Florida hopes for "timely resolution" on American-US Air merger

Friday, 1 Nov 2013 | 6:10 PM ET

MIAMI, Nov 1 (Reuters) - The attorney general of Florida, one of several states challenging the proposed merger of American Airlines and US Airways, said on Friday she hoped for a "timely resolution" after meeting with American Airlines' top executive.

The two airlines are hoping to win regulator approval of their $11 billion merger to create the world's biggest airline.

The U.S. Justice Department, joined by a number of states, has filed a lawsuit opposing the tie up, arguing it would violate antitrust laws and lead to higher fares and other fees for passengers.

On Wednesday, sources said US Airways and American were considering giving up takeoff and landing slots at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport to win regulator approval of the merger and reach a settlement ahead the Nov. 25 trial date.

Attorney General Pam Bondi said in a statement she had "an extremely productive, face-to-face meeting" with Tom Horton, chairman and chief executive of American Airlines' parent AMR Corp.

"We are both hopeful that we will reach a timely resolution to benefit the residents of Miami and all Floridians and travelers to Florida," Bondi said.

A Bondi spokeswoman declined to comment further on the meeting.

In a statement, Horton said the two discussed the proposed merger. "We believe good things happen when people work together for a positive result," he said.

Miami is home to large a hub for American Airlines, which sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late 2011. The carrier, the third-largest U.S. airline, operates around 70 percent of the fights at the Miami airport, making it a dominant hub for flights to and from Latin America.

In recent months, unions of flight attendants, pilots and others have held rallies in Washington and other cities where American and US Airways have hubs and pressed attorneys general in states that joined the government lawsuit to drop out.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott withdrew from the U.S. lawsuit last month, raising the prospect that other states might follow.

Other states along with Florida still involved in the suit include Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

(Reporting by Kevin Gray in Miami and Karen Jacobs in Atlanta; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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