The Justice Department has reached a settlement with American Airlines and US Airways regarding the merger of their airlines. The remedies extracted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) are stronger than any previously demanded of merging airlines and should help ameliorate the anticompetitive thrust of this merger. Unfortunately, consumers, competition and the free market, the entire reason for antitrust rules and regulations, took a hit.
We are at a watershed moment when it comes to airline ticket sales. A collaborative approach including the airlines, GDSs and ticket agents can be created from IATA’s call for a modern distribution language that can be applied across all sales channels. The industry needs an overarching approach to distribution in order to deal with the complexity introduced into the buying process by the proliferation of ancillary fees and the maze of of exceptions to many of those fees.
Previous merger cases are not comparable to this giant merger. To begin with, this is the biggest airline merger ever attempted and each of the prior mergers changed the aviation landscape.
Today, the government shuts down. If it were one day of shutdown, two or three, it might not make much difference. But, one day of the government closing affects months of hard work and benefits no one. For travelers, it means passengers will have a harder time learning about their rights. Citizens returning from overseas and visitor arriving in the US will wait in longer lines. Future privacy protections will be put on hold possibly for months. And, airlines will be allowed more time to obscure airfares and fees.
In an astounding letter, Democrats from Florida wrote to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi asking her to withdraw support for the DOJ’s lawsuit against the merger of American Airlines and US Airways. Reps. Alcee Hastings, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Ted Deutch, Frederica Wilson, Lois Frankel, Joe Garcia and Patrick Murphy all went on the record as […]