A judge set the trial in the US Department of Justice's (DOJ) challenge of the proposed merger of American Airlines and US Airways for 25 November today.
"3 March, I think, is too far off," says US District Court for the District of Columbia judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly during a hearing. "It needs to be a tighter, expedited schedule."
The date is closer to American and US Airways' preferred start of 12 November than to the DOJ's preference for 3 March 2014.
"We are pleased to have a trial date that will enable us to resolve this litigation in a reasonable timeframe," say the carriers. "We want the opportunity to compete together to enhance competition with largest airlines in the US - United, Delta and Southwest - and a number of fast-growing low-cost carriers."
The DOJ says that it appreciates the court's consideration of its schedule request and that it will be ready for trial by 25 November.
American and US Airways argued that a delay until March would create significant uncertainty both for their businesses and for American's creditors as it would be forced to continue to operate under bankruptcy protection, in a brief on 28 August.
"Two independent companies can be asked to stay in limbo for only so long before they need to make independent plans," they said.
The DOJ had argued it needed an extensive discovery and pretrial motion period in its own brief on 27 August.