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Airlines: Who Did DOJ Interview On Merger?

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A US Airways tail rest on the tarmac near two American Airlines planes. (credit: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

A US Airways tail rest on the tarmac near two American Airlines planes. (credit: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Fort Worth-based American Airlines and US Airways want to know whom the government interviewed before it sued to block the airlines’ merger, and what those people said.

The airlines say that the U.S. Department of Justice is refusing to turn over the names, claiming that doing so would reveal the thinking of antitrust lawyers who filed the lawsuit against the merger.

AMR Corp.’s American and the US Airways Group Inc. said in a filing Tuesday that they have asked a federal court in Washington to order the government to divulge the names and what they revealed.

The Justice Department declined to comment.

The companies were weeks away from closing their merger and forming the world’s biggest airline when the Justice Department and several states filed a lawsuit in August to block the deal, claiming that it would hurt competition in the airline industry. The case is scheduled to go to trial November 25.

The two sides are in pre-trial maneuvering. Last week, the airlines asked the court to force the government to say why it allowed four earlier airline mergers to go ahead but wants to block theirs. The airlines’ requests will go to a retired judge who is acting as a special master, an official appointed to help the court hear motions. The trial will be handled by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.

(©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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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