Skift Take

You have to appreciate the bluntness of the Justice Department in this case, even if it sounds incredibly unfair to American and US Air.

AMR Corp. and US Airways Group Inc., the airlines fighting a U.S. lawsuit seeking to block their planned merger, shouldn’t get Justice Department records on past approvals of airline deals, the U.S. said.

Government decisions not to challenge previous airline mergers are “irrelevant” to the case over the AMR and US Airways deal, the Justice Department said in a federal court filing today in Washington. [below]

“Every merger must be evaluated on its own terms in light of current industry conditions,” the U.S. said. How the Justice Department “analyzed other mergers years ago when industry conditions were different has no bearing on legality of this merger.”

Both sides are grappling over the exchange of evidence as they gear up for a trial scheduled to begin Nov. 25. The U.S. and a group of state attorneys general sued the airlines in August, claiming the merger would harm consumers.

The airlines are also seeking the names of people interviewed by the Justice Department before the filing of the lawsuit. The government opposes the request, arguing the information is protected from disclosure.

The case is U.S. v. US Airways Group Inc., 13-cv-01236, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

Editors: Stephen Farr, Glenn Holdcraft. To contact the reporter on this story: David McLaughlin in Washington at [email protected] To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at [email protected]

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Photo credit: Pilots from both airlines gather for a photo with Doug Parker, left, of U.S. Airways and Tom Horton of American Airlines after the announcement of the airlines' merger during a news conference at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Thursday, February 14, 2013. Ron T. Ennis / Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT