Holder says conversations ongoing to resolve airline lawsuits

by: Natalie Pasquarella Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

New information on Monday was released about the lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice against the merger of American Airlines and U.S. Airways.

Attorney General Eric Holder said the conversations with the airlines are ongoing, and he hopes to resolve the lawsuit before it would go to trial.

He mentioned key points the Department of Justice will not budge on.

Holder said his department is trying to negotiate with both airlines, and the goal is to make sure consumers benefit.

"We will not agree to something that does not fundamentally resolve the concerns that were expressed in the complaint and does not substantially bring relief to consumers," said Holder.

Some of the concerns include a potential reduction in competition as a result of the airlines merging, in turn making consumers pay more and the possibility that the airlines would have an unfair advantage at certain airports where they both have many gates.

"That, for us, is something that has to be a part of any resolution," said Holder.

But he declined to disclose the number of slots for takeoff and landing rights the government wants to see divested before it approves.

Eyewitness News talked to Charlotte Councilman Michael Barnes about Monday's developments, and he said, "We want what's best for the airport; we want what's best for the airlines."

Barnes said he is confident the issues will be resolved outside of court and that the end result will benefit Charlotte.

"Based upon the way the airlines are structured now and the way they function at Charlotte-Douglas, [I believe] that they will be able to continue to compete effectively at the airport," he said.

Holder said the negotiations are ongoing.

"But if we do not meet those demands that we have, we are fully prepared to take this case to trial," he said.