WASHINGTON (AP) - A federal judge says a trial over the government's lawsuit to block the proposed merger of American Airlines and US Airways will start Nov. 25, a timetable favored by the airlines.
The U.S. Justice Department wanted the trial to start in March, saying it needs more time to prepare for the complex case. The airlines say a long delay would threaten their merger.
U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said in court Friday that March was "too far off."
The companies were close to completing a merger to create the world's biggest airline, but the Justice Department and six states sued this month to block the deal. They say it would reduce competition and lead to higher prices for travelers.
Members of the Transport Workers Union sent this statement, praising the decision:
Members and leaders of the Transport Workers Union employed at both American Airlines and US Airways are pleased that Judge Kollar-Kotelly has decided to hear arguments in the American Airlines/US Airways merger suit on November 25, 2013.
A new American Airlines composed of US Airways and the current American will provide greater competition with Delta and United as well as with foreign airlines. The new American will certainly offer travelers more options and better service.
TWU members are concerned about job security and the future of the new American Airlines that has been jeopardized as a result of the Department of Justice’s interference in the merger process. We just need a fair chance to compete.
We thank Judge Kollar-Kotelly for speeding this process along.
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