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June 19, 2013

US Airways CEO Doug Parker testifies at Senate hearing, defends slots at Reagan National

US Airways chief executive Doug Parker a testified at a Senate hearing on Wednesday, defending the proposed merger of their two airlines.

Questions arose about slots at Washington D.C.'s Reagan National airport and if the merged carrier should divest any of those slots to competitors.

The Government Accountability Office, also reviewed the $11 billion deal, and said in its testimony to the Senate committee that changing business conditions could cause the new American to shift its hub operations from Charlotte to Miami.

"The combined airline could be expected to rationalize its network over time,” the GAO wrote, “including where it maintains hubs.”

Parker defended the merger's benefits to consumers, noting that several small and mid-sized communities that are currently served by US Airways are not served by American and that will create new connecting route opportunities.

"Because we have been able to build a robust slot portfolio, US Airways currently serves 40 small- and medium-sized communities from Reagan National Airport. No other airline at Reagan provides any significant service to smaller communities, such as Charleston, West Virginia and Des Moines, Iowa," Parker said in his written testimony. "At DCA our customers benefit from access to and from a wide number of small cities and we are committed to small city service for the long term."

Click here to view a replay of the hearing. And to view written testimony submitted by Parker and by American Airlines' general counsel Gary Kennedy, check here.

-Andrea Ahles

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