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The airlines said Monday that they were confident they can beat the government’s lawsuit even without the information.
AMR Corp.’s American and US Airways Group Inc. wanted the Justice Department to explain why it approved four prior airline mergers but opposed theirs. They wanted to know who government lawyers interviewed as they prepared the lawsuit.
A retired judge hired to help the trial judge generally sided with the Justice Department last week. He said the agency could keep most of the information confidential. Fort Worth, Texas-based American and Tempe, Ariz.-based US Airways could have appealed to the trial judge.
The airlines believe that the Justice Department is judging their merger by different standards. They wanted access to the department’s documents to show that under the economic assumptions used in the past, their merger would increase competition, not reduce it.
The Justice Department, joined by six states, said that the government’s stance on previous mergers was irrelevant to this one. They added that consolidation through mergers invariably leads to more concern about later deals.
The trial is scheduled to start Nov. 25 in federal district court in Washington.
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