Fitch: airline merger block could help airports

Fitch says US airports may benefit if gov't blocks merger between American and US Airways

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- The end of a proposed merger between US Airways and American Airlines may be good for U.S. airports, according to research Friday from Fitch Ratings.

The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday filed a lawsuit to block the merger, which it said would hurt competition and increase prices for consumers by leaving four airlines controlling more than 80 percent of the U.S. air-travel market.

That could mark the end of an industry move toward consolidation, Fitch said, and more carriers would mean increased routes more services and competition.

Small regional airports face the biggest threat from service cutbacks that are connected to airline consolidation. However airports that do a lot of business with American may suffer if it scales back operations as part of a bankruptcy reorganization plan. Fitch said larger international airports could also benefit because US Airways and American may both need to enhance their international service to compete with United and Delta.

Six states have also filed legal challenges against American parent AMR Corp., and US Airways' Group Inc.

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