CURRAN JOINS DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE SUIT TO STOP UNITED AIRLINES-US AIRWAYS MERGER
Baltimore - Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. today announced that Maryland will join the antitrust lawsuit to be filed early next week by the United States Department of Justice and the Attorneys General of at least 10 other states to prevent the proposed merger of United Airlines and US Airways.
"This merger represents a direct threat to the business environment of Maryland and confronts Marylanders flying from this area with the prospect of higher prices and diminished service. It must not be permitted to go forward," Curran said.
Curran listed the following probable effects upon Maryland, among others, as the basis for his decision:
• In the event of a merger, United would become a monopolist at Dulles and the largest carrier serving business passengers at BWI. The elimination of competition between these carriers is likely to cause prices to increase and quality of service to decrease.
• Virtually all of the nonstop transcontinental service from the Baltimore-Washington area is currently provided by United and US Airways. This includes the routes from BWI to Los Angeles and San Francisco. Following a merger, United would have a monopoly on these routes.
• All three of the Baltimore-Washington area airports compete for leisure passengers. As the result of this competition, leisure passengers enjoy lower fares than are available at other East Coast cities. This merger would eliminate one source of the competition that has resulted in these lower fares. Southwest Airlines would not be able to expand its capacity fast enough to fully discipline anticipated post-merger United price increases.
• BWI has prospered in the current environment of competition. This vibrant facility has attracted thousands of jobs to the Baltimore-Washington region. The loss of competition from a United/US Airways merger would threaten this important growth.
The other states expected to join the lawsuit are: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.