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American Airlines merger settlement approved

Staff writer |
U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly approved the settlement between the U.S. government and the airlines that merged to form the world's biggest carrier American Airlines Group.

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Judge Kollar-Kotelly said the settlement, which required American to sell takeoff and landing rights at airports in the New York and Washington areas and airport gates in five other cities, was "within the reaches of the public interest." She said a hearing was not needed.

In Washington, the Justice Department's Antitrust Division welcomed the decision.

"We're pleased that the court agreed that the department's remedy will enhance system-wide competition in the airline industry.History has shown that when low cost carriers have entered the market, consumers benefit ," head of the Antitrust Division William Baer said.

In her opinion, Kollar-Kotelly stated the U.S. government's position that divestitures to low-cost carriers would reduce anti-competitive effects of the merger was "entitled to the Court's deference."

Southwest Airlines and Virgin America acquired takeoff and landing rights, or slots, at New York's LaGuardia and Reagan National near Washington that American sold. JetBlue Airways also gained slots at Reagan National.

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