The Michigan attorney general joined the federal government’s lawsuit Thursday seeking to stop the merger of American Airlines and US Airways.Michigan is the seventh state to join the lawsuit, which says the merger is anti-competitive, would cut service at some airports, and would hurt consumers with higher ticket prices and fees.The Justice Department filed an amended complaint in federal district court that added Michigan to the plaintiffs. Texas, Arizona, Tennessee, Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia were part of the original suit.The airlines reiterated their readiness to present the benefits of the merger in court.“The decision of the Attorney General of Michigan to join the Department of Justice does not diminish the strength of our case, nor our determination to complete this transaction and deliver the benefits of the combination to the customers and communities we serve,” the carriers said in a joint statement.“Both American Airlines and US Airways want the opportunity to compete together to enhance competition with the largest airlines in the U.S. — United, Delta and Southwest — and a number of fast-growing low-cost carriers. We look forward to our day in court.”U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly set a Nov. 25 trial date for the antitrust suit.Separately, US Airways said a busy summer travel season boosted its passenger traffic by 5.6 percent in August.The carrier said that it increased capacity 5.1 percent in August and that its consolidated load factor rose 0.5 percentage point to 87.4 percent.“Despite challenging weather conditions and high load factors, our team delivered phenomenal operating results throughout the summer, and we look forward to continuing that trend into the fall,” US Airways President Scott Kirby said.Unit revenue also increased about 5 percent in August compared with the same month last year, the carrier said.
Andrea Ahles, 817-390-7631 Twitter: @Sky_Talk