AMR Says March Trial Could Put US Airways Merger at Risk

AMR Corp. (AAMRQ) and US Airways Group Inc. said waiting until March to start an antitrust trial as requested by the Justice Department would cause “significant harm” and put their proposed merger at risk.

The government’s proposed trial schedule places the merger of bankrupt AMR’s American Airlines with Tempe, Arizona-based US Airways in jeopardy “because two independent companies can be asked to stay in limbo for only so long before they need to make independent plans,” lawyers for the airlines wrote in a filing today in federal court in Washington.

The carriers and the government are at an “impasse” over a trial date, with the companies seeking a November trial. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly is scheduled to hear arguments from both sides in court Aug. 30.

There ought to be a “realistic possibility” of a settlement in the case, the airlines said in another filing made jointly with the U.S. today. They said they tried to settle the dispute before the lawsuit was filed and indicated their willingness to consider settlement options to antitrust officials.

The Justice Department said it hasn’t received a proposed settlement that addresses its antitrust concerns about the merger of Fort Worth, Texas-based American with US Airways, which would create the world’s largest carrier.

The antitrust case is U.S. v. US Airways Group Inc. (LCC), 13-cv-01236, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington). The bankruptcy case is In re AMR Corp., 11-bk-15463, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporters on this story: Sara Forden in Washington at sforden@bloomberg.net; Andrew Zajac in Washington at azajac@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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