Attorney General Greg Abbott: Why I challenged the American Airlines-US Airways merger

by Charlie Leocha on August 16, 2013

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The Texas Attorney General explains why he supports the lawsuit against the AA/USAir merger. Read his comments in their entirety; they are illuminating and support what we have been saying for months at the Consumer Travel Alliance and on this website.

The answer is simple: We believe that actions by the airlines and their officials violate antitrust laws. In fact, the legal violations appear so overt that it would offend my oath of office not to take action.

The legal action is based on evidence such as internal emails, investor presentations and other comments by top executives of the airlines. Those documents reveal their thinking about how shrinking competition in the airline industry — and, hence the merger — will allow the airlines to pile even more bag fees, ticket change fees and increased fares on customers.

This is just a small sampling of troubling things. First, the airline executives’ own words raise antitrust concerns. Second, the goal of the airlines appears to undermine free markets. The combined airlines will be able to extract higher fees and impose more onerous fares only because the free market system will be so distorted.

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons by Jason Rosenberg

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  • Chris

    It’s been a long, long time since I have seen such an ill informed, misguided, and ignorant opinion from an official such as the Texas AG. Those that have joined in this suit must certainly understand that almost everything in it is inaccurate, misrepresented, and unsubstantiated by the facts. I’m all for consumer protections but this action by the states and the DOJ will go a long ways to inflicting harm and damage upon the US airline traveler and the industry. That Consumer Travel supports this effort makes me question the loyalties and the legitimacy of the organization.

  • Robert B

    It’s interesting that the state Attorneys General for Texas, Virginia and Arizona are parties to this action. AA headquarters are in Texas, and US headquarters are in Arizona, and Virginia. What do they see that no one else does?

  • Charles Leocha

    Yes, the participating attorneys general are: Texas, where American Airlines is headquartered; Arizona, where US Airways is headquartered; Florida; the District of Columbia; Pennsylvania; Tennessee; and Virginia. Each (except Tennessee, which just lost a hub, has a significant USAirways or AA hubs. Namely Arizona = USAirways hub and headquarters; Texas=AA hub and headquarters; Pensylvania = Philadelphia hub and abandoned Pittsburgh hub; Virginia and DC have the Washington-Reagan hub for US Air; Florida = Miami AA hub. These are the AGs most affected by the merger and ALL decided to sue against the merger. They see lost of competition, more layoffs in their states and rising prices for consumers for the benefit of only the airlines.

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