NEW YORK (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — US Airways’ CEO says shareholders have approved the proposed merger with Fort Worth-based American Airlines, one of the final steps remaining in the deal to create the world’s biggest airline.
Doug Parker said Friday that enough shares were cast in favor of the merger to guarantee approval. The margin was not immediately available.
Owners of US Airways Group Inc. stock would get 28 percent of the shares in the combined company, with the rest going to creditors, employees and shareholders of American Airlines parent AMR Corp.
The deal is being reviewed by antitrust regulators at the U.S. Department of Justice. Critics of the merger worry that it will reduce competition and drive up prices.
Concern about less competition and higher fares also accompanied the combinations of Delta and Northwest in 2008, United and Continental in 2010, and Southwest and AirTran in 2011. Antitrust regulators allowed all those deals to go through.
Those other mergers changed the landscape, creating giants that made it hard for US Airways and American to compete, Parker said.
The merger “creates a fourth strong competitor to United, Delta and [Dallas-based] Southwest,” said Parker, who will become CEO of the combined carrier, which will keep the American Airlines name and be based in North Texas.
If the American-US Airways deal goes through, four airlines will control more than 80 percent of the domestic air-travel market.
The Justice Department could seek to have American and US Airways give up some takeoff and landing slots at Reagan National Airport outside Washington, D.C.
Parker predicted that regulators will allow the merger to go through, and said, “We don’t see any reason” why American and US Airways should be forced to give up slots at Reagan.
About 50 members of the Service Employees International Union protested outside the building where the US Airways meeting was being held. They demanded better pay for airport workers.
(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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