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June 12, 2012

US Airways May Seek Antitrust Approval by July Ahead of American Airlines Merger Attempt

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US Airways may ask federal regulators to examine the antitrust hurdles of a bid for bankrupt American Airlines as soon as July in an effort to relieve uncertainty among creditors, according to a Reuters report published Tuesday evening.

“US Airways believes securing regulatory approval for its proposed deal would remove one key element of uncertainty from the picture, bolstering its case as AMR’s creditors compare the merits of a merger with the carrier’s standalone restructuring plan,” said the Reuters report, citing sources familiar with the plan.

Competition concerns must be examined by the Federal Trade Commission prior to any merger, but are usually not submitted until after a deal between the two parties has already been agreed upon. By reversing the order of this process, US could convince some skeptical parties (and there will be many) that a merged US/American would be smooth sailing.

American Airlines unions have already agreed to back a merger with US Airways, while the company’s management has been reluctant to broach the subject, focusing instead on reaching its own labor deals with workers.

Significant antitrust are not expected in the prospective airline mashup, as the airlines offer relatively few competing routes.

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