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Judge denies DOJ request to delay airline trial

The Justice Department asked for delay trial over merger American Airlines US Airways Tuesday Oct. 1 2013 because shutdown federal

The Justice Department asked for a delay in the trial over the merger of American Airlines and US Airways on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, because of the shutdown of the federal government. | AP Photo

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Updated: October 1, 2013 2:39PM

WASHINGTON — A judge said Tuesday the antitrust trial in the merger of American Airlines and US Airways will go forward as scheduled.

The Justice Department had asked for a delay to the Nov. 25 trial, arguing that the shutdown of the federal government meant its lawyers couldn’t work to get ready for the trial.

The court order means the government attorneys have the authorization to keep working on the case.

The merger was weeks away from closing when the government sued to block it. In denying the delay, the judge noted that the deal would have closed by now if it hadn’t been for the Justice Department’s action to stop it.

Meanwhile, the Texas attorney general said Tuesday the state had reached a settlement in its challenge to the proposed merger.

Attorney General Greg Abbott had led Texas into the lawsuit with the Justice Department and five other states in August. He cited expectations that consolidation would lead to higher fares and fees.

At a news conference Tuesday at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, however, Abbott said the carriers have agreed to maintain present levels of service in Texas and to keep the Texas headquarters.

Fort Worth, Texas-based American Airlines is a major employer in the state, and Abbott is seeking the Republican nomination for governor.

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