A federal judge on Friday set a tentative Nov. 25 trial date in the U.S. government's legal challenge to an American Airlines merger with U.S. Airways.
Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who will try the case without a jury, announced the date at a hearing in U.S. District Court.
The U.S. Justice Department had asked for a March trial. The airlines had been pushing for November because holding a deal together for months puts a strain on the parties. During the merger review and challenge process, the companies say they are essentially in limbo, unable to merge but unable to make independent long-range plans.
"March 3, I think, is too far off. It needs to be a tighter, expedited schedule," the judge said in court.
During the merger review and challenge process, the companies are essentially in limbo, unable to merge but unable to make independent long-range plans.
The Justice Department filed a lawsuit in mid-August to block the deal, which would create the world's biggest air carrier. The government said the merger would lead to higher prices for customers, while the companies said it would make them more competitive and strengthen the market.
The two airlines and the Justice Department indicated in a joint court filing on Wednesday that they were open to settling the matter without a court fight.
The government, however, said that while it was prepared to settle, it had not been given an offer from US Airways and American that "addresses the anticompetitive harms posed by the merger."