UPDATE: A win for the airlines. At the end of Aug. they were granted the ‘speedy’ trial date of Nov. 25.
Original story: You’ve probably seen news reports that American Airlines and US Airways want to go to trial as soon as possible to settle the Department of Justice’s suit seeking to block their merger. The government has asked for a Feb. date, but what the carriers seem to be saying is, “Forget Valentine’s Day, let’s get it done before Thanksgiving.” They’ve got good reasons.
Keeping the Merger Dream Alive
It’s not yet certain that the case will go to trial but as air travel analyst Rick Seaney notes, the DOJ’s position is clear: “They want to block this merger, period.” The airlines of course want the merger to proceed and now more than ever time is of the essence. The airlines’ lawyers have asked for a Nov. 12 start date and believe the entire trial can be completed in just ten days.
Don’t Forget American’s Bankruptcy
“The DOJ can kill the merger by winning the case or dragging it out so far as to effectively kill the deal,” said Seaney, adding, “For American and it’s thousands of employees, creditors, and investors, these people can’t be left in bankruptcy limbo for an extended period of time.”
In order words, American wants and needs its day in court, as soon as feasible.
Support from Unions, Pilots
American is getting plenty of support from some of the people who know it best. Union employees including pilots and flight attendants have all joined in support of an early trial date. As a jointly-issued statement put it, “Our message to consumers everywhere is simple: Let us compete for your business starting as soon as possible.”