Tulsa Reacts to American Airlines, US Airways Merger Challenge - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Tulsa Reacts to American Airlines, US Airways Merger Challenge

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With thousands of Tulsans employed in the airline industry, many reacted Tuesday to the Justice Department's challenge to the American Airlines, US Airways merger.

The Justice Department and half a dozen states filed a lawsuit, saying the merger could bring "harm" to consumers by way of higher fares and fees. The merger would create the largest airline.

The Local 514 chapter of the Transport Workers Union called a press conference Tuesday afternoon to express its shock at the news.

"We are disappointed to say the least, here in Tulsa, about that decision," said Local 514 President Dale Danker. He said the union represents between 4,600 and 4,700 workers. He said the merger is important to Tulsa's economy.

Danker questioned why the Justice Department has not halted prior airline mergers. He said this challenge could delay the merger by three to four months.

Channel 8 spoke with a couple American Airlines workers off-camera who said they are ready for the back-and-forth to end, though they do not feel their jobs are in jeopardy.

Earlier Tuesday, the Tulsa Regional Chamber voiced its support for the merger.

Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett released a statement saying, "The lawsuit filed against the American Airlines/US Airways merger is a late and irresponsible challenge by the Obama Administration."

In a statement, American Airlines and US Airways pledged to fight the Justice Department's Action, saying the merger would offer customers a broader airline network.

Consumer advocates are welcoming the lawsuit.

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