The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20530
Dear Attorney General Holder:
On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I write to express our opposition to efforts by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to block the pending merger between US Airways Group, Inc. and American Airlines’ parent corporation AMR. Your actions run counter to the interests of employees at these two air carriers represented by TTD unions and are inconsistent with the DOJ’s recent treatment of transactions involving airline consolidation.
We support the stated goal of the DOJ to ensure “robust competition” in the airline industry marketplace. Multiple competitive carriers, offering a variety of services and destinations, not only provide a benefit to consumers and businesses, but sustain middle-class jobs at airlines throughout the country that in turn support local and regional economies.
But the recent decision to block this merger is inconsistent with that objective. American Airlines and US Airways, if forced to operate as stand-alone companies, will find it difficult to effectively compete with their larger and better positioned competitors as well as with foreign airlines serving lucrative international routes. It is significant that the mega-carriers that American and US Airways must compete with are themselves the products of recent mergers consummated with the apparent blessing of DOJ. If this merger does not proceed, both American Airlines and US Airways could once again find themselves in financial peril and the jobs, rights, wages and benefits of front-line workers would likewise be put at serious risk.
The DOJ’s inaction when Northwest and Delta merged or when United and Continental combined is what led US Airways and American to seek a merger. By combining forces, these airlines are just trying to remain viable competitors in a shrinking competitive landscape that the DOJ allowed to exist.
Blocking this merger will also interfere with the timely conclusion of the American Airlines bankruptcy proceeding. The fact is that without this merger, additional concessions from the American Airlines workforce could be sought – a result that is simply unacceptable given the financial setbacks these employees have already experienced.
For these reasons, we urge the Department of Justice to reconsider its recent filing and to allow the merger of American Airlines and US Airway to proceed.
cc: William J. Baer, Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division
Ryan J. Danks, Attorney, Antitrust Division