Under the terms of the settlement, US Airways and American Airlines will divest slots at seven key airports across the country. The largest divesture will be at Washington Reagan National Airport (DCA), where the airlines will give up 104 slots for daily departures and arrivals.
The Department of Justice along with attorneys general from six states and the District of Columbia, originally sought to block the merger out what it described as "concerns about the potential reduction in competition for air travel throughout the country."
Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer remarked, "This settlement addresses those concerns and opens up the marketplace as never before. It will disrupt today’s cozy relationships among the incumbent legacy carriers and provide consumers with more choices and more competitive airfares."
It is expected that many of the slots once held by US Airways and American Airlines will be taken by low-cost carriers such as Southwest, JetBlue and Virgin America.
In a written statement following the Department of Justice's announcement, Tom Horton, chairman, president and CEO of AMR (the parent company of American Airlines), and incoming chairman of the board of the combined company, said, "This is an important day for our customers, our people and our financial stakeholders. This agreement allows us to take the final steps in creating the new American Airlines."
If the merger is completed as expected, the new airline, which will operate under the American Airlines banner, will be the largest carrier in the nation.
US Airways and American Airlines have been strong supporters of the LGBT community. For 11 consecutive years, American has received a perfect 100 ranking on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Corporate Equality Index. US Airways also earned a 100 percent rating on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality index for six consecutive years; however, its ranking dropped slightly to 90 in 2013 following changes in HRC's criteria. Both airlines are also members of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association.