Regulators are expected to okay the merger since it’s approved similar deals in the recent past, but this will likely be the last for major U.S. airlines before risking the creation an industry monopoly.
U.S. antitrust authorities over the past year have been particularly active, blocking acquisitions in industries from beer to e-books. But the potential deal to create the world’s biggest airline likely would fly clear of government objections, experts said.
But the deal involves only about a dozen overlapping routes, similar to the number in the most recent three big airline mergers, according to research by J.P. Morgan. Those transactions were cleared by the Justice Department, with the carriers in only one deal required to relinquish takeoff and landing slots to maintain competition.