American and US Airways seek November trial for Justice challenge

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American Airlines and US Airways requested a 12 November court date for the trial in the US Department of Justice's (DOJ) challenge to their proposed merger.

The date would allow for 90-days to prepare for the trial, which is anticipated to take 10 days, according to a joint filing with the US District Court for the District of Columbia today.

"The request for a November trial date also reflects our strong, unwavering belief in our merger with US Airways and in our legal case," says Tom Horton, chairman and chief executive of Fort Worth-based American, in a letter to American employees today. "Simply put: We're ready to go. It's time to remove the uncertainty for our customers, people and owners, and achieve our vision for the new American."

Doug Parker, chairman and chief executive of Tempe, Arizona-based US Airways and future chief executive of American following the merger, says in a newsletter to US Airways employees: "We are eager to get to court so that we can make our case and explain exactly how this merger enhances competition across the US and the globe, and begin creating the new American Airlines as soon as possible."

The DOJ has proposed a 10 February 2014 court date, according to American and US Airways in their filing. The airlines claim that this is "far longer" than for any other merger trials in this century.

The agency confirms the date and says: "The timing proposed by the department is typical in a merger transaction of this magnitude, which affects so many consumers.... We believe it is important for the court to hear a full presentation of the facts. Also, we have asked the parties to respond to our complaint and to identify which allegations they dispute and which they do not. We have yet to receive a response."

The DOJ filed its challenge to the proposed merger of American and US Airways with the court on 13 August. The case has been assigned to judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.