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US Airways





say they will fight the Justice Department's effort to block their merger.

"The DOJ has unfortunately just announced that it intends to try and block our proposed merger with American Airlines," said US Airways CEO Doug Parker, in a message to employees on Tuesday. "We are extremely disappointed in this action and believe the DOJ is wrong in its assessment. We will fight them."

"Other companies have found themselves in similar circumstances and gone on to successfully close their merger," Parker noted. He did say, however, that the merger will not close in the third quarter, as had been expected.

In a joint statement, the carriers said they would "mount a vigorous and strong defense" in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, where the Justice Department filed its lawsuit opposing the merger.

"We believe that the DOJ is wrong in its assessment of our merger. Integrating the complementary networks of American and US Airways to benefit passengers is the motivation for bringing these airlines together," the carriers said. "Blocking this pro-competitive merger will deny customers access to a broader airline network that gives them more choices. "

The deal was about to be approved in bankruptcy court: American has been operating under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code since November 2011. Approval would have triggered wage and benefit increases for US Airways and job security for American employees.

"This merger provides the best outcome for AMR's restructuring," the carriers said. "The widespread support from the employees and financial stakeholders of both airlines underscores the fact that this is the best path forward for both airlines and the customers and communities we serve."

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-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

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Ted Reed