Justice Dept. asks judge to approve American-US Airways merger

The Justice Department on Monday asked a federal judge to approve terms for the merger of American Airlines and US Airways under a settlement reached in November, without making any changes after a mandated public comment period.

Separately, American Airlines announced that as a result of the merger it would end a series of joint agreements with Jet Blue covering joint ticketing, baggage handling and frequent flyer programs.

The merger settlement requires the combined airline to sell 104 of its time slots at Reagan National Airport, 34 slots at LaGuardia International Airport in New York, and gates and ground facilities at five other major airports. Afteward, the new combined airline would have about 55 percent of the limited number of slots at Reagan National, down from 72 percent. American Airlines has already sold most of the slots it must divest at Reagan National to Southwest, Jet Blue and Virgin America.

The Justice Department said in its filing with the court that the settlement would not create a new independent airline or protect the discounted Advantage Fares that will likely end. But it said that “the divestitures will bring the consumer-friendly policies of the [low cost carriers] to more travelers across the country.”

Steven Mufson covers energy and other financial news.
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