Mayor Michael Nutter urges DOJ to drop suit blocking airline merger

philadelphia international airport
Philadelphia International Airport
Credit: Rikard Larma / Metro.

Mayor Michael Nutter on Wednesday sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder urging him to drop a Department of Justice suit seeking to block the merger of American Airlines and US Airways.

The letter, also signed by the mayors of Charlotte, Phoenix, Chicago, Fort Worth and Miami-Dade County, states “the airline industry creates jobs, supports local business, attracts new business, and promotes infrastructure growth.”

“Nowhere are these benefits more apparent than in cities – like ours – with airline hubs,” it reads.

“But the Justice Department’s recent action seeking to block the combination of American Airlines and US Airways puts those benefits at risk for Charlotte, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Worth and Miami-Dade County. We write to ask you to reconsider this ill-conceived lawsuit.”

The letter goes on to detail how a merger of the two airlines would create a broader route network, carrying more passengers through the Philadelhia International Airport and other urban hubs.

“This increase in passenger traffic will multiply the beneficial effects those airports have on jobs and our local economies,” it states, noting without the merger, American Airlines and US Airways will “be at a permanent competitive disadvantage to Delta and United, each of which has been allowed to build superior route networks through mergers that were cleared by the Justice Department.”

It claims blocking the merger would imperil the long-term prospects of American Airlines and US Airways.

“But even worse than the impact on the merging companies, failure to clear the combination of American Airlines and US Airways will put our cities at an unnecessary competitive disadvantage to Atlanta, Newark and other hubs that directly benefit from the Delta and United mergers,” it states.

The Justice Department and seven attorney generals in August sued to block the proposed $11 billion US Airways and American Airlines merger, saying the combination could harm consumers.

The suit claims the merger would create the world’s largest airline and lessen competition for commercial air travel in local markets, causing passengers to pay higher fees while receiving fewer services and choices.


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