WASHINGTON — U.S. President Barack Obama is at it again: picking winners and losers. This time, his Department of Justice (DOJ) finally settled an airline merger with big concessions. The merger had been delayed for months as the DOJ didn’t budge in negotiations.
Reuters reported that US Airways and American Airlines will now officially merge into one airline, but had to give up access to key airports to low-cost competitors. Now the two airlines will become the world’s biggest airline.
The European Union settled similar claims with the merger partners this past August, but the U.S. government dragged its feet.
The new airline will give up some of their slots at New York City’s LaGuardia Airport and Washington, D.C.’s Reagan National Airport. Both of these airports are very busy and have a limited capacity, which digs into potential profits and control.
Now the airlines have to shed 52 pairs of takeoff and landing slots at Reagan National, affecting 44 daily departures. At LaGuardia, 17 pairs will be shed and included five slots already sub-leased to Southwest Airlines and its AirTran subsidiary.
Other airports affected by the deal are Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Miami.