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July 24, 2013

US Airways, American offer to give up London Heathrow-Philadelphia route to get EU approval

US Airways said on Wednesday that it has offered to give up its London Heathrow-Philadelphia take-off and landing slots to get European Union approval of its merger with American Airlines.

The carriers issued this joint statement in response to an article posted in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

"We are pleased that as part of the approval process, the EU Commission has completed an initial market investigation and identified only one city pair that raises competitive concerns, London-Philadelphia. US Airways and American Airlines have provided commitments to the Commission that address those concerns, and we believe we are on track to receive clearance in Europe.  Importantly, with increased connectivity and more than 450 daily flights to 119 domestic and international destinations, including 18 in Europe and the Middle East, PHL will continue to be a key hub and international gateway for the new American Airlines. In addition, the combined network will continue to provide significant options for traveling to London and the rest of Europe through hubs and other key airports.  The merger is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2013, and we look forward to continuing to work cooperatively with the EU Commission as we move through the regulatory approval process to create the new American Airlines."

European regulators appear concerned about having more competition on the Philadelphia-London route which is currently served by US Airways and British Airways, which is American's joint business partner in the oneworld alliance.

The EU said it plans to issue a decision on approval of the merger on August 6. The U.S. Department of Justice is currently reviewing the merger deal along with nineteen state attorney generals who are concerned about losing air service or hubs after the merger is complete.

-Andrea Ahles



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