Reporting Jack Fink
NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Nearly two months after joining the U.S. Department of Justice Lawsuit to block the proposed merger between American Airlines and US Airways, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has announced he’s pulling out of the suit after reaching a settlement.
Part of that includes a signed, written agreement that will keep the combined airline’s corporate headquarters in North Texas with the carrier continuing service to 22 airports in Texas for a three-year period.
Abbott says, “There was uncertainty about whether or not there would continue to be daily service to especially rural airports. There was also uncertainty from Arizona concerned where the headquarters would be. We wanted to make sure we could put that issue to rest.”
American’s CEO Tom Horton appeared with Abbott at DFW International Airport.
Horton says their attorneys continue to have regular discussions with the Justice Department and six other states who want to block the merger. “I think this is very forward thinking of the attorney general and the state of Texas, and I’d like to think that’s a template for how we move forward.”
Horton wouldn’t discuss specifics.
As you might expect, two of American’s main unions are pleased.
Julie Frederick of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants said, “The flight attendants are very appreciative of General Abbott’s decision today. We represent over 3500 Texas residents so it’s all good news for us.”
Neil Roghair, Vice-President of the Allied Pilots Association was also very pleased. “We’re very encouraged by this, this is a very positive development.We’ve believed all along the analysis of the whole DOJ lawsuit is 180 from where it should.”
On Tuesday, the Justice Department tried to delay the start of the upcoming merger trial because of the government shutdown.
But Horton announced the judge kept the start date as November 25.
Ever since Greg Abbott announced his office would join the Justice Department’s lawsuit, he has come under fire from Democrats and even some Republicans.
Abbott is running for Governor, and is considered the Republican frontrunner. When asked if politics played a role in Tuesday’s announcement, Abbott insisted it didn’t, and that his job is to enforce the laws.
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