Abbott drops Texas challenge to airline merger

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by JIM DOUGLAS

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaajdouglas

WFAA

Posted on October 1, 2013 at 2:42 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 1 at 7:04 PM

GRAPEVINE — Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says he is pulling out of a federal lawsuit challenging the merger between American Airlines and US Airways.

Abbott, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, said he has negotiated a binding agreement with the airlines that protects Texas consumers, jobs and airports.

Abbott held up the document during a news conference Wednesday with American CEO Tom Horton. It is a promise to maintain daily service to 22 airports — including about a dozen rural airports.

The airlines also promised to keep DFW International Airport as a major American hub, and to keep the headquarters of the combined carriers in North Texas. American's main office is currently in Fort Worth.

Horton said the agreement will remain in effect for three years after the merger goes through — if it goes through.

American and US Airways still face a Department of Justice lawsuit that includes six other states and the District of Columbia. The trial is set for November 25.

Officials with American's pilot and flight attendant unions applauded Abbott's announcement. The attorney general has been criticized for suing to block the merger.

He said politics played no part in his decision to announce his support for it.

E-mail jdouglas@wfaa.com

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