The Texas Attorney General explains why he supports the lawsuit against the AA/USAir merger. Read his comments in their entirety; they are illuminating and support what we have been saying for months at the Consumer Travel Alliance and on this website.

The answer is simple: We believe that actions by the airlines and their officials violate antitrust laws. In fact, the legal violations appear so overt that it would offend my oath of office not to take action.

The legal action is based on evidence such as internal emails, investor presentations and other comments by top executives of the airlines. Those documents reveal their thinking about how shrinking competition in the airline industry — and, hence the merger — will allow the airlines to pile even more bag fees, ticket change fees and increased fares on customers.

This is just a small sampling of troubling things. First, the airline executives’ own words raise antitrust concerns. Second, the goal of the airlines appears to undermine free markets. The combined airlines will be able to extract higher fees and impose more onerous fares only because the free market system will be so distorted.

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons by Jason Rosenberg