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American Airlines, US Airways CEOs defend merger before Senate panel

| Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 6:12 p.m.

The CEOs of American Airlines and US Airways reassured a Senate panel Tuesday that their merger would not lead to fewer flights or lost jobs in the lawmakers' states. The merger would yield the world's biggest airline and provide more competition for United and Delta, the CEOs said. But consumer advocates told the Senate antitrust subcommittee that the merger would lead to higher fares and less service to midsize cities. Diana Moss of the American Antitrust Institute said American and US Airways want to compete with giant global airlines. “I understand that — that's where the business is going and that's where the dollars are. But we have to find a way not to sacrifice U.S. consumers on the altar of global competition.”

Regulators allowed mergers of Delta and Northwest, United and Continental, and Southwest and AirTran, and most analysts expect the American-US Airways deal will be approved. Reflecting that sense of inevitability, the senators focused their questions on how the deal would affect constituents back home.

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