Lawmakers Press Airline CEOs On Impact Of Merger

6:24 PM, Mar 20, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- Higher fares, delayed flights, fewer destinations to small and mid-size cities, devalued frequent flier miles.

Consumer advocates say it could happen if the Justice Department approves the $11 billion American Airlines and US Airways merger.

Airline CEOs under oath, and lawmakers on Capitol Hill press them how you'll be affected when you fly.

"We have to get answers for the people of this country whether it's the American family looking for an affordable trip to Disneyland or looking to visit their grandma in Pittsburgh," says Senator Amy Klobucher (D) Minnesota.

Both American and US Airways insist the merger is good for consumers.

"It creates another global airline on par with Delta and United.  So, it creates a competitive counterweight," says American Airlines Thomas Horton.

US Airways Douglas Parker says, "By putting these two networks together we're able to provide service, more efficient service to consumers.  Also, note that in the $1 billion in our analysis, in our synergies, there's not one assumed fare increase in there."

Twenty years ago, there were 11 major airlines.  This merger brings it to three.

"We're concerned that as the major airlines become bigger and fewer they increasingly will be regarded as too big to fail," says Consumer Union's William McGee.

The merger could impact air travel nationwide.  And lawmakers want to make sure it won't be felt at home.

"Tell me about the impact of the proposed merger on services to my state," says Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley (R). 

"Will you commit to maintaining service at the locations across New York state which are currently served by your two airlines," says New York Senator Chuck Schumer (D).

"Yes sir," says Parker.

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