Justice Department Files Settlement Agreement in American Airlines Merger Suit

Nov 12, 2013

The Justice Department filed a settlement Tuesday in its antitrust suit against the proposed American Airlines-US Airways merger. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane must approve the settlement, which could happen before the end of the year.
Credit American Airlines

A settlement filed Tuesday in federal court indicates the Justice Department has dropped its opposition to the American Airlines-US Airways merger.

The agreement calls for the airlines to give up 52 slot pairs at Washington Reagan National Airport and 17 slot pairs at New York LaGuardia Airport. A slot pair gives an airline rights to schedule a departing flight and an arriving flight for specific time period.

Slots are controlled by the Federal Aviation Administration. They are intended to ease congestion and are only used at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York; Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, N.J.; and the two airports previously mentioned.

The companies will also have to divest two gates each at Boston Logan International Airport, Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Dallas Love Field, Los Angeles International Airport and Miami International Airport.

The new airline would be able to lease or, with federal approval, sell to airport operators its gates at those airports.

It does not appear that the proposed settlement will have an impact on the new airline's operations in Tulsa.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane must still approve the settlement, but a statement on American Airlines' website said the companies expect to complete the $17.2 billion merger next month. 

A trial scheduled for this month in the Justice Department lawsuit blocking the merger will no longer take place.