Millions of passengers depend on the airline industry to travel quickly, efficiently, and safely between various cities in the United States and throughout the world. Since 1978, thenation has relied on competition among airlines to promote affordability, innovation, and serviceand quality improvements. In recent years, however, the major airlines have, in tandem, raised fares, imposed new and higher fees, and reduced service. Competition has diminished and consumers have paid a heavy price. This merger—by creating the world’s largest airline— would, in the words of US Airways’ management, “finish[ ] industry evolution.” It would reduce the number of major domestic airlines from five to four, and the number of “legacy”airlines—today, Delta, United, American, and US Airways—from four to three. In so doing, itthreatens substantial harm to consumers. Because of the size of the airline industry, if thismerger were approved, even a small increase in the price of airline tickets, checked bags, or flight change fees would cause hundreds of millions of dollars of harm to American consumersannually.2.
American and US Airways compete directly on thousands of heavily traveled nonstopand connecting routes. Millions of passengers benefit each year from head-to-head competitionthat this merger would eliminate. With less competition, airlines can cut service and raise priceswith less fear of competitive responses from rivals.3.
This merger will leave three very similar legacy airlines—Delta, United, and the newAmerican—that past experience shows increasingly prefer tacit coordination over full-throated competition. By further reducing the number of legacy airlines and aligning the economicincentives of those that remain, the merger of US Airways and American would make it easier for the remaining airlines to cooperate, rather than compete, on price and service. That enhanced
Case 1:13-cv-01236 Document 1 Filed 08/13/13 Page 3 of 56