County leaders want lawsuit against AA-US Airways merger dropped

Carlos Gimenez, Emilio Gonzalez say merger would benefit MIA


MIAMI – Miami-Dade County leaders want the Department of Justice to drop its lawsuit challenging the proposed merger between American Airlines and US Airways.

"The US Air-American merger would be exceedingly good for this airport and this community," said Emilio Gonzalez, the director of Miami International Airport.

"By far, the number one employer in this airport, the number one tenant in this airport is American Airlines," said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez. "Over 70 percent of our passengers are American Airlines passengers."

Last week, the department and six states sued to block the deal, saying it would hurt competition and cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars a year in higher fares and extra fees.

"For them to come in this point in the game, which is -- by the way -- very late, they should have said this week one, not where we are now, and say well, this might kill competitiveness," said Gonzalez. "That's hogwash."

"We are partners with American and their vision to expand business here at this airport, and the more business that we have here at this airport, the better it is for Miami-Dade County, the better it is for the residents," said Gimenez. "It means jobs."

Gov. Rick Scott hasn't said much on the merger.

"I hope that everybody can get together and do the right thing," he said Tuesday.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi sided with the Department of Justice.

American Airlines and US Airways announced in February that they planned to merge into a carrier with 6,700 daily flights and annual revenue of roughly $40 billion. By passenger traffic, it would slightly eclipse United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, but all three would be similar in size.