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US Airways & American: Necessary lawsuit

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Traveling abroad for personal, educational or professional reasons?

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The world's a big place. Bring it home with Letters Home.

Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

We've been editorializing for the past year against the merger of US Airways and American Airlines. It's good to see the Justice Department finally catch up to reality.

Justice, and attorneys general of six states, including Pennsylvania, filed an antitrust lawsuit against the $11 billion deal on Tuesday. The merger, which would create the world's largest airline, would decrease competition and raise fares, the lawsuit alleges.

It also would kill jobs secured through taxpayer subsidies invariably billed as “investments in (insert the name of your city here).”

Sure to be on the chopping block is US Airways' flight operations center in Pittsburgh, built with millions of dollars in public assistance. Some fear a heavy maintenance facility at Pittsburgh International Airport, which US Airways abandoned as a hub years ago, also could be shuttered.

But the real nub of the rub was stated quite succinctly last winter by Forbes.com columnist Peter Cohan, who said “the pro-merger chest-pounding can't hide the fact that combining two losing companies does not make a winner.” Or as Stanford University business scholar Jeffrey Pfeffer put it, such mergers “just increase market concentration, raise prices and make customers worse off.” All combining one troubled airline with another gets you “is a larger catastrophe,” he said then.

The flying public — and taxpayers who've underwritten so much of the airline industry's follies and been shafted — deserve better.

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