American, US Airways seek to settle DOJ lawsuit out of court

by: Scott Wickersham Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Months after the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit to stop the American and US Airways merger, the two sides have now agreed to try and settle out of court.

The DOJ said the merger would reduce competition and raise fares.

A local expert said Wednesday that the two sides will likely debate and discuss how the feds are looking out for themselves in one part of the deal.

American Airways flyer Joel Sojo is hoping the merger happens.

Airlines expert Peter Schwarz from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte said the decision to work a deal out of court is a positive sign the merger might happen.

"The government is in a situation where if they really press this to trail they stand a chance of losing," said Schwarz.

Instead of going before a judge Nov. 25, the two sides agreed to meet with a mediator.

Schwarz said the main sticking points are certain airports where both airlines that have many gates, possibly gives them an unfair advantage as a merged airline.

Those airports are Philadelphia, LaGuardia in New York, and Reagan airport in Washington, D.C.

Schwarz said they will likely give up gates at all three.

Schwarz said at Reagan airport, both airlines control about 66 percent of the flights.

At Charlotte, both airlines would control around 90 percent of the flights.

The date for the mediation hasn't been made public yet.