A lawsuit filed Tuesday seeking to block the merger of American Airlines and US Airways could save the nonstop flight from Augusta to Washington, local officials say.
News outlets reported that the U.S. Justice Department lawsuit said the merger between the two airlines would reduce competition in the industry, raise fares and cut service.
Earlier this year, competing airlines wanted the merged airline to relinquish flight slots at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., a hub for US Airways and the destination of a daily flight departing Augusta Regional Airport.
Augusta business leaders lobbied to protect Augusta’s nonstop flight to the nation’s capital, and they say it is in less danger after Tuesday’s challenge to the merger.
“Should the merger have proceeded, there could have been a forced divestiture of (Reagan National) flights which could have been a risk to our D.C. flight,” said Sue Parr, the president and CEO of the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce.
“At this juncture, we’ll continue to promote the service, work with the airport to make sure people know about it and help it succeed,” she said.
Diane Johnston, Augusta Regional’s director of marketing, said Tuesday’s development lessens concerns about losing the direct flight to Washington.
“Hopefully, it will mean business as usual,” Johnston said.