American's pilots call on Florida to rethink stance on merger

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Updated with response from Florida's attorney general office in last paragraph

American Airlines' pilot union has called on Florida's attorney general Pam Bondi to reconsider the state's opposition to the airline's proposed merger with US Airways.

The Allied Pilots Association (APA), in an open letter published in the Tampa Bay Times today, says the merger will not be anti-competitive as stated by Bondi. Florida is one of six states, as well as the District of Columbia, who are opposing the US-American merger along with the US Department of Justice. The Texas attorney general dropped his challenge in October after obtaining certain service guarantees from the combined airline.

In its letter, the APA says the two airlines overlap on only 12 non-stop routes and have little overlap in their networks unlike other merged airlines. "Southwest and AirTran, for example, served many of the same markets and overlapped on more routes than American and US Airways now do. Yet neither you nor the Justice Department intervened to stop that merger," says the union.

The APA says if the merger does not go ahead, a standalone American could be forced to drop unprofitable routes which would lead to even more drastic service cuts.

Citing Texas attorney general Greg Abbott's withdrawal from the suit, it adds: "For the sake of American Airlines, its thousands of Florida-based workers and the economic well-being of the Sunshine State, we hope you'll likewise reconsider you position."

A spokesman in Bondi's office says he could not comment on ongoing litigation.