DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines and US Airways want a trial in the government's lawsuit against their proposed merger to start in November, three months sooner than the date picked by federal officials.
The airlines estimated that the trial would last 10 days, meaning that even if they win, the merger won't close until late this year.
American parent AMR Corp. had hoped to complete the merger and come out of bankruptcy protection in September. It said in a court filing Thursday that the delay is costing AMR $500,000 a day in professional fees such as lawyers' bills for its bankruptcy case.
The airlines asked the court for a Nov. 12 trial, while the Justice Department favors a trial starting no sooner than Feb. 10.
Lawyers for the airlines noted that either company can back out of the merger if regulators don't approve it by Dec. 13. They said delaying the trial past that date would cause "even greater uncertainty" for employees and customers. Morale is already suffering, they said.
The merger was steaming toward final approval this month until the U.S. Justice Department and six states threw up a roadblock. They filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Washington, D.C., to stop the merger, saying it will reduce competition and lead to higher fares and extra fees for consumers.
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