Sunday, April 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Chambers of commerce back airline merger

Six chambers of commerce, including the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, in cities dominated by US Airways Group and American Airlines said a merger of the carriers would mean increased competition, more travel options, and an economic benefit for local businesses and residents.

Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Worth, Philadelphia and Phoenix chambers of commerce asked Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who is hearing the government antitrust lawsuit against the merger, to grant their request to file a friend-of-the-court statement in the case. A trial is scheduled to start Nov. 25 in U.S. District Court in Washington.

The Justice Department sued in August to block the merger, saying that the deal would limit competition and drive up consumer prices. The Greater Philadelphia business community represents about 5,000 members in 11 counties in Southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, the court filing said. The region is the nation's fifth largest metro area by personal income.

US Airways' total economic impact was more than $9 billion on 2010 operations at Philadelphia International Airport, the filing said. A merger would benefit businesses that serve the airlines, including service providers that paint airplanes and provide technology support, and travelers who would have access to new markets, they said.

- Linda Loyd

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