American Airlines CEO Tom Horton and US Airways CEO Doug Parker just sent a joint email to employees — and the media — informing them that the U.S. District Court judge hearing the Justice Department’s merger lawsuit against them has agreed to begin the trial November 25.
American and US Airways had argued for an early trial date to avoid the disruption involved if the DOJ had prevailed in its wish to get the proceedings going in March 2014.
“We are pleased the Court has set a schedule that will enable us to resolve this litigation in a reasonable timeframe,” Horton and Parker wrote, signing the email Tom and Doug. “Given the significant benefits this merger will deliver to consumers, employees and other stakeholders, and that the creation of the new American Airlines will provide much-needed competition, our duty remains clear: We are more committed than ever to bringing our airlines together and look forward to making our case for the new American in court.”
Earlier today, U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly had signaled that the Justice Department wouldn’t get the seven months for trial preparation that it had requested when she said, “March 3, I think, is too far off. It needs to be a tighter, expedited schedule.”
The suit has greatly complicated and wreaked havoc with American’s quest to emerge from bankruptcy.
The DOJ sued to block the merger on antitrust grounds on August 13, arguing that the US Airways and American Airlines merger would be anticompetitive, and that the combination would put power in the merged carriers’ hands to set industry pricing.
In their letter to employees, the two CEOs pointedly include Southwest among the airlines, including United and Delta, that American and US Airways hope to compete with. The two carriers, namely American and US Airways, believe the DOJ downplayed Southwest’s clout in pricing setting in the DOJ’s civil lawsuit.
Horton and Parker thanked employees at American for their “hard work and dedication.”
“We look forward to the day when we will stand together as one airline to deliver the compelling benefits of the new American,” the two CEOs wrote.