U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has ordered November 25 as the date for the start of the trial for American Airlines' and US Airways' battle with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) over the airline's merger proposal.
The District of Columbia court scheduled a status conference on October 1 to discuss trial procedures and pre- and post-trial briefing. The court's decision is seen as a win for the airlines who argued for an early date for the court hearing (November 12) while the DOJ sought a date in the spring of 2014 (March).
In a joint statement the airlines said the court has set a schedule that "will enable us to resolve this litigation in a reasonable timeframe. "
"Given the significant benefits this merger will deliver to consumers, employees and other stakeholders, and that the creation of the new American Airlines will provide much-needed competition, our duty remains clear: We are more committed than ever to bringing our airlines together and look forward to making our case for the new American in court," the carriers said.
US Airways Flight Attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), also commented on the expedited trial date. AFA US Airways President Roger Holmin said:
"We applaud today’s court decision for a November 25 trial start date and we are optimistic that the judge will agree that the benefits of this merger, for both workers and consumers alike, will help to create a stronger aviation system.”
The Association of Flight Attendants is the world’s largest Flight Attendant union.
The trial is expected last 10 days and its outcome will impact American's efforts to emerge from bankruptcy.
Both the airlines and union supporters stressed the jobs that would be created by the merger and the need for competition in the airline industry.