Florida Democrats back airline executives over consumers


In an astounding letter, Democrats from Florida wrote to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi asking her to withdraw support for the DOJ’s lawsuit against the merger of American Airlines and US Airways. Reps. Alcee Hastings, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Ted Deutch, Frederica Wilson, Lois Frankel, Joe Garcia and Patrick Murphy all went on the record as siding with the airline and its employees and against consumers who will be faced with severe loss of competition.

Perhaps these Representatives don’t understand that antitrust is designed to protect consumers from a loss of competition, not to aid industries aiming to consolidate economic power in order to raise prices. Bankruptcy is the vehicle for protecting stakeholders, stockholders, creditors and employees of these airlines, not the antitrust process.

The actions illustrated by the current executives at US Airways and would-be-executives at American Airlines are anticompetitive.

This letter flies in the face of every independent study done of this airline merger that shows significant loss of competition and the experience of past mergers that has resulted in soaring airfares on routes without competition and the closure of airline hubs. These actions have devastated non-airline employees at maintenance facilities, airports and supporting industries. The Florida legislatures’ letter places the jobs of the airline workers above those of other who will lose jobs as these airlines “rationalize” their services and employment in order to gain economies from this merger. That is what mergers do.

The Florida Attorney General is accompanied in her support of the lawsuit by Attorneys General from Texas, Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia and The District of Columbia. That’s pretty good company and demonstrates that they are serious about supporting consumers against the erosion of competition.