 13-cv-01236 U.S. v. US Airways Group, Inc., U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.