Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar today underscored the importance of protecting consumers and maintaining competition in the airline industry at a hearing on the proposed American Airlines-US Airways merger. In her first hearing as chair of the Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee, Klobuchar questioned airline industry executives and antitrust experts about the proposed merger’s impact on airline prices and services for consumers. Klobuchar also pressed airline executives to commit to continue serving small- and mid-sized metropolitan areas and to address growing fees that burden passengers. Witnesses at the hearing included Douglas Parker, Chairman and CEO of US Airways Group; Thomas Horton, Chairman, President and CEO of American Airlines and AMR Corporation; Diana Moss, Director and Vice President of the American Antitrust Institute; and William McGee, a consultant for the Consumers Union. Klobuchar held the hearing with Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), the ranking member on the Subcommittee.
“Whether it’s a family looking for affordable flights or a small business-owner looking for the best frequent flier program, we need to make sure consumers have as many choices as possible at the lowest prices, and that no airline or small group of airlines has a stranglehold on the market,” Klobuchar said.“This hearing was a good opportunity to take a close look at this merger’s potential impact on jobs, fees, service and safety and I will continue to work to make sure we’re doing everything we can to protect consumers and boost competition in the airline industry.”
At the hearing, Klobuchar called on the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a thorough study of the airline industry to examine the impact airline consolidation has had on consumers and competition.
Klobuchar has been a leader in Congress on working to advance consumer protection and promote competition. Earlier this month, Klobuchar questioned Attorney General Eric Holder about past airline mergers’ impact on consumer prices, airline competition, and service at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on congressional oversight of the Department of Justice (DOJ). She also urged DOJ and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to use all available data to examine past airline mergers and assess whether the merged airlines have realized the efficiencies they promised to both agencies.