The Charlotte Chamber and 25 other chambers of commerce across the nation voiced their support for a proposed US Airways-American Airlines merger Thursday, adding to the political pressure the companies are placing on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
In a letter sent to Holder, the chambers said they believe the merger will be good for business and good for the cities where the airline flies.
“The business community will have a more efficient and dependable partner for air transportation needs,” the letter said. “This expanded network is an asset for local businesses; the modern economy demands mobility and adaptability, and the new American will help connect businesses with customers wherever they are.”
They echoed US Airways’ and American’s arguments in favor of a merger, saying the larger airline would be able to compete more effectively with Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. The chambers also wrote that the merged airline would provide better job security to both carriers’ employees.
The U.S. Department of Justice sued unexpectedly to block the merger in August, just weeks before airline executives expected to close the deal. The department said the merged airline would be too large, and would stifle competition, resulting in higher airfares.
A trial in the case is scheduled to start Nov. 25. Both sides have said they’re open to a negotiated settlement, but neither has proposed one so far.
Charlotte Douglas International Airport is US Airways’ biggest hub and would be the second-biggest hub in the combined airline.
The airlines have been busy rallying support from employees and politicians since the Justice Department filed suit.
Hundreds of employees lobbied lawmakers in Washington, D.C., to support the merger, and the mayors of seven US Airways and American hub cities sent Holder a letter Wednesday asking him to drop his opposition. And 68 congressional Democrats sent President Barack Obama and Holder a similar letter, asking them to let the merger proceed.
Portillo: 704-358-5041 On Twitter @ESPortillo
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